Search
  • Dr. Lalit Chawla

E#49: Why is it Hard to Overcome Loneliness?


This is a episode deals with the emotions of feeling alone in a world where we are so connected.

Why do I feel alone when I'm so connected with people?


(This is the core of the transcript from the podcast. The Intro has been removed and some areas improved for reading ease.)



As we start opening up the economy, so many of us, myself included, feel thankful for a few reasons. One is that we are trying to minimize the impact that closing down the economy is having on people's livelihoods. Another reason is that we can be with a greater variety of people, live and in person. Even introverted people want to have more in-person interactions with others.

growing up in the 1980s and '90s. I think I would have done better with some quiet time in that era as opposed to now.

These times have got me thinking and asking the question: "why is it so hard to be alone?" I don't remember solitude being such a struggle growing up in the 1980s and '90s. I think I would have done better with some quiet time in that era as opposed to now. I remember easily 20 to 30 years ago - when phones and the internet weren't at my fingertips - never feeling restless. Yet right now, when I have more opportunities to have quiet time or stillness, it's harder to feel a sense of contentment. Don't get me wrong, phones and technology are great in many ways. It has helped us stay connected with loved ones, solved a lot of purchasing dilemmas and got important information out to everyone. So why do people find it so hard to be alone? Would you feel uncomfortable if we continued with social isolation? I think there are a few things that are affecting our mood in these moments of social isolation.

Most of us get our sense of self-worth simply from being busy. We scold children or individuals who are not productive

1. In our modern society, especially if you are a professional, we always feel there is a need to be busy. When you are busy, you are getting things done. The motto that gets ingrained into us is "a busy person is a productive person." Most of us get our sense of self-worth simply from being busy. We scold children or individuals who are not productive and praise the child or person who is an achiever. But is a material achievement or goal achievement always a good thing? Is that how you get your sense of self-worth?


We also have a higher expectation of having happier emotions....we consider stillness or neutral emotions as wasted, odd or unwanted.

2. We also have a higher expectation of having happier or exciting emotions. Consciously or unconsciously, the message is that successful people are the ones who have more happy moments in their day and their lives. I'm not saying we should be looking for sad and depressive emotions, but it's become harder to accept neutral feelings or stillness.


We've become addicted to needing stimulating thoughts, entertaining nuggets and infotainment. That's why social media and news consumption is so easy to get lost in. We've programmed ourselves to become addicted to emotions that have a spark to them.


We associate neutral emotions, such as stillness, the quietness that you feel when you are going for a walk or even the space between doing or going from one task to another, as wasted,odd and unwanted. We've become addicted to the adrenalin of high-impact emotions rather than emotions of stillness. We can't even walk from the car to our house without checking our email. We can't go up the stairs to our bedroom without checking a Facebook or twitter post, let alone whatever you need to be listening to, scrolling to or tuning into when you have closed the washroom door and sitting on your throne. Every moment of our awake mind needs to be assaulted with some form of something.


When we do that, we can get comfortable with being alone with ourselves.

I remember, when I was 17, I had to do hard labour. I had to do mind-numbing work that was repetitive and took no talent. For the life of me couldn't figure out how I was going to make it to lunchtime, let alone the whole week, sweeping the street of the small town I lived in.


Eventually, I did learn to enjoy the silence and stillness of being present and in the moment. We need to get back to that state, where we feel comfort in doing nothing but being present and quiet - consuming silence if you will. When we do that, we can get comfortable with being alone with ourselves.


Creative ideas, motivations, meaningful points - these things happen more in quiet spaces if we allow ourselves time to spend there.


Does your self worth and sense of ease come from doing something, or consuming something all the time or most of the time? How comfortable are you with being still and not being entertained or needing infotainment, consuming news, social media, etc.?

We unknowingly have created our shackles whereby the technology that was supposed to enhance our life has wired it up like a dozen turbo-jazzed cups of java that keeps us buzzing and craving a stimulating emotion. So it's only by overcoming our self-limitations and restrictions that we can regain and accept moments of stillness and be okay with not always having to do things and accomplish things.


When we are watching tv, news and information, we are in the act of consuming and doing. So we think, and therefore we have the illusion that we are somewhat productive even if we had nothing to do with the creation of the content that we consumed. I think the people who are having the hardest time being alone or being still are the ones who either don't have a creative outlet or a list of things to do.

Does your self worth and sense of ease come from doing something, or consuming something all the time or most of the time? How comfortable are you with being still and not being entertained or needing infotainment, consuming news, social media, etc.?


If you have ever experienced the joy of working with nature - such as gardening, mowing the lawn or cleaning your home or other more creative endeavours - you know the pleasure of being connected with doing things that matter. More importantly, you can also learn that you don't always have to accomplish something to get a sense of self-worth. Some of the most grounded people have built such quality lives because they know the difference between what is just busyness and distraction, and what is genuinely worth the focus of their time.


Maybe we should all take a page from the introverts. Introverts are naturally attuned to being comfortable within themselves and restoring their inner peaceful status. The next time you pick up your phone, turn on Netflix or scan through Facebook, Instagram, or the news, stop. Notice that quiet, still moment. Try it on for size. Breathe. Channel your inner introvert - nobody is 100% extroverted, after all. Get comfortable with yourself and your extraordinary imagination and the magic of being still and all the benefits from being alone.


I hope this served you in some way, if you've enjoyed listening to this podcast, please share with a friend or colleague and subscribe to us Apple podcast, Spotify or your favourite podcast app. And if you goto the TheIntrovertedDoctor.com and sign in there, you’ll get my weekly emails about the podcast episode that’s coming out.

I'm Dr. Lalit Chawla and thank you so much for listening. Let's together make a greater, more effective community so that you live with greater passion, harmony and magic in your life and help others do the same.



I would love to hear any comments about this podcast and what would you like to hear in future episodes?





©  The Introverted Doctor.com