Book: The Anatomy of Loneliness by Teal Swan

The Three Pillars of Loneliness
1. Separation
2. Shame
3. Fear

HIGHLIGHTS

Part I: The Pillar of Separation

“The exact opposite vibration of love is fear.”

§

“There is only one type of pain in this Universe and it is separation; there is only one kind of happiness in this Universe and it is unity.”


Part II: The Pillar of Shame

“Shame is actually a primitive reaction encoded in your organism just like your fight-or-flight mechanism. And interestingly, so is love.”

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“The single biggest threat to our survival is not starvation, thirst, or exposure, but isolation.”

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“If you struggle with deep loneliness, the kind that isn’t solved by having other people in the room, shame is your permanent state of being.”

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“Values are determined by needs.”

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“Emotional neglect is passed from generation to generation to generation, and each generation is completely unaware of it until someone becomes conscious of it.”

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“When you are in this emotional place of feeling like something is unlovable about you, people often say, ‘You have to love yourself.’ It just causes ten times more pain because what you hear is: you have to love yourself because no one else will because there’s nothing good enough to love and want about you.”


EXERCISE

Find what you disapprove of about yourself. Write down the names of each family member and significant people in your early life. Under their names, write the criticisms they used to give you or the things they would make you feel ashamed about.

If you feel defensive about certain criticisms they gave you and are convinced in an offended way that they are not right, recognize that this is you rebelling against their criticism. This means there is an insecurity underneath it that they might be right. If you feel emotional about any sort of early criticisms in your life, it’s a guarantee that those aspects are things you disapprove of about yourself today. So they are traits that you can turn around through exaltation.


“When it comes to the concept of self worth, the first thing we need to do with it is to throw it away. Worth is a completely abstract concept; you cannot objectively determine the value of something. Worth has no basis in reality because it’s so subjective. The criteria created to determine a person’s worth is entirely dependent upon the society into which we’re born.”

§

“The process of fragmentation is a process by which we become less and less authentic. We want to be loved, but the biggest barrier to being loved is inauthenticity.”


Part III: The Pillar of Fear

“When we were children, we took on our mother’s fear whether we were aware of it or not. The same is true of our father’s and any significant people in our early environment. We adopted their feelings of powerlessness and inadequacy without questioning it, and we adopted the inevitable fear that came as a result of it.”

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“There are two sides to the fundamental core of fear. The first is that you feel powerless to prevent what is unwanted, and the second is that you feel powerless to bring about what is wanted.”

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“This commonly accepted idea that we fear the unknown is actually completely and totally false. We don’t fear the unknown. If we truly feared the unknown, babies would fear everything, and they don’t. What we fear is what we project into the unknown based on our previous experiences.”

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“If we suffered an emotional trauma and we ignore, suppress, or deny it in favor of positive focus, we are using positivity to get away from negativity. The emotional wound does not get better; it just festers.”

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“When we have to make a choice about our options or our actions, we need to be asking ourselves: Is this option bringing me more power or less?”

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“Without a healthy emotional life, a relationship is not a relationship; it’s merely a social arrangement. You simply cannot create an intimate connection with someone if you are not in touch with your emotions and feelings. Intimacy is not about sex; sex may be a byproduct of intimacy but it’s not intimacy in and of itself. Intimacy is knowing and being known for who we really are in all aspects of our lives.” Into-me-see.

§

“If you wish to be emotionally healthy, you have to realize and accept that you are in a relationship with yourself, which is to say your own emotions must matter to you. This means you must acknowledge and validate your own emotions and not dismiss or disapprove of them.”

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“Know that you deserve a relationship where your feelings matter, and the fastest way to get to that kind of relationship is to decide that your emotions matter to you. If you stop abandoning yourself when you are experiencing negative emotions, you will come to trust that you will always be there for yourself.”

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“Acknowledge and observe your anxious thoughts and feelings. Don’t try to ignore, fight, or control them the way you usually would. Instead, simply observe them as if from an outsider’s perspective, without reacting or judging. This way you are not giving them your energy or attention; you are merely observing and acknowledging them.”


Part IV: Creating Connection

“When we enter into a relationship of any kind, we do so with all our own pain. We enter into relationships with other people who also experienced pain in their past relationships, and thus bring that pain into this one as well. We both do what we learned to do, which is to protect our inner worlds and keep them hidden to avoid further damage. This might seem on the outside to be all well and good, except for one thing: this leaves the majority of us unseen, unfelt, unheard, misunderstood, and miserably lonely.”

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“Deep loneliness is caused by parallel realities. It’s tempting to think that we can do without intimacy; the truth is, we can’t. Without intimacy in childhood, we don’t develop a sense of our own existence, and we begin to feel as if we exist in a parallel reality, which is deeply isolating, and that causes us to feel like we are alone, even in a crowded room.”

