How To Deal With Loneliness

by Mark I Myhre on January 18, 2014

 

how to deal with lonelinessI don’t know where you stand with loneliness, but it was eating me alive for decades. I was so terrified of loneliness, it literally gave me panic attacks. And I had to structure my life so I wouldn’t have to deal with it.

Avoiding loneliness. Looking back now, it seems so odd. I was scared of a feeling. A feeling. It’s not like anything could happen physically. There was no danger, really. But the raw fear I went through was out of this world!

Ever seen anybody so scared they would claw and scratch and do anything to get away? Like a drowning man in the ocean? That was me, trying to get away from my loneliness.

So when people tell me they’re scared out of their minds about some fear inside, I know what they’re talking about. I understand the gravity of the situation. I also understand how vitally important it is to slay this dragon.

The single most important thing to understand here, is that I was not afraid of my loneliness. I was afraid of my stories about loneliness. I was so afraid of being stuck and trapped in loneliness. And I didn’t realize how imprisoned I already was.

I thought by running away from it, and avoiding any situation that might allow it to come up, that these actions would somehow be enough. I never even thought to look at why I felt lonely in the first place.

Loneliness becomes a problem when you separate from yourself. When you abandon yourself. When you try to run away and avoid yourself.

Gee, who would do that? Since it doesn’t sound too awfully smart…

Consider a small child. Born into this world with no memory. No instruction manual. Can barely even process information. Vulnerable and exposed. Picking up on everything around him. Taking it in, like a sponge.

And probably not living in some Utopian environment, either. Probably quite the opposite. The environment is more than likely dystopian. Dysfunctional. Confusing. You can take in some pretty ugly messages about what life is, and what you are.

Even the best of childhoods can be scary beyond our adult memory and comprehension of it. The worst of childhoods can be a living hell. Most are somewhere in the middle, which is bad enough.

It’s no wonder a child would want to disengage from that! I hate to be the one to break it to you, but this is a pretty messed-up society. There, I said it. I know it’s a shocker, but you need to hear the truth. You’re old enough now…

But we get used to the dystopia, as humans are wont to do. Craziness becomes normal. We forget how much of an adjustment we had to make as small children – just to survive.

One of those survival adjustments involved disengaging from ourselves and from our world, at least to a certain degree. We separated from the nightmare around us. We had to put some distance between us and what we were feeling, and what we were going through.

It’s not easy coming into such a dysfunctional place. And the fact that we can not only survive, but thrive, says more about our individual human spirit than it does about our society as a whole. We made it in spite of the ‘consensus reality’, not because of it.

What does this all have to do with loneliness?

We are predisposed to be lonely. It would almost be odd if loneliness were not a problem. It’s almost a head scratcher to hear of someone for whom loneliness were never an issue.

You see what I’m saying here? Loneliness is to be expected. How could you not be lonely in a dog-eat-dog world? Every man for himself. Get them before they can get you. You can’t trust anybody.

How could you not be lonely?

Loneliness is a natural byproduct of a dysfunctional world.

So the question is not, ‘Why am I lonely?… What’s wrong with me?’

No, the question is, what am I going to do about it? How am I going to handle this natural phenomenon?

Because, remember, part of the dysfunction involves the fact that feelings by their very nature are suspect. You can’t trust your feelings. You can’t rely on them. They’re a source of embarrassment and shame. They’re painful and unpredictable.

You never know when they’re going to pop up.

But you do know it’s usually at the most inappropriate time. Like when you bump into a potential life partner, or you’re going in for that important meeting, or job interview.

That’s how most people view their feelings: since I can’t surgically remove them, I’ll seek out technique to control and manage them.

And thus, I give birth to a monster of loneliness. Because when you start controlling and manipulating your emotions rather than feeling and integrating with them, they grow huge, dark, and hairy behind the scenes. Out of view…

Dealing with loneliness is easy. Dealing with a monster is not. But I end up not seeing the loneliness at all. All I can see is this monster that would probably kill me if it could. I have to run and hide.

I end up feeding it as well. I created it, I nurtured it, and I continue to feed it. I give it my power. It’s an insatiable beast. It’s never satiated. It always wants more of me. It’s taken on a life of its own.

That was my situation for decades. I feared the monster; not the loneliness. Loneliness didn’t scare me. Hey, I didn’t even know what loneliness was! All I could see was a monster that rose from the ashes of an unpleasant childhood.

