“All the lonely people, where do they all come from.
All the lonely people where do they all belong.”
~Eleanor Rigby, The Beatles
The first time I heard the song Eleanor Rigby, I cried. I was a little girl in pigtails, but I could see poor Eleanor in my mind, her tragic life laid out before her, hopelessly alone without a friend to call her own. Worse yet, Father McKensie, writing the words of a sermon that no one would hear...
That I couldn’t fathom. A message to be heard, a heart bursting to share…
and nobody listening.
I remember sitting on my swing set, my little fingers gripping the chains, bawling my eyes out, for all the lonely people that no one would ever hear. All the lonely people no one would ever care about.
I was terrified one of them would be me.
I didn’t want to be a lonely people.
Fast forward to the present and I can tell you I am blessed. Life has granted my wish beyond measure. Loneliness is the one worry I never have. My heart overflows with so much gratitude for my huge family, husband, kids and grandkids, close friends, business partner and countless close friendships I have met around the world through work and social media. The only problem I have now is juggling a time management issue.
It’s a challenge I accept with joy.
Yet, still my heart is heavy for all the lonely people. There are so many. So many in a time where access to friendship is a click of a button away. Or a church door away. Or a person away. We have billions of people in this world and yet there are millions who are lonely- and alone-without one single other person in the world that would take a moment and care about them.
What the heck is that all about?
I understand that part of the issue of loneliness lies with mental illness and drugs and isolating behaviors and people that have been edged out of our society’s mainstream and have run out of options. This I get.
But I’m talking about the Eleonor Rigbys and the Father McKensies who stand right next to us in the grocery store or at work and we don’t even notice. I’m talking about socially invisible people.
In fact, you might feel like one of them is you.
The Pain of All the Lonely People.
Loneliness has been described many different ways. And—it’s important to understand that loneliness is different than depression, although depressed people often also feel lonely. It can get complicated.(I’m not a doctor. If you think you might be depressed, you might want to chat with a professional, this isn’t meant to be medical advice.)
Loneliness has been described as:
- Feeling Isolated
- Feeling Empty
- Feeling Hollow
- Feeling Disconnected
- Feeling that you don’t share a common bond
- Feeling Abandoned
- Feeling there is no one to share life with
- Feeling like there is no one to talk to
- Feeling that no one cares about you
- Feeling uncomfortable being alone
Loneliness is different than being Alone.
Lonely people can be sitting in a crowded room filled elbow to elbow with mankind and experience their deepest most painful moments of feeling lonely. Loneliness isn’t about being with people. It’s about connecting with people. Loneliness is the lack of relationship and connection that sparks when two or more people open up enough to trust each other to form a bond.
I’ve read many “cures” for loneliness. They all have a similar bucket of action steps that will supposedly fix the problem and set the lonely sufferers back out to the road of relationship happiness. I’m sure you have seen them too.
They look a lot like this:
The Traditional Cure for Loneliness:
- Go to meetings, clubs and organizations that interest you and find others with common interests.
- Renew relationships with old friends and strengthen those relationships
- Reach out to family members and resolve family issues.
- Learn to do fun things when you are alone and enjoy solitude.
- Plan ahead. Be proactive in inviting others to join events with you so that your calendar will be full.
These are all helpful tips. I don’t have an issue with any of them and I think they are all worth jotting down as action steps to try.
However, I don’t think they address the problem of loneliness. They only put a bandaid on the issue. They don’t fix it. To fix it, you have to dig a little deeper. Okay, actually, to be honest, you are going to have to dig a lot deeper. And you are going to have to be willing to do a lot of work.
Because the problem of loneliness is a way of thinking. If you want to change your loneliness, you are going to have to be willing to change your mind.
The Mindset of Loneliness
- I don’t like myself, so they must be lying when they say they like me.
- Since they are lying about really liking me, they must not be trustworthy, so I can’t really believe anything they say.
- I don’t trust people enough to share my deepest feelings and secrets.
