Of all the emails I have ever received, (and there’s a lot) this one truly left me heartbroken: No One Knows My pain. What do people do when there is no one left who loves them or even cares?
Let me offer a little bit of this reader’s background. She is in her early forties and getting divorced after a 5 year marriage. The couple has no children and her father died a few years ago. They were very close. Her mom isn’t doing well and I am going to assume she doesn’t have siblings (although I could be wrong.)
She said she has tried dating but that she always says the wrong things and has a lack of trust in men, which was caused by her marriage. She also lives in a small town where there are very few single people.
I think that loneliness and feeling alone might be the most painful emotion a human being can feel. I think that people innately crave love, intimacy and a healthy romantic relationship. Are there times in life when people want to be alone (meaning not in a relationship)? Sure, especially after a breakup or divorce. But for the most part, we all want someone to love and be loved, someone we know is looking out for us, and someone we are looking out for.
So, where can I begin to offer advice to this sweet, sweet woman who I just want to hug, who writes no one knows my pain?
Here are a few thoughts.
1. If you have faith and you talk to God, you are not alone.
I actually talk to God all the time. He is listening. You don’t have to go to church or synagogue to talk to God. No one knows my pain? God knows your pain and He is there to give you faith that you won’t always feel this way, and strength to take actions to ensure you don’t feel this way.
2. If you love yourself—appreciate your health and the work you do and the hobbies and passion you have for things in life, and the people you have around you who care, you will feel less lonely.
3. Love comes to those who are willing to make an effort to put themselves out there, unafraid to show their true, vulnerability, their authentic self and not care what others think.
4. You also might want to make a practical effort to meet people.
One date every other year won’t work if you want to find love. Dating is a numbers game and you have to try not to get discouraged, despite all the disappointment and frustration that comes with dating. Remember this: something comes from every bad date and every heartbreak and every date who made you feel like going was a complete waste of time. You might learn something, the person might become a friend and lead you to the person you’re meant to be with, and the person might just add something to your life that you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t meet him or her. No date is ever a waste.
5. Reach out to old friends and reconnect.
It doesn’t matter how much time has gone by. People are always thrilled to hear from a friend from the past, and as we get older, even more so. If you feel awkward about reaching out to someone because too much time has gone by, or there was some negative blood between the two of you, I say take a chance and call anyway. I bet you the person will thank you for being the one to reach out. If you get a negative reaction, at least you tried and you lost nothing.
6. Realize that there are people out there who love you and care for you—some who you might not even realize.
No one knows my pain? Yes they do. So many have been in the same position.
7. Travel if you can.
Seeing the world and different places and pieces of history is not only enriching, but people are always meeting friends and romantic interests on trips.
8. Let the memories of your parents, siblings and other family members (whether they are alive or not) be a comfort in your loneliness.
9. Consider getting a dog (or cat.)
One of the best decisions I ever made was getting my dog. I wasn’t even a dog person, and I am now madly in love with him. He has made me a better person in that I am more patient, giving and caring, and I feel loved every single minute of every day when I look at him. I truly never feel alone if my dog is in the same room as me.
Yes, it’s a little bit of work at the beginning (3-6 months) but it gets so much easier, and you find yourself wanting to take the dog out, wanting to bathe him or her, wanting to play. When he/she is napping next to you, it is heavenly. And, when you don’t feel well, your number one fan will be there for you. When I broke my wrist, the day I got home from the hospital, I was planted on the couch, and my dog layed at my feet all day long. He seriously never left my side.
10. Have gratitude every day for basic things: health, food, shelter, even the beauty of the sky. When you look at these things and realize their gifts, it makes you feel less alone.
11. Never lose hope that things will change and you won’t always feel this way.
You could be walking down the street tomorrow and meet the man of your dreams, and maybe he has three kids and six grandchildren. Maybe he has this wonderful family that will welcome you with open arms.
Lastly, when you are feeling like no one cares, remember that I care! You can always write me and I will respond.