I have found there is a great stigma culturally around talking about feelings and experiences we all do not want to face as a culture. Observing the perceived or actual judgments others have towards you is a pretty good indication that you are venturing into territory that is part of the collective Shadow.

I think the topic of isolation and loneliness, connects to a deep wound we all carry in the US about our own unmet needs for connection and presence, which has deeply damaged our ability to ultimately feel like we fully exist, have the right to exist, are lovable, are worthy and are special. I think many of us have responded to these deep wounds by creating a culture where we act like we are too cool or beyond having those needs, as a means to defend against addressing how deeply traumatic it is to not have basic, core needs of existence honored, cared for, and met. We do a heck of a lot to avoid facing this trauma, which means we shut down conversations that force us to confront these feelings. This is where the US gets really disturbing, because due to these wounds and the ways we avoid them, as a culture we start to then associate authentic, deep, messy vulnerability with weakness, and something offensive and disgusting. Conversations about isolation, where someone is sharing how deeply lonely they feel and have felt, instead brings out projection and judgment from people who want to get the “yucky” feelings (*shame*) that are triggered in them, to instead be associated with the person sharing, rather than take ownership of it within themselves. And thus, the person courageous enough to share, gets their own shame and lack of feelings of worth, reinforced, while taking on not only their own isolation pain, but the other person’s too.

You are extremely courageous to share openly about your loneliness and isolation. If someone labels you as desperate or needy, this is just their own shame and fear arising, because they are avoiding addressing their own unmet needs for connection, as well as their own felt despair, hopelessness, powerlessness or inadequacy in regard to getting said needs met, or meeting them in someone else.

It is a painful path you have chosen in healing, and you will end up projected all over by people who are not addressing this wound in their self. Sadly, there will be a lot of people who are like this, because most of us are unwilling to deal with the grief and trauma we carry. However, setting yourself free from perfection, taking ownership of your isolation and where you want to be in life, and realizing no one is obligated to now make your feelings of loneliness go away (now that you recognize you have a need from others for connection), is an act of accountability and self-love, and a beacon of light sent out to the world, that will attract those who are also doing this work. You will end up around people who will truly support you in your healing, and not just want you to participate in mutual isolation. You will also end up around people who will respect you, if you are also learning to respect other’s right/autonomy in not having to automatically meet a need you have of them, because you have that need, and want them to meet it. In this process, you are also being challenged to get stronger, self-validate, and hold true to your authentic vulnerability, and your right to exist, and have needs. This is all a part of the healing process.

It may be painful to have a bid for connection and deeper sharing about one’s loneliness, rejected, however, you loving yourself and learning to tolerate (i.e. overcoming feeling unworthy or pathetic) that not everyone will want to connect and meet this need, is the path out of depression. (I want to point to the fact that depression is essentially living out of alignment with your dreams, values, and purpose. So, this is a big deal, and a huge shift for you.) I know that you know it is worth so much more to keep going with what you are living right now, than to try to go back into living in a way that was making you sick.

Just hold on, and while in this process of remedying loneliness, you can also find deeper connection, love and presence with your self, and paradoxically, a greater support, solidness, freedom and accompaniment in spending time alone, with your truer, deeper, self.

I am here on this path with you too. It is a tough one, but WAY better than living small and being depressed.

Thank you so much for taking the risk to share about your experience. I am inspired and moved knowing you are out there, doing this work too. I know others will feel this way in reading your comment as well.

Coach. Psychologist. Writing about new perspectives, love, relationships, Narcissism, healing, transformation, & culture. www.avapommerenkphd.com

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