Some months ago I wrote about loneliness and organized a webinar. It was strange: nearly 200 people signed up for it but only 15 attended. Isn’t that the problem in a nutshell?
If people don’t engage, they will end up feeling lonely (disconnected).
One of the significant layers of this phenomenon of loneliness is a diminished reach, or difficulty reaching out and communicating. People can be in the middle of large crowds and yet feel lonely. Why?
Because there is nobody to talk to!
Or at least nobody to talk to at a meaningful level. We can say “Hi” and “Have a nice day!” to people, without engaging, or without it meaning anything much.
What we really miss perhaps is talking at the soul level, personal sharing, and filled with affection…
THAT’S the kind of communication lonely people miss most.
Now I don’t want to be cruel when I say most people cause their own communication problems. Mostly it’s ineptness, not stupidity. But it remains true: we need to get out of our own way in connecting with others.
I have written elsewhere that probably the WORST of all human abilities is our bad communication; yet the single MOST IMPORTANT skill we need to live our lives successful and stay out of trouble. Communication skill makes us successful, gets us relationships, solves problems, and helps fill our lives with richness and delight.
So where does it go wrong? Are we born bad at it? I don’t think so. I think it’s a learned disability.
I said to a 50 year-old woman once: when I snap my fingers, answer the FIRST thing that comes into your mind… when did you decide you couldn’t communicate? (Snap)
She instantly recalled childhood abuse and her father hurting her deliberately, to amuse himself hearing her squeal. She had been ordered not to tell and decided to comply. It went on from there; you don’t need to know the details. The important point is that we have to choose not to communicate. Our natural, native ability is to be able to communicate.
You don’t hear many babies that hold back when they are wet, hungry or pissed off!
We don’t all get abused, of course. But we all have hurtful, embarrassing or threatening moments, when we just wish we were not there. A dose of “elsewhereness” as I call it, jokingly.
In my Punk Psychology these ugly moments are called memonemes and some of them can carry huge emotional charges, then get buried and forgotten: BUT WHICH NEVER GO AWAY. Not until addressed and defused. Think unexploded bomb: it may be buried underground but is still a threat, till defused and the explosives carried to somewhere safe.
Thing is, I have identified a number of basic communication blocks that recur, time and time again.
I’m going to hold a teleclass on this, next Tuesday (14th) at 5.00 pm Pacific Standard Time, to share these.
It occurs to me that a number of people may have been bashful about coming onto a webinar. These platforms do announce your name and some, of course, are video-active. That did not occur to me last time. It could be a bit embarrassing when people know you admit to feeling lonely. I get it!
But I think perhaps holding a phone call teleclass is sufficiently anonymous that no-one should mind calling in and listening, silently and anonymously.
I’m hoping so, anyway.
Looking further, one of my ambitions (dreams, whatever you want to call it) is to be able to teach anyone to clear these basic communication blocks. I think I can do it. I rarely fail at anything I set my mind to.
Beyond that, I’d like to envision real-world seminars (bums-on-seats, not just this online stuff), where I get to meet with people of like mind, people who care and want to help make that change in the world.
The ability to communicate well could be a fundamental people skill that is capable of producing profound change at all levels in society. Everything, one way or another boils down to a communication failure: wars, quarrels, domestic violence, project failures, work issues… So the cost of poor communication can be very severe, both to the individual and to a nation.
The cost of communication breakdown: Canadian war graves WWI
Social Media it seems are NOT the solution to communications. Try reading posts by democrats about republicans; or remarks about democrats, posted by republicans.
It’s risen to the heights of obscenity, abuse, insults and vicious intolerance.
People are just not listening any more. They are talking… or rather just sounding off and demand the right to be heard, without allowing others the right to be heard.
It reminds me of George Bernard Shaw’s wise and witty quote: the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place!
Or Anthony Carmona’s acidulous observation: Social media websites are no longer performing an envisaged function of creating a positive communication link among friends, family and professionals. It is a veritable battleground, where insults fly from the human quiver, damaging lives, destroying self-esteem and a person’s sense of self-worth.
My tribe can do better. We have answers. Life hacks, communication wisdom, ways to reach out and share. My 12 Channels alone, published as Flourish and Beyond is a whole new look at abundance and what that would mean.
Anyway, here’s the crowning idea for this missive about true loneliness. If you’ve ever thought it is odd that you have friends, meet people and interact, YET CONTINUE TO FEEL INEXPLICABLE LONELINESS, I have the answer for you.
It may have a completely surprise origin that 99.9999% of people could never guess (and you are trained to believe something different and contradictory), then join us on an important call: THE REAL ORIGINS OF LONELINESS.