22. When Loneliness Comes Knocking

One thing I’ve been hearing a lot from clients, missionaries and even my own children is that they are feeling lonely.  Loneliness isn’t the most fun feeling to feel, but it also doesn’t have to pull us into even more loneliness.  

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Why it’s totally normal to feel lonely
  • Some reasons you might be feeling lonely
  • What to do to move through it and feel connection instead

If you are ready to get to the other side of loneliness, listen in.

0:00 Hey, what’s up everyone? It’s Jennie, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 22. When loneliness comes knocking, I’m Jennie, the LDS mission coach. And whether you are preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose. Again, it’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the podcast. I am so excited to be hanging out with you today. Thank you so much for listening. I love that I get to hang out with you each week and give you helpful tools, tips and strategies for the mission. You know, if you love what you’ve been hearing on the podcast, and if you love getting these tools and strategies for your mission, I would love to invite you to hop on a strategy call with me. This is where we can take all of the tools that I’ve been teaching you here. And we take them to the 10 next level because we apply them specifically to what’s going on for you and what specifically, you might experience on the mission. I am starting my mental mission prep course again in January. And I think you should be in there. This is where we learn to completely drop perfectionism and drop the mission struggle before it even begins. This is so you can hit the ground running and show up as the powerful missionary that you want to be. I know you want to just get out there and start serving, but you’re going to need some mental and emotional tools for when things get challenging out there so that you can continue to focus on the people around you. If you’re interested in that, go to Jennie dildine.com, Jennie spelled with an IE and click on mental mission prep. And we will get you into that January group. I record this podcast up in my bedroom. And right now I’m looking outside my window we have this beautiful full deciduous tree in our backyard. And I love the change of the seasons and watching it go from blows to full green to yellow leaves now to completely bare which to me means that winter is right around the corner. I do have to say that winter is not my favorite time of the year. weather wise, I keep telling all my clients, my clients in Arizona, I’m like I should just come live there.

3:12 My husband would probably be sad he grew up here, but I try to appreciate the winters as much as I can. We’re coming into the holidays, if you can believe it, we’re into the second week of November, which means that we’ve got Thanksgiving and Christmas just right around the corner. Which brings me to what I wanted to talk to you today about because I know that many of you are maybe going to be away from home for the first time. I know that many of you will be serving missions, maybe in a different culture where they don’t celebrate the same way that maybe we do back home or wherever you’re from. I was messaging with one missionary who told me that right now in the country he’s serving in that they’re in total quarantine again, and they’re doing calls inside all day. So lots of stuff probably going to be happening for many of you in these upcoming weeks as we lead up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of the things that I’ve noticed that’s coming up quite frequently. And this is the reason I wanted to address this is that a lot of missionaries, a lot of preparing missionaries, a lot of people in high school, I think many of us I’ve also seen this with some of my return missionary clients. Many of us right now are struggling because we’re feeling lonely. I can’t even tell you the number of times that this has come up this week whether through a message or through an email or through a client that I’m working with a Preparing missionary or return missionary currently serving. I’ve even seen this coming up with my own children, I have a son who’s married. He doesn’t seem to be complaining, being lonely, because he’s pretty newlywed. But my son who’s recently returned from his mission, he came home in August. I also have a son, that’s a junior in high school right now. He’s talked about being lonely. I also have a daughter who’s a freshman, and she’s talked about being lonely, and even my fourth grade daughter, she has also talked about feeling lonely lately. So with the holidays coming up and everything, I wanted to give you some tools to kind of maneuver around and manage and navigate this feeling of loneliness. One of the things I want us to notice is that we can be in a crowded room, full of people and still feel lonely. Preparing missionaries can be in a room full of other people may be at an institute building for an institute activity, and feel connected. Or that same preparing missionary can be in the same room on a different day with the same number of people and feel lonely. It’s interesting to notice that current missionaries can’t wait to get home and just get one second of alone time to themselves. And yet, I talked to so many returned missionaries that wish they had someone to chat with. So they didn’t feel so lonely. But how can this be possible? How can we all be in a room and feel lonely or not feel lonely? How can be we be on the mission? And at times feel lonely? Or not lonely? How can we be home from the mission and feel lonely or not lonely? It’s because loneliness is not just something that happens upon us. Or that doesn’t happen upon this. Loneliness is actually a feeling. And if you’ve learned anything from what I’ve taught you here that feelings are created with our thinking. So when we understand loneliness, this way, it starts to make a little more sense, right? We could be in a room full of people at that Institute building. And we could feel connected. Connection is also a feeling based on what we’re thinking. On a different day, we could be in that same room and feel lonely, because of what we are thinking.

