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.
- 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.
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:
- Bieber partnered with Active Minds to share more information and provide a support hotline.
- This article walks you through understanding the role of connection in your life and suggests journaling prompts.
- This article recommends five ways to stay socially connected while physically apart during the pandemic.
- Here is a curated list of 120+ digital tools that can help you meet new people or deepen existing relationships.
- The AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect platform offers a variety of resources for older adults who are isolated.
- Research suggests that volunteering is a powerful way to connect, so consider searching for opportunities through VolunteerMatch or reaching out to local organizations to ask how you can get involved.
- Here is a list of books about human connection, loneliness, and community.
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!