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.
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?
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.
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.
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