8:09 Sometimes I hear people say, and I’ve heard this a little bit from one of my sons lately, I just don’t know why I’m feeling so lonely. And what I want to say to him and what I sometimes do say to him, Well, I know why. It’s because of your thoughts. I want to make sort of a differentiation between being alone and feeling lonely. Being alone could potentially be a fact, it could be a circumstance that we find ourselves in. In fact, I just did a strategy call with a guy who’s been home from his mission six months. I was talking to him and he actually lives I think he said in Zimbabwe. And he is alone right now. And because his younger brother that usually lives with him, no longer lives there, his younger brother actually just left on a mission. So he actually does physically live alone. But being alone in a house, like I’m alone in my house right now is entirely different than the feeling of being lonely. Now to sort of understand what loneliness actually is, it’s sometimes useful and what I started doing a little bit of thinking about is what’s then the opposite of feeling lonely. I know that loneliness doesn’t feel that good. And so I started thinking, Okay, well, if I don’t, if I’m not that jazzed about feeling lonely, what would I want to feel Feel instead. And I’m sure there’s many answers to this, but kind of the one that I came up with was that love, the opposite of loneliness is connection. Now, connection is a human need, that we all have. And the reason that we all have this human need is because sometimes you hear me talk about on this podcast, our caveman brain, well picture our K membrane back in the quote, unquote, caveman days, okay? It was actually really important to be connected to a group or a tribe of people. Because that group or tribe of people, was instrumental, and, in many instances, crucial to our survival. So that part of our brain, that lower brain wants to seek connection with other people, our brains actually still believe that this type of connection with a tribe or with a group is still crucial to our survival. Most of us aren’t fighting for warmth, aren’t fighting for food, aren’t running away from herds of Buffalo, or whatever. Most of us are pretty safe on a day to day basis, we don’t have to worry as much about our survival. But our brains still do that caveman brain that’s wired that way, still seeks that connection for our survival. But sometimes, where we get a little messed up, and where we get a little confused, as we think that other people are responsible to connect to us. That’s one mistake we sometimes make. Another mistake that we sometimes make is when we believe that connection is something that we do. And this is maybe what I see most often is people think they aren’t reaching out, I don’t have anyone asking me to lunch. I don’t have my family isn’t sending me emails, I don’t have anyone writing me on the mission. We seek this connection. But we sort of believe that it’s something that we do. But connection is a feeling the same as loneliness is a feeling. connection isn’t something we do. Loneliness isn’t something we do. It’s something that we feel.

