I was really listening to the lyrics to Everybody's Lonely by Jukebox the Ghost.
Why's every song about love or drinking too much?
Yeah, maybe that's because everybody's lonely (Yeah)
On your radio, there's another song that goes
"Babe, I'll never let you go"
Everybody's lonely, everybody's lonely
And then I thought about this quote from Esther Perel, "Loneliness is public health crisis Number One."
I'm really passionate about confronting loneliness, because I think when it is ignored it eats away at our society in a really toxic way.
Loneliness makes its victims want to crawl into a hole, wallow in self-pity and cry that nobody likes you. Victims of loneliness don’t reach out for help from others, and pull farther away. Just like the song, we drink too much and feel worse because it seems like everyone else is having such a great time.
Loneliness is toxic. And we are living in an age that pulls us farther apart from each other. We have faux points of connection through technology and social media, but how many real interactions are we having with each other?
If you're feeling lonely (and if you're human, you're bound to feel it from time to time) you don't have to stay in loneliness. Loneliness is signaling you that something else is going on.
Here are a few ideas to try:
Observe your thoughts. Are you sneaking into Compare and Despair (like we discussed last week?)? Does it sound like "Everyone else has more love than me"? If so, challenge yourself to answer this question: how could that thought be false? Look for evidence in your life of the opposite.
Reach out to someone you trust. Literally say this: "I'm feeling lonely right now, and I need to talk to someone." Hop on the phone or at the very least have a text conversation. We all need a sense of belonging and it helps to have at least one person in our life that can be reliable in these times.
Give yourself some nurturing. Wrap yourself tightly in a cozy blanket. Take a warm bath and drink a cup of tea. I would probably avoid alcohol at these times because it is a depressant, which may bring you down farther. Give yourself something that feels cozy and nurturing just for you.
Laugh. Watch a funny movie or your favorite stand up comedian. I like the classics, like Ellen's old stand up videos on YouTube. Laughter is literal medicine, it has been proven to decrease stress hormones and triggers endorphins.
Dance out your feelings. I'm an OG Grey's Anatomy fan, and Christina and Meredith were on to something when they danced out their feelings. Pick a song that matches how your feeling and move your body to the music. Let that emotion move through your body.
We must own our loneliness. It's a real feeling. You're not bad or wrong for feeling it. We must allow that feeling to happen without judgement and process it out.
We as human beings need community and belonging, and we can begin to build it in small ways every day.
Try these steps for yourself and share them with someone you love. They don't have to be feeling lonely right now, but maybe it could help them in the future. Help spread the word, let people know you are there for them.
Sending you a big hug because we're all in this together.