November 19, 2014

3 Ways to Beat Loneliness & Feel True Belonging.

Daniel Krieg/Flickr

My mom and dad were standing by the door.

My dad was about to leave for work.

They hugged.

They hugged, and their bodies were squeezed together so tight that there was no room in between them for anything.

Not even some air. Not even me.

I was standing and looking up to them. They were so tall—so far away from me. I took a step closer.

They were still hugging. Not hugging me. I took another step. I wanted to be part of it. I tried to hug them with my tiny arms; I tried to squeeze between the two of them.

“I belong to this, too,” I announced.

This is all I have wanted, my whole life, to belong to “this.”

I am yearning to belong to something, to somewhere, to someone.

“I belong to this too.” And they laughed.

Because what I said was adorable—a cute comment from a four-year-old child? Or because I was clearly not good enough to belong to this—a hug, something that looks nice and comforting? Or because I clearly belonged to it all—not only the hug, but the lies that were underneath the hug? The fights, the hatred, the screaming and the misery that finally led to a divorce thirteen years later?

It was all true.

I was a part of it all: part of the pain that made all our lives miserable. That pain is why I’m still walking around in broken pieces.

I am still not good enough for anything other than tears. I am not good enough for a hug or any sense of belonging—at least this is how I feel. It is comical that I crave it so much.

This sweet, innocent statement from a child-me turned into a desperate wish, an unachievable goal, an endless cycle of desiring to belong.

I want to belong to this. I am longing to belong to something, to somewhere, to someone…

The above above was written many years ago. I accidentally stumbled upon them on my hard-drive.

But the feeling hasn’t changed. The need for belonging has followed me throughout my life.

At thirty-one I still crave it.

Leading a nomadic life is exciting, fascinating and fulfilling, yet it can get lonely at times. Not having a home-base causes insecurities. Being in a long-term relationship with my partner for seven years is clearly bringing happiness and some form of security into my life, but going through longer stretches of long-distance, separated by an ocean, also brings on difficulties.

Years of inner-work allowed me to peel many layers off of my artichoke and to let go of a lot, there are still many layers to go through to completely let go of the insecurities and trauma of my childhood. I am continuously working on nurturing my inner-child.

But, let’s get out of victim-mode.

I have the power to create my life.

So, how do I deal with my need for belonging, feelings of insecurity and potential loneliness? Here are my three, fool-proof tips:

Realizing that loneliness and the feeling of not belonging are just feelings, not facts. Memories can come up even without us even recognizing them, and automatically trigger emotions. If these emotions are negative, we start feeling sad or angry and trigger further negative emotions and memories. We create a roller-coaster of negativity and in the end convince ourselves that life is terrible. But if we recognize that memories are just memories, and that feelings are just feelings, not facts, we can let go of them.

Journaling. Journaling is my go-to therapy and best friend. I start my days with my morning pages. I have my idea journal. I have my day-time journal where I write whenever I need to express my emotions. Journaling allows me to realize the root causes of my problems. Journaling allows me to let go of issues. Journaling also allows me to connect with myself, realize my dreams and to feel heard.

Connecting with Nature. Being in and connecting with nature is my most powerful tool. A long run, especially on trails, allows me to connect with the universe and put things into perspective. A beautiful hike, gorgeous views, pretty flowers or a wonderful sunset puts an instant smile on my face. Tree hugging creates the feeling of love and connection. In nature, I am able to see the bigger picture—that I most certainly belong.

I belong to this absolutely wonderful universe where everything and everyone is connected and has a purpose.

How could I feel lonely when I belong to something to big?


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Author: Kat Gal

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Daniel Krieg/Flickr

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Vironika Tugaleva Nov 22, 2014 7:09pm

Wow, Kat, LOVING this. Love your work, love knowing you. Thank you for being so vulnerable. You never cease to inspire me 🙂

Andrew Burgon Nov 20, 2014 5:05am

My take on loneliness is that it's an indicator just like hunger and thirst. When I feel lonely I go out and get me some social connection.

My attempt at embracing the solitary life failed miserably. For a starters, I didn't have the right mental and emotional state of mind to do so. I was suffering from depression and loneliness. I cloistered myself away for a year. Surrounded myself with my aquariums and books. Focused on my passions. To no avail. What was bothering me was like a thorn in my mind and it was festering. I slipped into severe depression.

Social connection nourishes us. It feeds our mental and emotional health. For those in particular who have a fervent heart and a high social nature and needs going without social connection is like sailors going without fruit (scurvy.)

In hindsight, I needed to respect my social nature and needs and focus on this critical inch of my life that was deeply bothering me. That is exactly what I ended up doing. As a result I banished loneliness and healed myself of the effects of severe depression.

I did a kind of journaling. There were three burning questions I had that I dwelled on a lot and I wrote the distinctions I came across on my epic journey to finding the kind of friendships I desired. 1. How am I responsible for my friendship situation? 2. How can I live on a higher strata of satisfying and rewarding frinedships. 3. How can I draw good friends into my life.

Unfortunately, we sometimes bring loneliness upon ourselves. For example, those people who have very limited social boundaries like I use to. They lament the fact that the rock pool has no good friends when they should be out getting their feet wet in the surf casting the line of their surf rod into the sea.

Nov 19, 2014 11:19am

Timely for me too, with the holidays, and the intensifying darkness. Thanks for sharing your beautiful tools.

Blessed be,

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Kat Gal

Kat Gal is a holistic health & happiness coach working with women who are craving to be themselves. As she allows her clients to discover their dreams and intuition, they feel empowered to get out of the roller-coaster of chronic emotional and physical pain, and enter into a world of confidence, self-love, energy, happiness, health and freedom. ]. She is the creator of Your 21-Day Mind-Body-Soul Shake-Up! Non-traditional (w)holistic cleanse which you can learn more about here. Kat is also a big believer of journaling and you can purchase her ebook, 365 Days of Journaling: 365 + 1 Journaling Exercises to Reach Your Ultimate Happiness, Health & Freedom, here. You can follow her via her website on holistic health and happiness, and on Facebook.