Why do we feel alone? — R Voice

Why do we feel alone?

Lidia Lins
Lidia Lins Member Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

I have recently posted something on my Instagram account and afterwards I thought it really resonated with this community, so I felt like sharing this with you. It is about belonging somewhere and that is exactly what this community is here for.

Here is the text:

You've probably felt alone or lonely some days, or probably many days that has happened in your life.

Maybe you have also done something you don't like so much to be part of a group. You've changed your clothing, your way of thinking, your behaviour...to belong somewhere.

Can't remember? What about when you were at school? I for sure did some things which I have only latter discovered they were not part of who I was.

But have you already asked yourself WHY do you do these things?

We are social beings (you have probably already heard that part) and our sense of cooperation comes from a very long time ago, probably when we were still another species called Homo erectus, research says.

We used to cooperate to one another to be able to survive, otherwise we would be eaten by a tiger and die if we were alone. With this sense of cooperation came the sense of BELONGING to a group.

And this sense of belong is still very much present in our species Homo sapiens. Even though we don't have to run from tigers anymore, belonging to a group gives us a sense of safety and protection.

Even the most introverted people feel the need to belong. They might prioritize deeper connections with fewer individuals, and yet being part of a group is also important to them.

During isolation that's were pandemic hit us the hardest. We have "lost" our groups, our friends, our colleagues, thus, our protection. This has contributed to the feeling of being unsafe, alone, and afraid.

So, my friend, I see you and you are NOT ALONE in this journey. So what can you do?

Even though online activities do not replace physical ones in many aspects, they DO contribute to a wider sense of belonging somewhere, of being heard and cared for.

So go and look for your tribe, for that group that makes YOU feel safe. You might argue this is not ideal, I understand. But will you keep waiting until "all that has ended"? What about doing something right now?


  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2021

    This advice is great for people who are in the specific circumstances that @Lidia Lins describes here. 🙏

    For those (irrespective of the pandemic) who have tried again and again and again, made a lot of effort, tried everything that the internet asked you to do from loving yourself to trying meet up groups, and yet you don't belong despite having been decent enough human beings...and you are doubting yourselves with really hard questions like "am I that horrible a person", "what is wrong with me"...here's my two cents.

    It happens. Whatever your circumstances that might have led to this, it was probably not your fault. While I don't have a solution or easy answers, hearing from a fellow human that there's nothing wrong with you kinda helps. And oh...we do live in an era of hyperindividualism. 😏

    And to those who are better off and notice lonely people, perhaps - reaching out and asking people...fellow humans if they are ok with genuine care (and without making them charity cases) may be a good start. Lonely people who are already in a state of vulnerability (with possible mental health issues) find it hard to reach out. Most would appreciate a small initiative.🙏

  • Lidia Lins
    Lidia Lins Member Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    Well said @Raj sundaram !

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 126 ✭✭✭✭

    Adding all great points have been mentioned by @Raj sundaram based on the great article by @Lidia Lins, I would say that do not be afraid to join the community. Knock, come, have a sit, and look around. If the community fits for you and leads you to a positivity, go and blend....if not, leave.

    It happens to me. I was afraid to be part of a new community: afraid that I will be judged negatively, afraid that I won't be welcomed because I'm not fulfilled the taste of the community, etc. But then, a simple question comes out of my brain...."why don't I try?"

    Try..... And see how it works on fulfilling the loneliness 🤗

  • Ratilal Mathukia
    Ratilal Mathukia Member Posts: 4

    Helping others is good thing, but ultimately we are weakening them and sometimes, they are using us and getting work done from us.

  • Lidia Lins
    Lidia Lins Member Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    @Ratilal Mathukia sometimes that happens indeed, and that's why it is very important to set your barriers instead of just becoming a people pleaser and exhaust yourself.

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2021

    Helping sometimes weakens the helped because the person ostensibly extending help is taking an ego ride on the vulnerable person seeking help.....in an act of power play. That also happens, and is more common in my observation. Not to say that there are no freeloaders and predators.

    As far as people using others goes, the onus is on the person being predatory. Not the fault of the well intentioned person who extends help.

    In my opinion, the world could use more mutual well intentioned helpfulness. Helping others can be fulfilling and empowering for both parties...the helper and helped, if done with mutual respect, reciprocity and gratitude.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 696 admin

    I'd like to add to everything that has already been said. I want to talk about a scenario is which it seems like we have a tribe and we're constantly surrounded by people, but we still feel alone. This could be because of a variety of reasons -- the tribe might not be the best for us, we might not have much in common with others in this group, or they might not have our best interests at heart, or we might simply not get the best vibes from them...the list could go on. Feeling alone in such a situation can be stifling because chances are, no one would know you're feeling this way because you seem to be in a group always and like you have a lot of people to support you.

    @Lidia Lins any advice on how people could identify when they're in a situation like this and what they could possibly do to get themselves out?

  • Percy Mdunge
    Percy Mdunge Member Posts: 2

    I think an "Okay I get it..." one click option would be nice. I read many of the comments under this post and thought "That makes a lot of sense" or "Okay I get it now". This is different to the "Like" and "Awesome" options.

