The shame of loneliness

If you feel lonely, and I mean chronically lonely, you probably want to reach out and connect to more people, and yet the quality and quantity of those connections will be a highly personal consideration. For example, how many people would you feel comfortable sharing your deepest feelings with is a question only you can answer.

Many adjectives pair with their opposite: good and bad, beautiful and ugly. But I can’t think of a natural opposite to “lonely”. That said, companionship and sociability may be useful cures for loneliness. Companionship could mean anything from a life partner to a friend to talk with at a café.

So let’s develop the idea of a cure for loneliness. I am not aware of any pill you can take. Moreover, the simple prescription to get out of the house and find friends, companions, activities may work for some, but not for others.

But in some cases there may be something deeper going on; and it’s called shame. Think of the child who enthusiastically wants to share an experience with a parent but, for whatever reason, the parent rejects the request saying “I am busy, go away”. This experience may cause shame with thoughts of the kind: I am not worthy of my parent’s attention.

By extension it may be that loneliness – in some cases – is based in negative feelings of not being good enough for other people and hence fear that they will reject you.

These are feelings that are worthy of further reflection and consideration; in order to generate a cure for a particular and personal case of loneliness.

Retirement: You won’t know what it is like until you get there.