Loneliness

Justin Bieber’s New Song “Lonely” Is the Anthem We Need

Three things to know if you feel lonely too

Posted Oct 17, 2020

On Thursday, Justin Bieber released a haunting, beautiful song and accompanying music video called “Lonely.” The lyrics describe what it was like for him growing up in the spotlight, but also convey an experience that many of us can relate to without being celebrities. 

What if you had it all but nobody to call?

Maybe then you'd know me

'Cause I've had everything

But no one's listening

And that's just f***ing lonely

In my work, I sometimes meet people who are isolated due to obstacles like mobility limitations, old age, lack of transportation, or language barriers. 

But often people tell me that outwardly they are social—regularly attending events and spending time with others—yet inwardly feel lonely. Like Bieber, we can be surrounded by people but not feel understood or cared for at a deeper level.

There are three messages I want you to know if his song resonates with you.

1. Your experience is valid.

According to a report published earlier this year with insights from over 10,000 Americans, common signs of loneliness include:

  • Not meaningfully connecting with others 
  • Having many acquaintances but no close friends
  • Feeling like no one really gets you
  • Doubting yourself or experiencing low self-worth
  • Tiring from attempts to engage socially

These are real challenges that influence our mental health and ability to thrive. It can be powerful to acknowledge loneliness in your life, let yourself feel it, reflect on what is driving it, and decide what to do about it.

2. You are not alone.

Take it from Bieber: we all feel lonely at times. In fact, loneliness is so common that many experts call it a silent epidemic; studies have estimated that the prevalence ranges from one-fifth to two-thirds of the US population. Although early evidence suggests that loneliness has not worsened during the pandemic, we are still at risk given the circumstances.

kzenon via iStock
There are many ways to stay connected while staying safe.
Source: kzenon via iStock

Loneliness in small doses can be a helpful cue from our brains—similar to hunger, thirst, or fatigue. It lets us know that we’re missing something and need to take action. But prolonged loneliness can do damage to our long-term health. Thankfully… 

3. There’s a lot you can do about it!

Here are some recommendations and resources to start you on your way to more fulfilling relationships and improved social well-being:

With the release of his song, perhaps unwittingly, Bieber has become an ambassador in the cultural movement to reduce widespread loneliness and promote mental health and meaningful human connection. Thank you, Bieber, for making this conversation accessible to more people!