The Loneliness of Transformation: When Your Values Change, Do Your Friendships Fade?

  Caitlin, a philosophy professor at California State University, said the loneliest moment in her life occurred more than a decade ago, when she returned home from a semester abroad in Italy. While staying in Florence, her Italian improved greatly and she developed a great interest in art. She changed intellectually and emotionally. Back in a working-class town in New Jersey, she had much to share with her friends and family, but she found them intellectually dull, and Caitlin felt intensely alone.
  Psychologists say that the process of readjusting and reintegrating into one’s own family culture after living in a different culture for a period of time can lead to feelings of loneliness. There are many college students who feel lonely as they return home to their friends and family at the end of their first year of college, or as teenagers who return to their loving but repressive parents after their sexual awakening over the summer. One philosopher, Kieran Setiya, in his new book Life Is Hard, describes loneliness as “the pain of social disconnection.” He said that we are “social animals with social needs” and that our basic values ​​need to be loved and recognized, and when we fail to meet them, we experience loneliness and a painful “sense of emptiness.” Building friendships means your own worth is recognized. According to Setiya, once a person feels that he is truly important to someone, his loneliness will lessen.
  Generally speaking, we define loneliness as a feeling that occurs when a person’s personal dignity or worth is not recognized and affirmed. But Caitlin had her doubts. When I came home from studying abroad, she said, I returned to a network of love and friendship, where friends and family recognized and affirmed my worth, put up with my obnoxious ego, and accepted Me, but I still suffer from loneliness. Caitlin said that when a person realizes that his relationships, including loving relationships, lack sufficient quality, when his friends and family do not meet the specific needs he has and recognize and affirm him as a specific individual, the person becomes depressed. Will feel lonely. After a period of transformation in our life, we will have new values, new core needs and desires. During this period, his original values, needs and desires have changed. If friends and family cannot realize that this person has become A “new person”, then the “new person” will be lonely. “My friends and family couldn’t discuss Russian literature or Italian love poetry with me, it wasn’t something they spent time thinking about,” Caitlin said. “I felt unable to satisfy my need for intellectual engagement and to communicate to my friends the fullness of my inner life, which meant that I was unable to communicate with them my aesthetic values ​​that shaped how I viewed the world. As a result, I feel lonely.”

  If friends and family fail to recognize that this person has become a “new person,” the “new person” will be lonely.

  After a semester in Italy, Caitlin had a different, more nuanced perspective on the world; beauty, creativity, and intellectual growth became her core values, and she became a lover of poetry and enjoyed philosophy when she returned home At this time, she no longer felt understood by her family and friends. This situation does not necessarily happen to international students. For example, a nurse may choose this major just to make money, but after she works for a period of time, her core values ​​may have changed. For example, relieving the pain of patients is her most important thing. If she realizes that no one cares about the suffering of others, she will feel dissatisfied and lonely.
  The friends around us are always changing. We may be able to find new friends, or we may be able to bring new intellectual light to old relationships, but we may also face another situation.
  That is, we don’t know how our needs, desires, and values ​​are changing, or we are unable to express ourselves. If we are unable to understand or articulate those inner needs that cause us to be lonely, then adopting a more passive strategy may be our only option, slowly identifying our own unmet needs or desires, noticing that these needs and desires are beginning to be met by others, and you The loneliness began to disappear.
  In short, our values, or our three views, will change as the world changes, which will put forward new requirements for friendship and interpersonal relationships.

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