- I don’t have great goals and dreams. What’s the point? They wouldn’t come true anyway.
- I wouldn’t tell anyone my dreams, they would laugh at me.
- I am not worthy of good things happening to me. Any good thing that happens is a fluke.
- If they knew the real me they would hate me
- I am always the one doing nice things for others, but no one really wants to do nice things for me. They just do things because they have to or think they should. Most of the time people forget anyway.
- Most people are generally jerks. Nice people are hard to come by.
- I’m just not lucky. Other people have all the luck.
- I’ve tried having friends and relationships but they never work out.
- People always pick on me (laugh at me, judge me, yell at me, ignore me.)
- Every time I get something good, it falls apart.
Sound familiar? If they do, these mindsets could be responsible for keeping you from the abundantly rich and rewarding relationships you wish you had. Be on the look out for similar insidious thoughts and reactions that play like a broken record inside your mind. These thoughts can be so embedded you may not even be aware you are thinking them.
The secret to escaping the pit of loneliness is to turn that mindset of loneliness on its head and turn it into the Mindset of Self-love.
Self-love works for all types of things, but in the area of relationships, I can think of nothing more important or rewarding in this world than having deep, close, loving relationships with family and friends. To me, if you have created this in your lifetime you are a success, even if you have done nothing else. You have found the golden ring. And in order to have deep and loving relationships with others, you first have to create that relationship with yourself.
I do not know a single person, who has been able to conquer the art of loving themselves who has looked back on their life and regretted it. Mastering the Mindset of Self-love can and will literally change your life because it opens the door to loving others.
The Mindset of Self-love
- I love myself, even when I mess up, and I am surrounded by friends and family who love me too.
- I have everything I need within me and around me to be successful in life
- I trust my closest friends and family to be honest and vulnerable with them.
- I share my goals and dreams and work with like-minded people to make them come true.
- I believe that by helping others to make their dreams come true, all of our dreams and goals come true.
- I believe that I am worthy of abundance and all good things, and I am grateful for all the blessings I have.
- I am free to be myself with the people around me. They see the real me and love me for who I am.
- I have plenty of time to do everything that is important to me.
- I practice imperfection because I learn from failing and rising above challenges.
- When I give freely without expectation, God and the infinite universe of love expands and gives back.
- I believe there is more than enough love to share with everyone.
- Love and Gratitude are the secret sauce of a joyful life.
Again, these are just a few examples, I could go on and on and on. But the basic difference should be crystal clear. One mindset comes from a belief that we are running out of love, time, energy, money and friends- so you better hold on tight and protect, and the other comes from a mindset of all is well, so share, love, give, and pour out from the open place of your heart into the great expanse of the universe and the intimate expanse of everyone’s souls.
Does that sound scary? I guess it might to some people.
But to me, nothing sounds more scary than spending my life like Eleanor Rigby or Father McKensie. So when you think about it, what would you really have to lose by trying?
If you want to join a community of like-minded people who will be learning how to learn to love themselves and others, join us for our Journey to the Center of your Heart group. Click here to learn more about this exciting Journey. You don’t have to travel this Journey alone!
Rachel Christie says
This is fantastic! Loneliness is so much more than being physically alone.
Great tips and tools to shift within and connect with oneself and others!
Wendi Kelly says
There is a big difference between being physically alone and being lonely. In fact, the more we move into the area of self love and the energy of love, the more comfortable we become with being alone, being in silence and soaking in the wonder of creativity and the universe. The voices of “Nobody loves me” are shut down and we can hear the sweet, sweet sound of love surrounding us.
Jenny Tomlin says
I’ve been feeling some of this a lot lately… I’ve just been out of so many things for so long due to children, whom I love with all my heart, but it’s rough to believe that I still fit in, even though there is no reason I don’t. I’m about to audition for the first show in a year and a half and I am really nervous, I feel like so many things have changed even though they may have stayed the same too that I’m no longer relevant. Somedays getting older and having other responsibilities sucks!
