I was once in a crowded lift heading up to a three day training course, and to my utter astonishment, the lady next to me turned to me, looked directly at me and said, “Hello, how are you today?” I almost bumped into the gentleman to my right, so astounded was I that anyone would break the well known social convention that we don’t talk to people we don’t know and especially not in confined spaces like lifts.
And yet why the hell not? What is it that stops us talking to other people? We are craving connection and yet we’re living through an era where loneliness is now endemic. We have thousands of ways to communicate with people, so much social media, constant access to a phone in our pocket, let alone email, WhatsApp and messaging. Many of us are addicted to constantly checking our phones for messages and notifications and ‘likes’ for our posts. But somehow we are lonelier and more disconnected than ever.
And it’s a strange concept really, we can be lonely when surrounded by large numbers of people and we can be absolutely fine when completely physically alone on a hill, if we feel connected with others many hundreds of miles away.
It can be a bereavement or a relationship breakup, or a change of job which causes the feelings, and this is tough, but likely to be temporary while you adjust your life and rebalance to create connection again. Or it can feel like that is ‘just how you are’.
As humans we all feel like our loneliness is special to us, no-one else can understand it, and yet we all have these experiences. We are alone and only we can feel that. Sometimes we seek out time alone, and others we desperately want to be with others.
If you are finding that you are lonely more often than not, it may be that you’re really experiencing a fear of connection, or a fear of intimacy with others. There are plenty of people near you, and you meet plenty of people but somehow the connections you are making with them are not deep and satisfying enough. Perhaps you feel like they are not your tribe, they don’t ‘get you’.
It’s quite natural to withdraw from other people when your subconscious mind is telling you that the world is a scary or dangerous place, or past traumas have taught you not to trust other people. Our minds act quite rationally when we decide something is unsafe and therefore we must protect ourselves by keeping away. The problem is that this causes an even bigger issue. We are social animals, and lack of connection is closely associated with depression and illness. That’s why it’s so vital to identify when it’s a subconscious fear that is controlling the show and driving your behaviour and feelings.
Those fears can be re-framed in hypnosis and you can find a way though by understanding first what those fears are, and then changing your response to them, so that the world becomes less scary, and your own feelings are calmer. When you know that you are enough and you feel full of confidence and self-esteem, and you become curious about other people, suddenly it becomes less of a leap to reach out to your colleague, or a person in a lift, and say, “Hello, what’s going on for you?”