The truth about loneliness
Updated: Apr 30
In recent weeks, social distancing measures have made us even more aware of how much we rely on human interaction and connection -- in ways we probably hadn't even realized. But, even before this time of isolation and fear, loneliness was a serious issue in our society.
In fact, one of the reasons I decided to become a love and relationship coach, trained in the transformative Calling in “The One” coaching process, was because I’d read about the research that had found that loneliness had actually become one of America’s biggest health problems. A recent post on lifeandhealth.org cites the New York Times in reporting that “loneliness and weak social connections are associated with a reduced lifespan similar to someone smoking fifteen cigarettes a day and are associated with having a greater risk of reduced lifespan than someone with obesity. Loneliness is also linked with a greater risk of heart disease, dementia, anxiety and depression.”
Shocking, right? The same bad health effects as if you smoked fifteen cigarettes a day!
As a cultural historian, I’m interested in the roots of how this epidemic of loneliness grew, pre-pandemic: our American prizing of individuality, for one. In recent years, our focus on social media and the pseudo-connections there.
My background in psychology makes me fascinated by the neuroscience angle. In the book The General Theory of Love, authors Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon describe the ways in which brain development and health depend upon human connection, and the ways in which we as individuals try and fail to make up for this deficit – drugs, violence, addictions. The authors then assert, “The real battle our country fights is not against drugs per se but limbic pain – isolation, sorrow, bitterness, anxiety, loneliness, and despair.”
“As a social species,” says Dr. Stephanie Cacioppo, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience, University of Chicago, and Director, Brain Dynamics Laboratory, “we are accountable to help our lonely children, parents, neighbors, and even strangers in the same way we would treat ourselves. Treating loneliness is our collective responsibility.” Really, nothing less than the state of our society and the world is at stake.
Again, this was all pre-pandemic, but, in deciding what I could contribute as a drop in the bucket of collective healing, my lifelong fascination with love stories – including writing them – led me naturally to want to work with people to create their own love stories.
I thought about how many single or divorced people I know who’ve simply given up on love. Sometimes, after the heartbreak and pain of divorce, or perhaps a few first dates that don’t go so well, we might begin to tell ourselves that it’s easier to be alone. There even seems to be a notion at large – especially for women, and perhaps even more especially for heterosexual women who've been divorced – that saying “I don’t need anybody” is a kind of badge of honor, proving how strong they are.
Now, to be honest, I very much dislike the opposite notion, which is sometimes articulated in ways that suggest that women who don’t have a partner are incomplete or somehow “less than” those who do.
But, the fact is, as human beings we need connection. It’s a proven scientific fact – as are the consequences of not having it.
In normal times, we can certainly get many of our needs for connection met by friends, neighbors, and all types of communities.
But there’s something – no, a thousand things – special about a love relationship – a partnership. (Not to mention, the psychologist Harville Hendrix suggests that only within a love relationship can our own essential and most profound healing take place...)
So, here’s the thing. As your Calling in “The One” coach, my goal isn’t to find you someone just so you don’t have to go to parties alone anymore, or any other superficial reason. And it certainly isn’t to suggest that, if you don’t have a partner, you’re somehow “less than.”
Instead, we're looking to get your very real, very human needs met – in all kinds of ways. The Calling in “The One” process is about creating better relationships of all kinds.
Most importantly, it’s about healing the broken places within you that keep you holding love at bay. It’s about overturning, overruling and finally healing the cynical parts of you, the bad experiences, the places where you’ve lacked discernment or boundaries – and making it truly possible for you to have real, authentic, fulfilling, embodied love with a wonderful partner, perhaps for the rest of your life.
Finally, for all my clients, my ultimate goal is that, as fulfilled, happy human being with your own healing firmly in hand, you can in turn contribute more to the world; live a longer, happier life; and help others, to boot.
So, you see: investing in getting your own needs met and easing your own loneliness is definitely not selfish. It is, in fact, essential -- perhaps now more than ever.
And if you find yourself saying, “Oh, sure, Ellen, this is all very well and good, but, even before social distancing, I tried and tried and I just couldn’t meet anybody” – well, I can help you with that, too, because, in the coaching process, we will shift your mindset to possibility, vision, and taking the actions you need to take to create your new life and love, whatever external circumstances may be.
Are you ready to get started? To take charge of your own future and take a stand to heal your own loneliness, despite these troubled times? Book a free 30-minute discovery session to talk about private coaching today!
