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How to deal with loneliness

Jesse Martin

April 12, 2014

From a reader:

Hey jesse..

i'm just a regular guy ..20 years old..i am studying in college...the issue that I am facing since a long time is loneliness. Let me put it this way, I used to have quite a happy life 2 years back. Everything was just perfect. I scored good in studies,had a good friend circle,i had a girlfriend whom I loved with all my heart, I used to have a happy life. But then suddenly, my life shattered all the way 2 years back when my girlfriend dumped me..i guess for another dude. Guys i'm telling ya honestly I loved her truly more than u guys could ever literally. and everything just shattered. obviously I tried to get her back, but it was all in vain. since then my whole life changed. I changed..from happy to sad,from joyful to full of sorrow..i used to cry a lot..for hours sometimes !! asking god what I did wrong ever ?..i helped everyone, I respected my ex,cared for her,valued her the most..but I never got an answer from could I get ?..Then obviously..time passed , after one and a half year of suffering and pain..i got back on my feet..i became I barely cry..even when I do.. tears won't come out of my eyes..sometimes I wonder they have dried..heh ?..the only issue that left was's killing me from inside since my break up..and it still does. I tried going out with some other girl.. but u know I could never trust anyone after my break up..nor I can love anyone again with that the memories of my ex keep on haunting me when I try to going out with any other girl never worked out till now....i got friends..but u know I can't call anyone my real friend. u know I can't share my feelings with anyone..coz they won't understand. I always have to wear like a fake smiling mask in front of them. now I just don't know for how long I could bear this loneliness...i barely feel anything now like totally numb I don't have a reason to live..yet I have to live for my parents..and I am strictly against suicide..i am trying my best to be strong but sometimes I just break down...:/ :(

any suggestions would me much appreciated ..thnx

Hey buddy, I'm sorry to hear about the pain you're going through but I'm also glad to hear that you feel you've become stronger. A breakup is an invaluable life lesson and if you embrace it as a learning experience, you will become stronger.

What is loneliness? Here's a definition from the University of Florida which I like:

Loneliness is the feeling of being alone and feeling sad about it. And, of course, all of us feel lonely some of the time. It is only when we seem trapped in our loneliness that it becomes a real problem.

It sounds to me that you're loneliness is not rooted in the fact that you don't have anyone in your life with whom you can truly be yourself. Your ex-girlfriend was that person, but now that the relationship has ended, you are unable to drop your guard with friends or family.

Your challenge right now has nothing to do with your ex-girlfriend. It has to do with you getting to the point where you have friends with whom you can drop your guard. The masks you feel you're wearing - they have to go. You don't need a mask my friend. You need to drop the charades, you are awesome just the way you are. This is the key concept you need to embrace. There is no reason to where a mask, ever.

I am intimately familiar with this topic because I used to wear a lot of different masks myself. I wore one when playing volleyball (yes I played volleyball, don't hate), I wore a different mask when I was doing research during my Master and I wore yet a different mask when I interacted with my friends.

When I got rid of all my masks, things changed for the better. You see, when you wear a mask, you are hiding your true self. This behavior stems from the artificial need to hide who you really are because you believe it is not sufficient or not fit for the situation. You need to realize that this is a toxic mindset, not to mention that it's inherently bullshit.

You, my friend, are an awesome human being, regardless. Every time you wear a mask you're reaffirming to yourself that your true personality is not good enough for people to get to know.

If you've thought about it or not, you've got a set of values which you believe to be righteous. Every time you put a mask on, you are betraying those values, and something inside you keeps track. Something inside of you keeps track of every time you betray your values and this breeds insecurity, negativity and loneliness.

What you're missing is the ability, the phenomenon and the habit of truly connecting with other people.

Loneliness is a fundamentally linked with a passive mindset. Again the guys over at the University of Florida are right on the ball:

Loneliness is a passive state. That is, it is maintained by our passively letting it continue and doing nothing to change it.

This touches on the point I try to get across frequently: Pain is involuntary, but you CHOOSE to suffer.

You must become pro-active. You must learn to dissolve your masks and truly connect with your friends and your family. It is this connection that you're missing and which is causing your loneliness.

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