Solving Loneliness Starts with Love

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Loneliness is powerful.

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Neuroscientists now believe that loneliness may be more harmful to us than any other form of trauma. Studies using brain imaging technology show us that in some cases, chronic loneliness is more damaging to the brain than long-term methamphetamine abuse.

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This might come as a surprise, because generally speaking, most of us don’t consider loneliness to be all that devastating. I mean, we all feel lonely from time to time– especially when we’re by ourselves or just feeling low.

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.But that’s not the kind of lonely I’m talking about here.

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I’m talking about a chronic, long term, largely unconscious kind of lonely– The kind that prevents us from thriving. The kind that causes most of our problems– and we aren’t even aware of it.

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It’s this kind of lonely that goes largely ignored and/or misunderstood by therapists, health specialists etc. for the simple reason that they haven’t been looking into the right problem.

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In fact, loneliness in and of itself isn’t the problem. The key issue is the widespread misunderstanding of what loneliness means.

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 And for that reason, we end up making one of two errors: We’re either not aware of our own loneliness in the first place -or- doing the wrong thing to try and solve it.

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FIRST RULE: We can’t solve a problem we don’t understand.

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So to accurately understand the problem of loneliness and the issues that surround it,  we need to clear up the most pervasive misunderstanding about it— which is this:

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We think loneliness is about isolation — but it’s actually about love. 

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Fact #1: Loneliness Is What We Feel When We Don’t Feel Loved 


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 A lot of us assume that loneliness is the result of real or perceived isolation. Really, we don’t feel lonely because we feel alone. We feel lonely because we don’t feel loved.
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.Remember, FEELING loved is not the same thing as BEING loved.
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BEING loved is getting a hug, or hearing “I love you”. It’s how we know we are loved. But knowing you are loved is not what makes you FEEL loved.

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.Here’s why:

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FEELING loved is entirely dependent on your expression of love towards others. 

BEING loved is entirely dependent on another’s expression of love towards you.

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Each expression of love is independent of the other. That’s why it’s entirely possible to FEEL loved without BEING loved, in the same way that it’s possible to BE loved without FEELING loved.

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.And the important part is this:

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BEING loved is not essential to our well-being. But FEELING loved is. In fact it’s the ONLY thing we really need!

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Unconsciously we already know this. But consciously, most of us operate under the false assumption that BEING loved by others is what we need in order to FEEL loved. And this is precisely why we get stuck. Why do you think so many people relentlessly seek love, crave praise and admiration, and chase relationships that never relieve their unconscious emptiness—more specifically, their LONELINESS?

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LONELINESS that most of us aren’t even aware of.

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There’s only one way we can begin to FEEL the love that we so desperately seek — And that’s by GIVING love.

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FACT #2: We Feel Loved When We Give Love


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The only way to FEEL loved is through GIVING love, and we give love through action. The beautiful thing about this is that when we act in loving ways toward others, we reap the benefits of feeling loved instantly!

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 There are two actions we take to GIVE love:

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ACTION #1 Changing our PERSPECTIVE

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We can give love through our thoughts alone . We do this by shifting our focus away from ourselves, and on to those we love.

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This is precisely the act of CONSIDERATION.

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And it’s more powerful than we think.

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In fact, cognitive behavioral therapy shows us that the quickest, most effective way to relieve acute loneliness is by thinking about the needs of those we love. No, this isn’t thinking about WHY you love someone. It’s not even thinking about HOW to love someone.

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 Practicing CONSIDERATION is simply acknowledging that another person also has needs.

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This simple thought exercise is powerful enough to make us FEEL loved— and we can do it anytime, and anywhere.

 

ACTION #2 is Changing our ATTITUDE

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When we RESPECT another person, we automatically behave in a loving way toward them. [see Loyalty: Your Own Commitment To You]

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There’s an old proverb that says listening to what another has to say is the highest form of respect. As it turns out, that’s a great piece of advice because the quickest and most effective way to feel closer to someone is by fully listening to what they have to say.

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.That said – there’s a caveat: Giving love through our thoughts and behavior is only effective when we give towards those whom we genuinely love.

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And genuine love can only exist within authentic relationships.

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This is important now more than ever – because most of our human relationships have lost their genuineness. We may be connected to more people now than ever before, but the quality of those connections is lacking.

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We can’t genuinely love others whom we don’t share a deep connection with. 
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Therefore, it’s essential that we cultivate meaningful relationships with others — and this means forging deep connections with only those people whom we genuinely admire. [See Authentic Admiration vs. False Admiration]

Without GENUINE relationships, we can’t commit GENUINE acts of love

and when we can’t GIVE love, we can’t FEEL love

and when we don’t FEEL loved, we remain LONELY.

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Fact #3: Solving Loneliness Is Crucial For Wellness 


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. Loneliness creates many other problems that cause us to suffer, and that’s why solving loneliness is crucial to spiritual and physical well-being.

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 Would it surprise you to learn that the root cause of anxiety and depression is, in fact, loneliness?

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Here’s why:

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Anxiety is what we experience when we are in an environment where we don’t feel supported.  Depression is the side effect of anxiety.

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.Feeling supported is what tricks our brains into feeling SAFE. 

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But we can only begin to feel supported, when we begin to FEEL loved..

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That’s why cultivating genuine relationships is SO important!  When we forge deep bonds with the people we authentically admire, we are then able to GIVE love to FEEL love– and thus alleviate our LONELINESS.

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.The reason why most of us don’t believe that loneliness is the root cause of anxiety and depression, is because we never even realized that we were lonely to begin with!  Because we never actually understood what loneliness meant.

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Thus, the path to wellness begins with understanding loneliness, so that we can take the necessary step to conquer it.

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 And it really is just as simple

as GIVING more love.

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DID YOU KNOW
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About NSchacht

- San Francisco, CA - When I write with no destination in mind, I encompass all possibility.