Is it possible to have tons of friends and family around you, yet still feel lonely?
I think one of the most common human experiences is that of feeling lonely. Everyone feels lonely at one point or another. You could be a huge big-time celebrity, at the top of your game, with a million fans, a huge entourage, and people waiting on you hand and foot, and still feel lonely. You can have a husband, a gaggle of kids, and a dog, and still feel lonely. You can be single with multiple groups of friends, supportive family, and still feel alone.
How can all these people feel lonely when they're surrounded by people who love them?
As human beings, we are wired for connections. Even if we're introverts, we still yearn for connections with others to feel like part of a community. It may be a different type of connection that extroverts yearn for, but we all want to be part of something. We all want someone to say "I see you" or "I value you" or "Me too."
So even when you're surrounded by people, yet you don't feel like anyone can genuinely say those things to you, it can feel incredibly lonely. Or when the people that you think would say those things to you don't, it can be extremely lonely. And confusing.
I definitely go through those times, more often than I'd normally care to admit. Launching this blog was a big deal to me, and so I naturally think, "Shouldn't other people see how big of a deal it is?" And when they don't, and I don't get that "I value you" from them that I was expecting, I feel lonely.
Coming out of a divorce, getting used to a new reality can be extremely lonely. You don't have that person anymore who was the one person you could count on to be there for you. The one person you knew you could turn to when you didn't want to feel lonely. And you wonder if you will ever be able to find someone again. It takes an extremely strong person to filter through that fear of loneliness and not let that fear dictate your actions. So for anyone who has ever refused to let the fear of being lonely be a factor in your decision-making, know that "I see you."
This is one of my goals with this blog - simply to let you know that you're not alone. I see you. I value you. Me too. All of our journeys are extremely unique, yet fundamentally the same. I think a lot of our worries, self-doubt, fears, anxiety, all boil down to the fear of not being loved and of not being good enough.
I'm here to tell you that I understand. Every day I struggle with feelings of inadequacy at work, at home, and even as I write this blog. I wonder if I'm a good enough mom, if I'm smart enough to drive that project at work, I wonder if I'm a strong enough writer, if I can even make this blog work. I wonder if I'm interesting enough to ever be in a relationship again.
When these feelings of self-doubt and loneliness start to get the best of me, I try to anchor on two things: 1) I am enough. Just because other people may not say "I see you" or "I value you" or may not acknowledge you or how hard you work, it doesn't mean that you're alone. Keep doing you, and the people and situations that are aligned with who you are will come. 2) If that takes a while, I know I always have one person I can count on - me. And that's enough. Because I am enough. When we rely on validation from other people we deny ourselves the credit we deserve by saying to ourselves, "Your opinion is not valuable." Be the one person you know you can count on and you know will never alienate you.
So if you're feeling lonely or feeling like you're not enough, I see you. I value you. Me too. Take solace in the fact that we all know what it's like to feel this way. You are not alone. You are enough.
-- Love always, Julie
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