So the first step to dealing with loneliness involves understanding we are all predisposed to loneliness on this planet, and we are also predisposed to not feel it, but to create a monster out of it instead.

You see? You’re not bad and wrong for having loneliness and letting it become a problem. It just means you’re a modern-day earthling.

To deal with loneliness you need to change your relationship with it.

Why does loneliness even exist? To make us suffer even more than we already are?

I would say: no, we have loneliness to let us know we’re moving in the wrong direction. We’re getting farther away from home.

It’s time to come home, and it’s time to deal with loneliness. Loneliness stands in the way of the pathway we need to be on. Or rather, the monster of loneliness stands in the way. But the monster is all smoke and mirrors. It can’t really hurt you because it’s a figment.

Figments, by definition, are imaginary. They lack substance. The monster wears no clothes.

If you find yourself, as I did, living a life that doesn’t serve you… living and being less than you could be… due to a monster of loneliness… then feel free to contact me and we can talk about it privately.

I know what it’s like to be scared to death of loneliness, and I also know what it’s like to have no fear whatsoever of being alone and feeling lonely.

Loneliness is meant to be an ally, not an enemy.

In the next article, we’ll look at overcoming loneliness.

In the meantime, would you mind clicking one of the buttons below and help spread this message? Because I’m on a mission here. People need to understand loneliness does not have to be a monster.

Thanks!

 



{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Devorah January 18, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Hi there, Mark ~
I have never written a thank you note to an electronic acquaintance. I have enjoyed reading your blog (?) and messages for several years. I did purchase a forgiveness manual from you & still find it helpful. I am not sure what drives you to make this contribution to the world, but I am very happy that you do. I hope you continue to do so. And now you know how much one reader appreciates your energy, words and bits of wisdom. Thank you!

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Mark I Myhre January 21, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Thanks Devorah,

I guess I do this because I enjoy it so much

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Amy January 18, 2014 at 8:56 pm

As usual a good read!

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Karen January 19, 2014 at 12:22 am

Hi Mark.
I enjoy your writing. Thank you. I have a huge hole in me that I am working on.
Thanks again.
Karen

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Emily January 19, 2014 at 4:55 am

I can not thank you enough Mark for your writing that have helped me immensely. Be blessed. When you come to Kenya, kindly contact me I see you.

Asante.
Emily,

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Mark I Myhre January 21, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Wow! Kenya! Sounds exotic – okay, if I come there, I will make sure I let you know

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Wayne January 21, 2014 at 6:56 pm

I look forward to the next post on ‘overcoming loneliness’! You’re 100% on the money re: the monster’s destructive potential. I might add that it may be a double headed monster–the other head being feelings of abandonment. (Maybe that is part of the story?)

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Mark I Myhre January 24, 2014 at 3:45 am

Hey Wayne,

yes, they are somewhat similar

the next article on overcoming loneliness probably won’t say much about abandonment, since that’s a whole topic in itself

I put abandonment in the same category as shame – but that’s just me

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Joe January 22, 2014 at 2:41 am

Hi Mark,
Often I am so busy I don’t read everything you send along. But tonight, I really connected with this article. It is right where I am, and I discovered it this past week. You are right, I wondered what to do about it? I need to reconfigure my life, and that is such a hard adjustment. Well, I am looking forward to the continuation. God Bless you for your work.

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Mark I Myhre January 24, 2014 at 3:45 am

thanks Joe

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Teresa dewberry turnipseed January 23, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Thanks one more time. You knowledge is huge. Teresa

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Nicole January 24, 2014 at 9:28 am

Hi Mark,

Thank you for this article, it has already been very helpful to me in just the few days of its existence. Even though I’ve been reading your stuff about emotions for a month or so, and trying to put it to use in practice, I only actually was able to truly witness this terror of feeling my feelings in the last couple days. What a crazy thing to realize and see in oneself–to really be SO scared of a feeling, just a FEELING! Somehow your messages are almost always just what I need at the time I read them. It is a huge source of hope for me to know of a someone such as yourself who has transformed from such a low place, and to have reached a place of true wisdom, happiness, self-love, self-acceptance, and understanding. As I keep wading through one of the toughest times in my life, knowing you’re out there and that you made it really gives me hope. Thank you 🙂

Nicole

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Mark I Myhre January 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Hi Nicole,

you’re very welcome

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