12:59 And if loneliness is something we feel and created by our thinking, connection is also something that we feel. And that is created by our thinking. Another thing I want to kind of bring up here is that we’re actually supposed to feel lonely sometimes. That is, again, just our caveman brain on default. When we feel the feeling of loneliness, we’re like, oh, I guess I need to get connected again. I guess I need to reconnect with a tribe or with a group of people. So loneliness is just simply sort of like an alarm system that our body has created to be like, Oh, pay attention to this, you’re feeling a little lonely. Maybe it’s time to reconnect. Because remember, connection back in the day was important for our survival. One of the things that I see happen, though, is that we think we shouldn’t feel lonely. We think there’s something wrong with us if we feel lonely. We think that loneliness is bad. But my friends, loneliness is simply an emotion created a vibration in our bodies, when we think, a thought, a thought that our brain offers us. Both connection and loneliness are vibrations in our body. And if that makes zero sense to you, I want you to go back and listen to episode number three, all the fields but the way I teach it there in just a nutshell, is that we have a thought that thought sends a vibration a chemical or a hormone through our body and when We actually feel loneliness in our bodies. Sometimes I like to think of it. If I was describing it to an alien, what would loneliness actually feel like? Now the reason it’s so important to actually just allow our emotions. Rather than thinking, I don’t want to feel lonely, I shouldn’t feel lonely, I can’t feel lonely. There’s something wrong with me if I feel lonely. The reason I encourage my clients, and I want to encourage you now to allow your emotions is because when we resist our emotions, they only get stronger. The surest way to feel more lonely, is to think you shouldn’t be lonely, or to not want your loneliness. Isn’t that ironic? The surest way to find your way out of loneliness is to either a change the way you’re thinking, or be, just feel a little lonely for a minute and let that be okay. In just a minute, I’m going to help you kind of walk through this process of what it actually feels like to allow loneliness. And what you’ll find is, it’s actually not that terrible. It’s not untolerable, what’s usually intolerable is the resistance of it. It makes it stronger. Let’s talk about some thoughts that create loneliness. So this is a list of thoughts I came up with, and I’m sure there are more, you probably have many more you could add to this list. But what I want us to do is consider loneliness doesn’t just happen upon us, like rain, or like a monsoon, if you’re serving somewhere in South America. Okay. Loneliness is a feeling we create for ourselves with our thinking. So let’s kind of take a look at what some of those thoughts would be. Maybe thoughts that create loneliness might be I am alone. Remember how we talked about alone actually being a fact? Well, when we think it, we’re probably more likely to feel lonely. I am forgotten. No one ever thinks of me. I don’t fit in here. I don’t belong. I don’t have any friends. Maybe these people don’t understand me. A couple others I came up with are my companion and I have nothing in common. Or my companion, I will never see eye to eye when we think these thoughts

18:00 are probably going to feel lonely. Now many of you are thinking, I don’t want to think those thoughts. I don’t like any of those thoughts. None of those thoughts feel good. But remember, your resistance to the thought only makes us stronger. Your brain is offering you this thought for a very good reason. It thinks actually, it’s important for your survival. So just acknowledge that. And then you can switch it, or you can just feel lonely, and it’s actually not that bad. So let’s talk about how we would feel our emotions, what does it actually look like to allow loneliness, the first thing you want to do is you want to give the emotion a name. So you just start to notice it. Oh, my goodness, I noticed I’m feeling lonely, because of any of these thoughts that I’ve mentioned here. But instead of spinning on the thought, I want you to get out of your head and into your body. I want you to relax into the loneliness. And then I want you to describe it with adjectives. I like to picture it. I don’t know if you guys remember the old. I don’t know if they still run, but it’s a cartoon called the Magic School Bus. And sometimes that magic school bus would go into the body and be like, Look, here’s your heart. Look, here’s your stomach, look, here’s your lungs, and it would kind of show us exactly what’s going on in the body. That’s how I want you to think of your emotions when you’re allowing them. So let me think about what loneliness feels like for me. For me. It’s like a heaviness about my heart. It feels like a dark gray cloud. It feels kind of heavy. And like there’s this emptiness around it and the emptiness kind of sinks all the way down into my stomach. The emptiness of my stomach is kind of black and vast but the I feel a little bit of pressure, that heaviness that dark gray cloud, on my heart. That’s loneliness for me. So maybe just take a second, when was the last time you felt lonely? And instead of spinning on these thoughts like I’m alone, I’m forgotten, no one thinks to me, instead of spinning on those thoughts, get out of your head and into your body relax into what does loneliness actually feel like? For you, the tendency you guys, is when our emotions come knocking. And when loneliness comes knocking on the door, our tendency is to try to push that emotion away, we want to keep that door closed, with both hands pushing as hard as we can, in resisting to letting that emotion come in. And what I’m asking you to do, what it looks like is for you to say, Oh, hey, loneliness, you want to come in and hang out? Let’s do it. And the best thing to do guys is just feel lonely for a second Heavenly Father actually designed our bodies to allow emotion he knew we were gonna have all kinds of thoughts here in this mortal existence and all kinds of feelings. So those chemicals, that alarm system in our body, he made our bodies to allow for it and process it. And I promise you, if you give this just a try, what you’ll find is that the loneliness will actually sit with you the gray cloud in your chest that heaviness, the vast black feeling into your stomach will sit with you for a minute.