    Thanks for the post very useful. This community has helped me a lot. Surprised at how much I learnt in a very short space of time 🙂.

  • Lidia Lins
    Lidia Lins Member Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    @Andrea Hayward , the most important thing is to feel safe in your tribe, to feel others trust you and don't judge you for being yourself.

    When people don't feel this openess they will start to close themselves and only share what is essential. This might not seem to be a big deal, but social support at work is one of the main aspects correlated with work engagement. We need to feel the trust of our colleagues and our leaders to be able to have this sense of belonging. If we don't we close.

    That's why nowadays knowing the culture of your work environment is essential to feel happy and work and to engage. So, before applying for a position, one could read beforehand about the working space and ask in the interview how it is to work there.

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2021

    @Andrea Hayward Just chipping in - with a long history of not fitting in and feeling the pinch of not having my own tribe due to lots of factors. For e.g., as a foreigner in a country with massive language and cultural barriers, amongst many other factors.

    a. The thing that is in one's control if one still has the self worth and is not too traumatized by the isolation is to look for other tribes. Say, on the internet (I know...its hard and internet is a jungle - but still there are nice pockets) or ideally in a different geographical location. (Many of us need interactions beyond screens...)

    b. If one is traumatized by the isolation whilst being in "groups" or otherwise - despite having made all reasonable effort and been a decent enough human: here are my two cents. The only choice left is to go through the five stages of grief for being in the wrong place - wrong time- amidst wrong people. It happens. If possible (one has the resources, time, etc.), seek professional help. Once one reaches the level of acceptance and gains a bit of inner strength, start finding one's own way again e.g., by changing geographical locations.

    If someone is reading this and feeling "This is me!" - here are my words to you as someone who has been in these kinds of situations and survived. "I get it, It is not (usually) our fault, there are many like us! But also, the world is a big place - there are 8 billion out there, even though it feels like searching for a needle in a haystack sometimes - at least there are options. If you want, please message - we can together commiserate the strange times/experiences of connectedness-yet-disconnectedness we live through and support each other." Virtual hugs.

    [@Lidia Lins Sometimes no amount of prior research by reading/talking to employers or potential coworkers yields the image of the real workplace conditions. Speaking out of experience, once again. 😉 Recruiters always put their best foot forward painting rainbows and unicorns. We are all trying to impress each other...and that only adds to clouded judgements. And people who work in the same place are not ALWAYS going to give honest opinions. Of course, we can look for red flags. But that would require a lot of effort and having the "danger antennae" up.]

    Some companies and professors are "reviewed" on the internet - like glassdoor/rate my professor. But this is not mainstream yet. And I dont think this is the real solution. The real solution is to have better workplaces, and institutions taking their share of responsibility to make sure their workplaces are not nightmares. And we all pushing institutions to make the required changes collectively instead of blaming ourselves/individuals who are in reality victims or asking ourselves/individuals to make "better choices".

    From a personal empowerment standpoint - when one is choosing a workplace, if one is priveleged enough to have a choice that is (in academia, most of us mortals are beggars and beggars cant be choosers) - better to give it all an actual trial. If one can, best to expose oneself to and observe the workplace for a period of ~ 10 days or a month before committing. Say, go for an "internship". Or choose workplaces through people who know the the place VERY well - including the worst sides! In many successful profiles I have seen - if one is lucky to have a good boss, the boss recommends the next boss and people go through recruitment through previously known (actual) close-knit networks [not something formed on just linkedin]. This leads to the best outcomes from what I see.

    Anything else - amounts to taking a chance. This is what many of us do. And the outcome is but a lottery. And if things go south, a shout out if you've done all you can to research and choose..."not your fault, try your best to move on protecting yourself and your sanity. Hopefully, better things and people await you.."😉

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭

    @Andrea Hayward thank you for bringing in this nuance to this discussion.🙂

    And thanks, @Lidia Lins for pointing out outsides affect insides and the importance of social support in the work environment for individuals. 🙂

    Andrea's remark hit a bit too close to my heart...and in the heat of responding forgot to say this in my previous post🤣

  • Asli Telli
    Asli Telli Member Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    I second Andrea’s comment on “feeling alone in a tribe”. A feeling I’m familiar with and have already got used to. This might also be because of the academic deformation we have I suspect. We are analytical even when having fun or doing casual activities outside of work:) We just can not help it, it is in our blood. From the outside, this might even look unbearable or elitist; as if we do not want to get along with people for a reason...Being an outcast most of the time, I try to deal with this through wit and humor. It is a way of managing the awkward feeling and sometimes keeping the group spirit up while you are still there. I don’t feel like it is a lack of belonging or a matter of loneliness, but more like not fitting the actual discussion or what the group appears to be at first instance. When I asked friends about this, they mostly told me, “the group would not be there without you and your endless critique”, or “you are being the bad cop” again. Of course, this also proves that these are people I can trust and who appreciate me for who I am. Nice thread, @Lidia. Thank you:)

  • Lidia Lins
    Lidia Lins Member Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    Thank you for sharing @Asli Telli ! I feel you. I also feel like that in my current work environment, and for this reason it is very important to share out thoughts and feelings with others who are going through the same experience.