Why We Feel Lonely in a Crowd

by | Feb 14, 2022 | Feelings

Have you found yourself wondering if you’ll ever find “your people”?

I’ve been hearing about this a lot recently …

  • People feeling deeply lonely and isolated in their primary relationships

  • People wondering if “their people” are out there, and if they are, where to find them

  • People dating and just not finding the love they’re seeking

Humans have a deep longing for connection and community.
We are wired for love.

Counterintuitively, the times I’ve actually felt the loneliest have been when I’ve been surrounded by people or in a relationship. It’s not uncommon to feel intensely alone and isolated in a crowd.

Loneliness is not alleviated by simply sharing space with other people but rather by the quality of the interactions with said people.

The quality and depth of those interactions is – in turn – limited by the quality and depth of our connection with ourselves.
We can only know someone else to the extent that we know ourselves.
We can only connect with others to the degree that we’re able to connect with ourselves.

We aren’t just looking for bodies in a room; we’re looking for a deep sense of self-connection, self-trust, and empathic resonance with other humans on a similar journey as ours.

We want people to get us.
We want to be noticed, named, and known.
We bond through shared experiences and common values.
We want to be missed and collected.

Sometimes when loneliness grips me, I notice my tendency to start negotiating my values and doubting myself. I start thinking that there must be something wrong with me: I’m too picky, my standards are too high, I’m too needy, I’m too much, I’m not enough.

I start thinking that I need to change and fix myself to be more palatable to those around me.

Belonging, however, doesn’t come from changing who we are.

Instead, belonging is a natural side-effect of authentically being who we are.

The more we try to change ourselves to fit the world, the lonelier we become.
Self-abandonment and self-negation do not create more connectedness or more sense of belonging in our lives.

So what does bring about more connection and belonging?

Authenticity does. Integrity does. Empathy does. Connection with people who “get” us and enjoy us does.

The next time you start feeling discouraged about whether or not you will ever find “your people” think about this:

There are 7.9 billion people in the world.

1.4 billion of them are in China.
1.3 billion of them are in India.
1.2 billion of them are in Africa.
748 million of them are in Europe.
334 million of them are in the United States.

Based on these numbers alone, there are simply too many people in the world for there not to be at least a few hundred out there who are going to light you up, energize you, inspire you, and get you.

It’s a statistical certainty that there are people out there who are exactly what you’re looking for, whether you’re looking for deeper friends, lovers, chosen family – whatever. Someone out there gets your sense of humor, enjoys the things you enjoy, and will delight in your company as you are.

We often betray our most important needs and values when we are afraid of being alone. One of the main reasons we are afraid to set boundaries in relationships is our fear of loneliness.

Don’t be so afraid of being alone that you end up investing in relationships that drain you, deplete you, and erode your sense of well-being. Every day you spend trying to mold yourself to fit the wrong person is another day that the right person can’t find you. Every day you keep giving your energy to people who hurt you, drain you, or dismiss you is another day that you aren’t with the people who would truly enjoy you.

Stop settling for hollow relationships – with yourself and with others. 

I know it can be really hard to look honestly at some of the relationships in our lives, especially when they aren’t working for us. It’s even harder to decide to leave them or to at least create more distance between ourselves and those people who do not lift us up or support us into the best version of ourselves.

It takes courage to be true to yourself, but it’s vitally important and worth it.

Believe in your goodness and your worth.
Listen to your inner promptings.
Take yourself seriously.

If you haven’t found “your people” yet, keep searching. They’re out there, waiting for you.

In the meantime, remember that you’re always welcome to seek out new people and a deeper connection with yourself through my online community. As Ram Dass famously said, “We’re all just walking each other home.” You’re not alone. Join us anytime.

What alleviates your loneliness and meets your needs for belonging and connection?
I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.

3 Comments

  1. Suzann Long

    I am blessed to have a few longtime friends who "get me" and a fewer family members too with whom I feel deep connection and love. But I am second most grateful for your most generous enabling of my participation in your online community where I can experience who I am and practice who I want to be. I feel inspired and dazzled by the courage and openheartedness of all the members. It meets my needs for shared reality, belonging, joy and celebration. Thank you!!!

    Reply
  2. Leah Josephs

    Surviving extreme physical violence at the hands of a mother I deeply love, and developing some rather unusual defense mechanisms (as child growing up in 1960’s Berkeley), didn’t make my fitting in very easy. While I am still a foreigner on this earth, I have now at least acquired the common language of kindness. If you cannot be kind, oh please do stay away from me! Other than that, though I know you not personally, Yvette, YOU alleviate my loneliness! Having had such a peripatetic existence, and people pleasing my way through so many different cultures and places… finding the amalgam of your incredibly varied influences is deeply gratifying. Thank you for sharing yourself so generously with us. You are a wonderful “strategy” against loneliness.

    Reply

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