P.S. Plus! All of this is why I'm about to launch a new small-group, 10-week program called "Reinventing Yourself after Divorce."
In this small-group experience, you will:
Uncover your most authentic self and become centered in the truth of who you are
Shift your subconscious beliefs and shed any obstacles that have been holding you back from fulfillment in life and love
Get clear on the future you desire and realize your power to create it
Become magnetic to your dream life – and ready for new love whenever you choose to call it in
Here’s how it works:
Using the book Calling in “The One”: Seven Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life by Katherine Woodward Thomas as our guide, we’ll meet weekly on Zoom for 10 weeks.
There’ll be one introductory meeting, eight content-oriented meetings (with two weeks focused on the work of “Week 3,” where the deepest and most challenging shifts occur), and one closing meeting to ground in your transformation.
You’ll be responsible for doing the exercises from the Calling in “The One” book each week; the group coaching meetings will take you even deeper.
The group will be limited to four participants, and each person will have “the floor” for an equal amount of time in each meeting, receiving direct coaching from me and support from the group. (Weekly meeting day and time will be determined after the four group members are in place.)
The proven Calling in “The One” coaching process has helped thousands and thousands of people to shed what’s been holding them back and step powerfully into the truth of who they are.
It will move you from disappointment and heartbreak to possibility and hope.
Like my small-group client Lisa, 53, who went from being fresh off the trauma of divorce and uncertain whether she could trust herself not to give away her power to a controlling man again -- to handling online dating like a boss and becoming so magnetic to men that she even had to shut down her profile because she couldn’t take on any more prospects!
Or like another of my small-group clients, Rachel, 55, who’s gone from giving her precious time and energy (and self-esteem) away to ping after ping on a dozen different dating apps from men who were only looking for flings – to taking a powerful stand for valuing herself enough and having faith enough to hold out for “The One.”
Are you ready to take back -- even INCREASE -- your power, even in the midst of this difficult time?
Are you ready to start creating the life and love you really want?
Here’s what you can expect in the group:
Change. Challenge. Facing your old “stuff” & finally letting it go.
A deep level of support within a loving, safe container.
Being held accountable without judgment.
Emerging into a powerful new version of you who’s ready to create the future of her dreams!
This group is for you if:
You're ready to put the pain of your past behind you
You're serious about committing to your own growth and happiness
You're serious about calling in the life of your dreams and creating all that you desire
You've embarked on your own healing journey to the point that you're prepared to take full responsibility for your destiny!
You’re prepared to share openly and honestly in a small group setting and be an integral part of a safe, supportive, confidential container for everyone in the group.
This group is not for you if you are:
Not willing to be coachable or to show up and do the work
Not willing to invest at least 20 minutes a day on the homework, plus a 90-minute weekly meeting
Not willing to invest in yourself and your transformation
Not willing to support others in their transformation from a loving place of non-judgment
Not truly ready to let go of your old patterns or of your old, unfulfilling relationships
Are you ready to powerfully break through your blocks and get started living your most authentic, purposeful, love-filled life?
Contact me to join! There are only four spots available, and we’ll be starting in mid-May.
Still not sure? Here's what one client says about her experience working in a small group with me:
"Working within a group facilitated by Ellen has been a fantastic experience. I have gained skills in my ability to deeply re-visit the relationship I have with myself. I have become stronger in my ability to clearly identify what my own needs truly are, separate from my role as a mother, which has enhanced my ability to be a better leader and parent for my children, along with creating some emotional separateness, which is actually very healthy, as we all emerge with greater strength and independence. Through this work with Ellen and my fellow group members, I have been working to more efficiently identify what are healthy choices for me and which ones are not as healthy. I have become even better with setting clear and healthy boundaries for myself. "As a single woman who desires a life partner, I constantly am working on setting emotional boundaries with my past and figuring out how my past can be an asset towards my future, as well as determining a delicate balance in setting the critical “stop gaps” in preventing old patterns from entering my new vision and intention for my life moving forward. I have so valued this important work with Ellen along with my group partners. I highly recommend investing in this opportunity as an invaluable “tool” for enhanced connection contributing towards a higher level of authentic living." - K.C., 55, Maine
It’s time for you to decide – will you join the ranks of my brave clients who are done with settling and unhappiness? Are you ready to take a stand for creating the life and love of your dreams? Click here to contact me today! (Just say “I’m in!”, and I'll get back to you to set up a quick call to talk details! 😊)