I frequently get so wrapped up in my life—in chores, work, reading, my dogs, surfing online—that I don’t pay much attention to the fact that I am single. Other times, the perpetual loneliness of my situation seems like it will choke the life out of me.

I don’t feel bad or guilty about feeling lonely—after all, loneliness is nothing more than acknowledging that we want more from life, that we want someone to pay attention to us, that we need and desire companionship, affection, and love—and that we not only want to receive them, but that we want to give those things in return, too. It is good to want these things, and it is human to want these things.

Usually, my feelings of loneliness are accompanied by a sense of hopelessness, but sometimes there is the feeling of hopefulness. Often, there is a profound sense of resignation, and other times there are energetic feelings of defiance and determination to change my situation.

One thing I can always count on though is a feeling of self-pity, which I have come to absolutely loathe. Self-pity and I have a long and contentious history together, but it is one of the most emasculating and immobilizing feelings in the world. Nothing beats me up and drags me down like self-pity.

But I find myself wondering: Is it possible to feel loneliness without feeling self-pity at the same time?

Certainly it is possible to feel self-pity without being lonely, as that particular emotion can arise in us for multiple reasons. But can loneliness be separated from self-pity? Is it just childish to pity yourself? Are there ways around it? What do you think, and what are your experiences or opinions on this? How do you deal with feelings of loneliness?

Tags: affection, companionship, desire, despair, emotions, isolation, loneliness, love, negative emotions, self-pity, More…sexuality, singles

Views: 1123

Replies to This Discussion

Very moving topic Dallas.

Since the kids have moved out on their own and have their own lives and since I'm single I'm also alone and while it took a little time to adjust, I basically just accept the fact that I'm alone and will likely remain so.

However, I suspect that I'm at a different stage in my life than you are (in my 50s) and so the issues for me are different.

What we have in common though is how we handle being alone and what we do with that.

I don't pity myself, I just get on with my life and enjoy what I do have and try to make the most of it.

It's a real rough go sometimes but acceptance of the situation and trying to make the most of it seems to help me deal with it.

There have been moments when I went through a little bit of self-pity but they stopped years ago when I took charge of my life and stopped letting others and other events influence or affect me so much.

In the process of just getting on with your life, it's surprising how many things can fall into place for you.

Hope this helps, or at least makes some sense. Lol.
Well, like you, sometimes I'm just too busy to think about it, and I certainly don't try to stew in my own juices. But when those profound feelings of loneliness do arise, it seems impossible to feel lonely without feeling self-pity, too. I'm okay with the loneliness, just not the self-pity. Do you think they can ever be separated? Surely it is not just me who feels this way?

...and stopped letting others and other events influence or affect me so much.

Yes, I discovered about a decade ago how much I allowed other people to influence my opinions of myself and the world around me. It is important to break free from that.
I'm okay with the loneliness, just not the self-pity. Do you think they can ever be separated? Surely it is not just me who feels this way?

I think we've all felt that way at times in our lives. It's human and perfectly normal when we're dealing with frustrating situations or things outside of our control.

We want to know, "Why me?" Unfortunately, there is no answer to that question and that's when we get embroiled in the self-pity thing.

For me:

1. I accepted the fact that I am alone
2. Focused on my life (not the same as being busy)
3. Took control

I lost the self-pity when I did the above three.

I don't know if that will work for others, just that it worked it for me.

Pity is a hard thing to deal with because there really isn't any way of resolving it or anything you can do to fix it. There's nothing constructive that can come out of it.

That's just a personal opinion, and I could be wrong. I don't have any special expertise in human behavior other than I raised two kids. Lol.
There's nothing constructive that can come out of it.

Agreed.
Think positive and you'll be okay ;-).

Judging by your alias, I'm assuming you're gay.

Since gays have really only come out of the closet in a big way in the last 10 years or so, you have a huge burden on your shoulders there as well.

Speaking as a minority who grew up in Canada in the 1950s I know very well what that kind of discrimination does to a person.

It will get better and a lot of people are starting to come forward to object to such discrimination.

So, while you may be lonely, you're certainly not alone.