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“We are at risk of developing these parallel perceptual realities any time we experience people who don’t see us, feel us, or hear us. You can think of the level of extremeness of these parallel realities as existing on a kind of sliding scale. The more drastic the difference was between the realities that other people were perceiving as opposed to the one we were perceiving, the more severe the isolation and pain we experience in conjunction with having these differing realities.”

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“The heart of being authentic is being vulnerable.”

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“The root of authenticity is knowing how you feel and admitting it to yourself, and subsequently to others.”


EXERCISE
Authenticity (layers of your full truth)

ANGER/MAD (HATE)
What am I angry about?
What or whom do I blame and why?
Whom or what do I feel resentment for and why?
It makes me so mad when…
I’m completely fed up with…
I hate…

PAIN/HURT (SADNESS)
What about this makes me so sad?
I am so hurt by…
I feel so disappointed that…

FEAR/AFRAID (POWERLESSNESS)
What about this makes me so afraid?
I’m scared that…
It scares me when…
Why does it scare me?
What about this embarrasses me?
What about this makes me feel insecure?
What is the deep wound hiding underneath the anger and sadness?
What painful thing does this situation remind me of?

UNDERSTANDING (FORGIVENESS)
I regret…
I’m sorry that…
What part of this situation do I take responsibility for?
I didn’t mean to…
I understand that…
I know sometimes I…
What do I want forgiveness for?

LOVE (HEALING/HAPPINESS)
Deep down I have the purest of intentions and they are…
Deep down in my heart I want…
I promise to…
What are some solutions to this situation that I can think of?
I hope that…
I feel gratitude for…
I forgive…


“One of the hardest things for the human species to learn is: I can have myself and have you, too.”

§

“A ‘boundary’ is the imaginary line that uniquely defines your personal happiness, feelings, thoughts, integrity, desires, and needs, and therefore most importantly, your truth from the rest of the Universe.”

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“Attunement is when you are able to understand that other people think in ways that are both similar to and different from the way that you do, and that they also have emotions they associate with those thoughts.”


Do I feel like my parents understood me when I was little, or even tried to understand me?

Did they see into me and feel into me and have empathy for me and adjust their behavior accordingly or not?

Did they acknowledge how I felt or did they invalidate it, telling me I shouldn’t feel that way?

How did my parents treat me when I was cranky, frightened, or upset?


“Attunement causes you to perceive strong, authentic emotions as opposed to emotions related to suppression, avoidance, denial, or defensiveness.”

§

“The real point of connection is to find someone who can be fully with you, accepting the positive with the negative; not someone who needs all of your life to be positive in order to love you. That would be conditional love.”


Part V: Keeping Connection

“If we are looking to establish a secure connection with someone, we need to practice appreciating them.”

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“Communication is a huge part of connection, and it takes place in many ways, not just verbally. In fact, most of our communication takes place through our body language. Therefore, we need to be aware of what we are communicating, and communicate deliberately.”

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“There is no such thing as genuine commitment phobia.

The person who isn’t committing to a relationship out of fear has already chosen to be fully committed to freedom.

The person who is procrastinating has already chosen to be fully committed to distraction.”

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“Look for your similarities with the things you want to belong to. When we are in pain as a result of not belonging, we are hypervigilant about differences that could lead to us being ostracized again. As a result, so much of our focus is placed on how we are different and how we don’t fit in.

What we need to do instead is to look at everything through the lens of, ‘How am I the same as this thing?'”

§

“The truth is that a human being cannot exist as an island; we cannot thrive alone.”

“A relationship is a connection. A genuine connection is not a burden like some people would paint it to be. It is a gift. To love someone is to take them as yourself; it is the experience of oneness in physical form. The minute you do that, your happiness can no longer be divisible from their happiness; to hurt them is to hurt yourself.”

§

“Our modern society has taken a drastic swing in favor of independence as a result of the trauma that we have experienced in relationships over the course of our history. We might like to think that we can physically exist without each other, but we can’t; healthy autonomy cannot arise in a person who has no sense of safety or adequacy, which for a physical human is provided through the person’s learned sense of security of connection.”

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“The loneliest and most deeply hurt people experience so much torment. If we didn’t absolutely need connection and were hurt by people, we would simply go on our merry way and never talk to other people again, but we can’t. Instead, if we’ve been hurt by others, we spend our life in a tortuous tug-of-war between the side of us that needs other people and the side of us that wants to be able to have nothing to do with them.”

“People really do know what they need regardless of whether or not they feel like it’s possible to get it.”

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“There is no better experience that we can have on Earth than to be with a person that we can connect with at every level; it’s the universal source of well-being. As people, there is nothing that we need more than connection, and you can never be too young, too old, too broken, too fixed, or too much of anything else to find connection.”

What do you think is your love language?

Physical touch
Quality time
Words of affirmation
Acts of service
Gifts

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