A meditation on isolation, emptiness, and feeling like a nobody

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  1. My experience with isolation, emptiness, and feeling like a nobody
  2. 3 ways to feel like a somebody
  3. Closing thoughts

My experience with isolation, emptiness, and feeling like a nobody

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When I started thinking about who I am and my place in this world, that’s when I started to feel small, almost non-existent. For me, this happened around high school because that’s when I started worrying about my career, the friends I wanted, and the partner I wanted—the 3 bedrocks of my identity.

I can’t entirely say why I felt so small. There wasn’t a single cause but rather a harmony of multiple factors that together made me feel like a nothing. I made no friends and found no love in high school. I would walk through hallways so self-conscious that someone would see me, notice I wasn’t hanging out with anyone, and then realize what I considered a painful truth: that I was a loner and a loser. I remember that by the end of freshman year, it was so bad that I hid in the library reading books just to avoid facing other people. When I’d go home, I’d get no attention from family either. I just went straight to the computer, jerked off, played video games, and then binge-watched TV shows until I was so tired that I had to fall asleep—because most nights I couldn’t sleep.

I tried to talk to people. I wasn’t good at it, but I tried. Maybe I didn’t try enough, but in the moment, it felt like I really tried. I was scared what people would think, and I didn’t want to get made fun of, so I was probably pretty reserved and shy. No, I was definitely reserved and shy. In my mind though, I tried to interact with the world and with people, and nothing came back to me in response: no friends, no love, no attention, nothing.

After a while, you start to feel like that tree that falls down in a forest: if no one is around to hear it, did it really happen? Do I really exist? Do I matter? Why the fuck am I here?

Things got better when I met my partner. We talked about hopes and dreams and goals. I learnt to have desires and preferences and know what the hell I wanted in my life.

But at night, that old me still lingers. It’s like an old habit. I become that person again. I can’t sleep. I feel empty. I’m searching for something to fill that emptiness, so I turn to porn and TV shows, but nothing works. It’s like I have a triangle hole in my heart, but everything around me is just square pegs. I can’t find that triangle peg, and I don’t even know where to look. And the whole time that I’m searching, I feel this crushing sadness, like I’m drowning in my own anxiety and hurt.

This is my attempt to try to make sense of and finally resolve my own emptiness—and hopefully help others in a similar situation.

3 ways to feel like a somebody

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I’m just going to throw out all the possible answers that come to mind when I think about being a somebody:

  • Actually connect with other people, and make a difference in their lives.
  • Matter to yourself first. Don’t think about other people.
  • Let go of your ego. Stop caring about being a somebody. It’s either impossible or not worthwhile.

Actually connect with other people… This means contributing to your community, to society, and to those you love. Connect with people, and affect them for the better. This is a deeply social commitment: go out into the world, and interact with people. You will have to get over your fear of trying, your fear of putting yourself out there, but it’s the only way. In other words,

To never feel alone, always be with people.

Matter to yourself first… To some degree, the one person you need to connect with first before anyone else is yourself. You’re the one person you’re always going to be around, so it’s important for your sanity that you love yourself and value yourself. Be somebody to yourself. That’s at least one person you can count on. In other words,

Be your own best friend.

Let go of your ego… From a big-picture point of view, the reality is that you are quite small in the vastness of the universe. Believing that you’re somebody is therefore naive and a bit conceited even. Therefore, let go of the need to be somebody. Just enjoy the ride called life—whatever may come. In other words,

Just be. Don’t worry about the “somebody” part.

Closing thoughts

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Writing this all out now, I realize how simple it is to solve the problem of isolation, emptiness, and feeling like a nobody. The solutions are there. The real problem is not the problem itself. The real problem is actually enacting the solutions.

Actually connecting with other people is probably the most important. It’s obvious in a way that’s almost stupid. Don’t want to feel alone and like you don’t matter? Then start putting yourself out there and connecting with other people.

The other 2 responses are more like temporary defenses against the cold winds of loneliness. Self-love gives you a dependable friend you can count on, and letting go of your ego grounds you to not be so hard on yourself.

At the end of the day though, it really just comes down to connecting with other people. Simple but effective.

If you want to read my ideas about connecting with other people, go to danielfitz.com/relationships.


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