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The Three Words I Dreaded


Photo by Jeswin Thomas

On a recent Sunday afternoon, I had time to myself. Which isn’t all that unusual, given that my husband and I are empty nesters and my better half was doing what a lot of men do on Sundays–watching sports on tv.

What was unusual was the feeling that I had. More than boredom, it was a discomfort, as well as a yearning. I felt unsettled. It wasn’t until the next day that I became aware of what I was feeling. It startled me to say, “I am lonely.”

Loneliness is an emotion that has a stigma. If I acknowledge that I’m lonely, I’m marked as a loser. Even a quick online search for the definition of loneliness speaks to this: “sadness because one has no friends or company”. 

Yikes! I must really be a loser now. That’s what my Negative Ego would have me believe.

Intellectually, I know that I have many friends. Spiritually, I know that I am not alone. Emotionally, in the moment, it’s easy to have doubts. During that Sunday afternoon, I did feel isolated from others. I also felt disconnected from myself.

Here’s the rub: Experiencing loneliness does not say anything about me as a person.

The truth is that emotions are part of our humanity. They are our birthright. Who hasn’t felt lonely during their lifetime? Loneliness is not a flaw or something to hide from or be ashamed of.

This reminds me of a conversation I had several years ago, with an instructor at a personal development retreat. I was telling her about an issue in my life. She listened carefully and then she said, “Do you know what remorse is?” I looked at her and immediately replied, “Not really.”  In my mind, remorse was more than the feeling that I did something wrong. It was an acknowledgment that I am wrong. And who wants that?

The conversation was a gift. Shortly after, I let myself feel remorse–sorry for something I had done–which allowed me to release guilt. My emotions flowed through me, instead of getting stuck inside of me.

Likewise, the day that I realized I was feeling lonely, I let myself feel loneliness and with that, the sadness dissolved. I returned to a sense of well-being.

I’ve been thinking a lot about loneliness. Watch for my next post on this topic soon.

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata:


  1. Laura B on March 27, 2023 at 10:58 AM

    Beautifully put, and I can relate.

  2. Shawa on March 29, 2023 at 11:06 AM

    Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom (enlightened); To know yourself you must know how to answer the following five questions:
    1. Who are we? [Our Identity]
    2. Where did we come from? (Does the universe have a supernatural origin?) [Our Origin]
    3. Why are we here? (What place do we have in the universe?) [The Meaning of Our Lives]
    4. How should we live? (What is the purpose of our living?) [The Expression of Our Lives]
    5. Where are we going? (Is there hope for our future and life after death?) [Our Destiny]
    Without knowing who we are, where we come from, what is the meaning of our lives , what is the purpose of our living, and where are we going, then there is no way we may truly know ourselves, and we may not have senses as to why we feel loneliness in our lives.

    • Carol Ross on March 29, 2023 at 11:55 AM

      Thanks, Shawa, for these beautiful questions and framework. I am discovering the complexity of loneliness and your questions point to that. For example, “Who are we?” As human beings, we are wired for connection. We yearn for connection. “Where did we come from?” and “Where are we going?” feel similar in that I believe in a soul that extends across lifetimes. As part of that, I believe in a higher power. If my connection to a higher power is intermittent, there will be times when I live under the illusion that I am alone. In actuality, I am never alone.

      More to come in my next post on loneliness.

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