Best to you, Dallas. It will get better.
I think it depends on what you mean by loneliness. When I am lonely sometimes I do feel self-pity but it is usually not my dominant emotion. What I usually feel is a sense of introspection. I wonder what I could be doing to meet more guys, if I'm outgoing enough, if I should wear make-up, if I should try harder to lose weight. Apprehension sometimes comes along with these thoughts. I'm extroverted on the internet but kind of shy in person on top of being a little socially awkward. Sometimes I don't know what to say to other people. I have to feel comfortable with them before I can open up. Other times there is a slight sense of hopelessness that usually dissipates after a while. I've changed so much for the better already. I have to believe that I'll continue to move forward, inch by inch.

Usually I am not lonely. My loneliness usually comes as I'm going to bed but during the day I experience peaceful solitude. I'm an asocial person by nature. Generally with people I can take them or leave them. I'm not a cold person, either. I have a tremendous amount of empathy for other people. Solitude for me is the perfect time to just sit and think. I love going places by myself because I'm able to wander around at will and I always enjoy exchanging tiny gems of dialogue with random people I meet.

I went to Balboa Park a couple days ago and met a nice older woman by the koi pond. We chatted about koi for a minute or two, I learned a few things, then I gave her some directions and said goodbye. It was nice meeting her, and when we mean that sincerely, I think may be the best, most unbiased thing we can say about a person.

I know not everyone can enjoy their solitude as much as I do. My baby sister, who is almost 12 now, becomes very depressed when she's by herself. I'm actually shocked by it. Sometimes I worry that there's something wrong with her because she throws such a fit if our mother won't sit with her on the couch. My mom and I have a lot in common. People - we can take them or leave them! But my baby sister, she takes after my step-father. She craves friends and attention. Maybe she's normal and my mom and I are the strange ones.

Even though I know it's probably in my genes, I think everyone should try to enjoy their solitude. My baby sister doesn't know how to be alone, which I think is a tragedy, because everyone is alone sometimes.
What I usually feel is a sense of introspection.

Yes, introspection, anxiety, resignation, anger, and a whole bunch of other emotions that creep in there from time to time.

Apprehension sometimes comes along with these thoughts. I'm extroverted on the internet but kind of shy in person on top of being a little socially awkward. Sometimes I don't know what to say to other people. I have to feel comfortable with them before I can open up.

You and I must have been separated at birth.

I went to Balboa Park a couple days ago and met a nice older woman by the koi pond. We chatted about koi for a minute or two, I learned a few things, then I gave her some directions and said goodbye. It was nice meeting her, and when we mean that sincerely, I think may be the best, most unbiased thing we can say about a person.

Yeah, a Chinese man stopped and asked me about my dog the other day. We talked about five minutes about various things, including Chinese cinema. It was nice to meet someone in your neighborhood and just chat in a friendly way.

I do enjoy my solitude and indepence, too. But I am not so independent that I can claim I don't need other people.
No sheet on the bed - that's symbolism that helps convey despair. Just like mismatched socks is an indicator of madness. Ah ha ha!
(This is just my OCD kicking in-- why isn't there a sheet covering that mattress?)

I thought the same thing.

I've comforted myself with the statement, "relationships just aren't for you", many times.

Why are you not in a relationship? It's not like you're creepy, or disfigured, or weird in any way.
Life sucks, dude. No way around it. It's sink or float. I chose to float :)

I'm not disputing that. My question is whether or not it is possible to acknowledge our loneliness (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) without succumbing to self-pity.

Just found the pic online, don't know who took it.
If you can be cheerful and confident by yourself, then more people will be attracted to you...Don't look for happiness or fulfillment, create it!

Andrew, don't take this the wrong way, because I don't mean this as hatefully as I am afraid it might sound, but these comments seem very Polly Anna-ish to me. It is amost like saying "If you wish upon a star hard enough, your dreams will come true."

I've spent some of my time engaging in positive thinking, but I am not convinced that it really works. It strikes me that things usually happen by a combination of action, chance, luck, and from just being in the right place at the right time. It seldom seems to me that people can create--through sheer will power and positive thinking--the life they truly want. Is that how you meant them?
Polly Anna was very popular. Maybe there's a lesson to be learned here :)

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