Charles Starrett


Blog, links, and…

Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.


Feeling lonely when we're not alone

Have you ever experienced feeling alone or isolated even when you’re with friends, at a social event, or in a crowd? Do you notice what thoughts are going through your head?

I would bet that most of your thoughts are about judging or evaluating yourself or the people you are with. Maybe worried about how you look or how you’re acting? Or wondering what they think of you? Perhaps noticing how you don’t fit in, or even just focused on how you feel separate from them?

Sometimes loneliness doesn’t come from being alone, but from feeling separated from other people, or even from ourselves, whether we’re alone are not. It comes from not being able to feel love and respect for ourselves, as well as love and respect from the people who we are with.

This loneliness is a state of being in us. It’s painful and it can follow us around from place to place, and from social gathering to social gathering.

The question is, can we become curious about the loneliness we feel inside? Can we use self-compassion to be gentle with that loneliness and give it caring attention? Can we spend time with ourselves to learn how to relate to our own loneliness so that we feel more love and respect for ourselves, for others, and then, perhaps, from other people as well?

This is easier said than done. It’s often a journey of “two steps forward one step back” that takes time and patience.

But in the end, what loneliness needs most is attention. And the attention it most needs is not from friends, fame, or social media, but attention from ourselves.

9 September 2022

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