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13 Of The Loneliest Moments That Everyone Experiences In Their Life

13 Of The Loneliest Moments That Everyone Experiences In Their Life

Although we might be surrounded by people, enveloped by countless possessions, and bombarded by information all around us, there are still times when we end up feeling lonely and disconnected.

While feeling lonely might be undesirable, this is what makes us truly human, and it is also important for us to be upfront and honest about this because we all will encounter such moments in our lives. Here are a few of those loneliest moments.

1. When you are in a crowd but can’t connect with anyone

There will be times when we are surrounded by countless individuals but still feel lonely and disconnected from the many around us. You might feel this when you just arrived in a new country, stepped into a new culture, started in a new workplace, or enrolled in a new university.

Similar feelings might arise during your everyday commute. You may be packed in a crowded train like a canned sardine but still feel isolated from the crowd.

In these times, don’t worry because it’s alright to have our own moments of solitude.

2. When you lose loved ones to death

What makes us human is that we face health and sickness, life and death.

The older we get, the more likely the people around us — our friends and loved ones — are subjected to sickness and death. People might fall sick and people might perish because of natural or unnatural causes.

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It’s terribly sad to let go of loved ones and not be able to see them again. They might be gone physically, but they will always remain in our hearts and minds and we get to continue their legacies. Like someone once said, “Don’t be sad that it’s over. Be glad that it happened.”

3. When you lose loved ones to busyness

When friends and loved ones move on to different stages in life, there is no doubt that they might get busier with work and respective life commitments.

I used to spend a lot of time hanging out with my close group of friends in university, but when we graduated, got work, and when some got married and had kids, the amount of time we spend together plummeted dramatically.

This doesn’t have to be the end of the story because it’s all about being proactive and intentional in building and maintaining relationships with others. If we don’t have time, we can always make time for the things and people who matter to us.

4. When you move to a new country

Packing your bags and shifting into a new country means that you might be leaving your friends, family, comforts, and community behind and starting fresh. You might feel lonely when you are suddenly immersed in a new environment and culture which you have no idea about and you are in a new place where you don’t know anyone.

But don’t worry — this is all part of a new adventure. Give it time and you will get to know your surroundings better and making good friendships there.

5. When you have a great idea but no one listens

Imagine if you have a great idea for a dinner location, a business solution, a birthday party, or a holiday destination. You share this excitedly with your peers but your ideas fall on deaf ears. How would you feel? And how would you feel if after your sharing, they simply move on to the next topic of discussion?

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Don’t worry, because it might be that you have yet to find a group of people who are truly interested in your ideas. Keep being open to new people and you will eventually find friends who truly appreciate you.

6. When you have a great dream but they don’t seem to get it

Similar to the previous point, I have shared my dreams with countless people and there are occasions where I am met with blank stares. It is as if I just spoke to them in a different language, or that they think that my dreams are simply ridiculous.

That’s fine. It’s not my problem to convince or persuade them to believe in my passions. As long as I’m the one taking charge of my life and destiny, that’s more than enough. I don’t need permission, approval, or validation from others to live the life that I want.

7. When you have “succeeded” but you still feel empty

Many people climb the corporate ladder and some say that it’s really lonely at the top. Professionals who have invested a lot in their careers might excel in the corporate world but feel lonely when they finally get the coveted corner office.

The harsh truth is that sometimes, when you really strive to pursue success and excellence in your life, you will leave some people behind. But success does not have to end this way. Instead of sticking to your ivory tower, get back on the ground and help others out in their struggles for success.

8. When you struggle but no one gets you

In the pursuit of your passions, not everyone is going to understand where you are coming from, and not everyone is going to get it when you break down, struggle, and burn out. Some might ridicule you for pushing the boundaries while others might just question what in the world you are trying to accomplish.

Don’t let this stop you. There are people out there who have or are going through what you are facing right now. And they will understand.

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9. When you missed an opportunity that will never come back

I know how it feels to let a golden opportunity slip through your hands. It might be a career opportunity, it might be a friendship, it might be a business deal, it might be the chance to have a much-needed conversation, it might be asking someone out.

It’s sad that the same opportunity will not come back, but do take heart in knowing that new ones will definitely come your way.

10. When someone leaves you for something or someone else

There are countless people in this world who might be cheated on, betrayed, or left behind by someone who simply chose to let go of them for something or someone “better.”

Such situations cast a shadow of despair and loneliness on a person. They might even doubt and question their self-worth. They might shut themselves out from the rest of the world to prevent getting hurt in the future. But this is a slippery slope.

You must pick yourself up and move on. Even though you can’t choose what life throws at you, you can still choose how you respond to it. Don’t focus on the lemons being thrown at you. Focus on making awesome and world-changing lemonade.

11. When you have to leave for something or someone else

You might be stuck at an impasse — a stifling and oppressive relationship or a stagnant job situation.

In such a case, there might be a need to pack your bags, move on, and not look back. Life is short and you deserve better. For a moment, you might feel attached to your previous circumstance and feel a little lonely when you step out of it, but keep moving forward — a better world awaits you.

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12. When you confront your deepest issues

Honestly, I do feel lonely when I take a hard look at my deepest worries and issues. I’m tempted to feel that not many would understand what’s going through my mind.

Many years ago, I was utterly lacking in self-confidence. I trembled when I had to look at someone in the eye to engage in a deep conversation. I even used “being an introvert” as a convenient excuse to keep myself from having to deal with people.

But I knew deep down that even though I felt lonely at times, I needed to overcome my fear of speaking to people and reach out to the friends and peers around me who loved me for who I am. Thus, I slowly stepped out of my shell and now I am a confident public speaker.

13. When you step out of your comfort zone

Our comfort zones are called comfort zones because they are comfortable and familiar to us.

It might be made up of a culture and environment we grew up in, friends who we have known for ages, and a community which embraces us for who we are.

A sense of loneliness can strike when we step out of our comfort zone. Suddenly, we are in a space which is foreign to us and we are doing things which are tough and uncomfortable.

On the other hand, the best opportunities in life lie outside of our comfort zones. It is when we step out that we are truly alive, truly living, and truly doing things which are meaningful.

So, take heart when you do go through seasons of loneliness in your life. This is what makes us human and the good news is that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t have to go through this alone.

Featured photo credit: Roxane Clediere via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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