Jenny Tomlin\’s last post… A Fresh Re-Start
Wendi Kelly says
Every mother can relate to what you are feeling right now. That is something that comes and goes, especially when we allow our own personal identity to slip within the cracks of diapers, school work, snotty noses, or busy teenagers. It’s an on-going challenge to remember who you are- YOU… the person, beyond you the mother and wife. Good luck with Alice, and no matter what happens with that, you ARE relevant, that show does not define you, that group does not define you. YOU and your needs, desires, creativity, heart and love defines you and that is a beautiful thing. Remember who you are, Jenny. I promise, you are still there.
Denise Banks-Grasedyck says
Wendi, this is an excellent article. It is so important to understand the distinction between “being along” and “being lonely”. Often a Little time to really be alone and be present and connect with yourself, is what is most missing especially with the busy, overcommitted people that I have worked with most.
Thank you for another insightful post!
Great job of showing the distinctions! Many will recognize a feeling that the have been searching to name.
Wendi Kelly says
That was an interesting way to put it, but you are exactly right. One of the aspects of living a lonely life is shutting down those emotions and trying not to FEEL at all. And the more they get out of touch with their emotions, the more difficult it is to name what they are feeling. Vicious circle, isn’t it?
Wendi Kelly says
There is a BIG distinction. I NEED my alone time. And yet, I can honestly say,
I don’t remember being lonely in the last several decades of my life. Probably not since I was a teenager.
Cindy Ratzlaff says
Wendi, this is spot on and I’m finding more and more women are deeply lonely – not alone. They’re struggling with the how in the equation. How do we dare to reach out to others without letting the fear of rejection stop us from trying? How do we find people most likely to be able and willing to be in relationship? How do we know when loneliness crosses over from occasional sadness to true isolation? Developing a mindset of worthiness as you so eloquently write, here, is a great start. Thank you for tackling this issue. It’s so much more important than many people realize.
Cindy Ratzlaff\’s last post… Win 3 Business Books for Entrepreneurs
Wendi Kelly says
Thanks, the more and more I work with coaching women in business and personal life transformations, the more I believe this is THE core issue. Unless we tackle this one first, the rest is a really hard mountain to climb. Tackle this one, and the rest is a much easier journey.
Pamela Wills says
Wonderific post, Wendi! I remember having to sing Eleanor Rigby in middle school music class, so very sad. The no one to hear bit used to really get me, too. I especially love how you sum up the basic difference at the end with mindset. We can either believe we are always running out, that there is never enough… OR we can KNOW that we have plenty, there is always enough. I have definitely chosen the path of enough! And that path has definitely proven fruitful. I hope lots and lots of people take your advice! xo
Wendi Kelly says
The mindset of Self-love and abundance have SO much in common, don’t they?
Jennifer Bourn says
Wendi – This post made me sad. Sad for those who are surrounded by others, yet still feeling lonely. I hope those who feel like that do find your post, and read your tips to help them make connections, build relationships that are meaningful, and shift their mindset to be open to be fulfilled.
Wendi Kelly says
I’m sorry the post made you sad, but I totally get it! I’d love it if you feel like sharing the post with anyone who you think would benefit from it, and/or tell them about our upcoming workshop series!
This is wonderful. And it’s so helpful to acknowledge traditional suggestions, but offer something new to folks who’ve seen all that before. And reading Jenny’s comment (to which I relate) and your excellent response were great for me………. loneliness has structural components, how work and fam and life so easily us isolate and consume our lives. But the intervention comes from within. You have given me food for thought on this snowy day. Hang in there, Jenny, and I will too! xx Angela
Alicia Henderson says
This is a very helpful article for anyone that feels lonely. I love the Mindset of Self Love because Self Love or having Self Love helps to establish and maintain Self Esteem. I find that I observe a lot of my friends or associates that have low self esteem do not posses Self Love. When Self Love is present in a person life, their joy increases.
Wendi Kelly says
Alicia, I totally agree, when self-love is present, joy increases!