21:51 And as long as you don’t get back up into your head into the spinning thoughts, that loneliness, that vibration will just cycle on out. Just feel your loneliness, it’s actually not that terrible. Remember, a couple of things to keep in mind, we’re supposed to feel lonely, sometimes, that’s just our brain trying to keep us protected, trying to keep us part of the tribe, trying to keep us connected. Okay, if we want to, we can change our thinking. And we could maybe create connection with our thinking, rather than creating loneliness. And if we can’t change our thinking, we just invite loneliness to come on in the door, and hang out for a little bit. So I wanted to share a couple experiences with you from a couple different parts of the mission. And the first one I want to start with is a return missionary who told me that she was really feeling lonely. And what she said to me was that she was just so used to having someone there her companion, to bounce ideas off of and to get validation from and to chat with. But what I want all of us to do is maybe explore a little bit when she was with her companion, she didn’t feel connection, the opposite of loneliness, she didn’t feel connection because of the companion. She felt connection because of the thoughts that she was thinking. When she had the companion. She had thoughts like, they get me It’s so nice to have someone I can count on. These are a couple of thoughts that create connection. Maybe you are a new missionary, and you’re feeling homesick and lonely. So what I’d love for you to do is to explore just a little bit when you are home, you didn’t feel connection, the opposite of loneliness, because you were in close proximity to your family, or to your house. You felt connection because of thoughts you were thinking. So just consider think back to when you were at home. What thoughts did you have there? You can think those thoughts now maybe they were something like my family will always have my back or distance can’t separate us. See how those thoughts are available to you right now. We can create connection with these types of thoughts. Maybe you’re a currently serving missionary and you’re going through a lonely time. Maybe you’re in your original assignment, maybe you were thriving in your reassignment before you came to your original assignment and now you’re in your original area, your original assignment and you feel lonely, but let’s think about it in your reassigned area. It was never the people or the area that made you feel connection. It was is always your thoughts that made you feel connected. Maybe you had thoughts like this is where I’m supposed to be. Or I’m here for a reason, or I’m going to make a difference in this mission. These types of thoughts create connection, rather than loneliness. Let me give you a few more thoughts that create connection that you can choose to think right now. What I’m doing matters. People care about me. Someone will always have my back. There’s a place for me here. I know that I belong. Distance cannot separate people who love one another. It’s okay if people don’t understand me because my only job is to understand them. My companion and I have so much in common you guys, when we think this thought our brains will go to work. Trying to prove that true. That’s what’s so cool about changing our thinking. Listen, doing things for one another, doesn’t create connection. You’re thinking does your companions thoughts, create their own feelings that they feel in their body and your thoughts? Create your feelings that you have in your body? If you want to feel lonely, it’s totally fine. That’s just your brain. You really can.

26:30 There’s genuinely nothing wrong with it. And I encourage you to just allow those emotions. But when you’re ready to feel connection instead, know that it is available to you right now. Because it comes from your thinking. Just grab any one of these thoughts, and start believing it now. All right, I hope this helps you during this upcoming time when you’re away from your family during the holidays. Either feel your feelings, feel that loneliness or choose a different thought to create connection instead. Okay, everyone have the most amazing week. Take care. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast today. If you want to learn more about what I do, you can go to Jennie dildine.com. Or just come hang out with me on Instagram at Jennie dot the LDS mission coach and Jennie is spelled with an IE. Remember, no matter which part of the mission experience that you’re involved in, just know that Jennie the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.

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Hey! I'm Jennie - The LDS Mission Coach.

Preparing for, serving and coming home from an LDS Mission can present countless changes and transitions. I’ve seen these changes put missionaries at the mercy of their emotions and questioning their abilities. With the tools I teach, young adults empower themselves to navigate every moment of the mission experience with epic, unwavering confidence.

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