Feeling Lonely On Valentine’s Day? Here’s Why…
Valentine’s Day, “Hallmark holiday” or not, still invokes feelings of loneliness in many people. This can be due to a breakup, a death in the family, or simply isolation from family and friends. But there are other reasons why people feel lonely that have nothing to do with being alone.
For example, a 2010 study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine concluded that feelings associated with loneliness were actually unrelated to marital status or the social availability of friends and relatives.
So what exactly does this mean? It means that people often feel lonely even when they are not alone. Moreover, loneliness is not a state of being, but a state a mind.
Looking at this idea conversely, you will also notice that being alone does not equal being lonely. Many people enjoy solitude, even on the holidays such as Valentine’s Day, and embrace isolation rather than avoid it.
And thus, there are plenty of people who feel lonely on holidays, including Valentine’s Day, who aren’t physically alone. If you are one of those people, in order to understand why you feel lonely, you must also understand the feelings about yourself that manifest this experience.
Key Reasons For Loneliness – On Any Day
The fear of letting people know the “real you” due to an erroneous belief that you have some innate flaw.
Feeling that you are inherently unworthy of someone else’s love will undoubtedly make you feel lonely, primarily because you don’t actually feel loved. That is, you believe that others care for a version of you that is something of a facade, and if they knew the real truth about you, they would not love you.
Moreover, you can be surrounded by people who do care about you, and yet you have difficulty accepting their love and respect. You believe that in some way you have falsely mislead them, and if they knew the truth, their feelings would change.
Remember, this imagined “non-acceptance” is a reflection of your own feelings about yourself, and most often has no basis in reality regarding the perspective of others.
The fear of dependence.
A fear of dependence is manifested by the the avoidance of needing someone for emotional or physical support. That is, if you allow yourself to love someone and connect with someone in a way that makes you vulnerable, you perceive yourself as weak – and also ashamed for wanting a partner in life.
This fear often leads to isolation, but the reason for this may not be clear to you. You may erroneously believe that others are imposing isolation on you – but in reality, it is you that is fearful of love, connections, and feeling vulnerable in a relationship. This brings me to the next reason…
The fear of a real emotional connection.
Those who avoid emotional connections tend to compartmentalize their feelings. They can “shut down” intimate feelings, at least on the surface. Moreover, emotional intimacy is viewed as a threat, and this view serves as a means to ensure one’s feelings are “safe,” so to speak.
As you can see, there is a general theme here. Feelings of loneliness are often based on fear – the fear of letting someone know you, of accepting you, and of allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable.
How To Mitigate Loneliness On Valentine’s Day – Or Any Day
It goes without saying that to decrease or eliminate lonely feelings, one must confront and overcome the fears that lead to loneliness.
There are several ways to do this
One, you have to open up yourself to someone – even if it’s just one person.
It sounds risky, but in reality, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. After all, if you discover that they truly are not willing to love you for the real person that you are, are they really necessary in your life?
The benefits of letting someone in are far greater than the risk of loss if they don’t accept your reality. To be the most successful, choose one trustworthy individual and begin to open up to them about your needs, feelings, and desires. You can take your time, but your ultimate goal should be to not hold back, and let them know you as intimately as possible.
Two, you must realize that needing someone is not a sign of weakness.
Rather, it’s a sign of strength, and also the willingness to be vulnerable and reliant on someone other than yourself. Humans are social beings, and have been quite successful as such. Your desire for a close relationship reveals self-confidence – not weakness. That is, you long for someone to compliment you, and not complete you.
Three, you must set out to establish emotional connections.
To do this, you must alter your perceptions of intimacy from bad to good. To do this, you must not only pay more attention to your feelings, but to the feelings of others.
Share yourself, but also try to be more understanding and empathetic to those close to you. During this time, you must take special care to emphasize the positive emotions that result from your endeavors.
In conclusion, remember that the first step to abating loneliness is to understand why you feel lonely, and that it is a manifestation of your own feelings and fears, and not the fault of others. Only you can bridge the emotional gap between yourself and others – it is completely within your power alone.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology