*This post is dedicated to all the lonely souls out there who need some hope, especially at this time of year. If you’re not lonely, I would ask that you please share this post with someone who you know is.
Loneliness. We’ve all felt it at one time or another, haven’t we?
As Whitney Houston once observed, “Loneliness comes with life.”
I think of people who are truly alone, especially at this time of year. I think of people in nursing homes who have no one from the outside come to visit them. I think of the widow we know for whom this is a particularly difficult time of year because of the loss of her husband and sons. I think of many others I know of who endure the pain of loneliness.
The feeling of being alone in our pain is never an easy feeling to deal with, especially when we feel we have no one to empathize with our wearying sense of isolation, to let us know that we will be okay and that we are not really alone.
Many people, when they feel lonely, rather than seeking out others, tend to withdraw into their own little cocoon. But on the inside, that cocoon feels more like a wide open desert, and just as inhospitable.
There are no end to the trails that can lead one to this place. Lost love. Physical pain. Money troubles. Persistent fears. They all rob you of peace and the enjoyment of this moment.
The feeling of loneliness, if unchecked, just continues into a downward spiral until you feel you will never get up. You just want the pain, that feels like an avalanche of sadness heaped on a mountain of heartache, to stop.
Mother Teresa said,
“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.“
You do know there really is hope, don’t you? Many people in this frame of mind find it really difficult to see things any other way. A lot of it comes from low self-esteem. But as Wayne Dyer said,
“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.“
And it’s also true that feeling lonely has much to say to us. Brendan Behan observed,
“At the innermost core of all loneliness is a deep and powerful yearning for union with one’s lost self.“
But what can you do when you feel both lost and lonely?
You do know that you can make some immediate choices and things to think about that will benefit you, right?
10 Ways To Overcome Loneliness and Have A Happy Life
- BE BRAVE. Eugene O’Neill said, “Man’s loneliness is but his fear of life.” If you’re particularly timid, allow your deeper desire for connection to take precedence over your fear of involvement. The more you open up, the more you share of yourself with others, the more comfortable you will feel in trusting others. You will feel less lonely because you will feel better understood.
- CHURCH COMMUNITY. Many people find great comfort and support in church. Being with people of faith can greatly reignite your hope. The power of prayer combined with warm-hearted care often helps you remember that “perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
- COMMUNITY CENTERED. Participate in building relationships with others by volunteering in your community. Join a civic club or a sports team. As long as you actively engage with others, you create the opportunity to stretch yourself and grow. This way, you can talk to others as you help out.
- CONSCIOUS CHOICES. Recognize that you always have choices, so keep your options open. Understand that loneliness is not a life sentence, and you always have the ability to change the focus of your attention. There is plenty you can do, so do everything in your power to be positive.
- FOSTER FRIENDSHIPS. Look up long-lost friends and strengthen your relationships with the friends you have. What people always know just the right word to inspire you? Also, when you engage in listening to others, your attention is on them, not on being lonely. So give yourself and others the gift of friendship.
- GET GROUNDED. Perceptions are skewed when you’re feeling lonely. Troubles appear magnified and can seem much worse when you’re down. Find your balance by shifting your focus away from loneliness and put your time and energy into things that make you feel better about yourself, such as focusing on your strengths and interests. What hobbies do you love?
- JUST JOURNAL. Put pen to paper and write out exactly how you’re feeling and thinking. This is a very healthy habit to put into practice because you identify what is making you feel the way you do. You will notice over time that expressing yourself becomes easier. One benefit is that you also have a record to look back on. For example, you may note that it’s only this time of year that you feel this way. Why is that? Write down your observations allows you to chart your growth as well.
- LOVE LEARNING. Stay connected by finding out the latest events in your community, or what is happening around the world. Being ‘in the know’ helps you to not feel isolated. Reading a book offers you so many ways to teach you new things. When you maintain a high interest level, you become absorbed in those things.
- PET POWER. Having a pet is really a blessing. They lavish love on you, allow you the pleasure of confiding in them and make you feel needed. If you don’t have a pet, you may offer to look after one.
- SCENIC SNAPSHOTS. Grab your camera and go for a walk or to a nature preserve. Allow the beauty of nature to invigorate and refresh your spirit. Take pictures that will inspire you now and in the future. If you don’t have a camera, you can still capture the moment mentally. Notice how crisp and fresh the air is. Observe closely all that makes you feel alive and happy.
Many people equate solitude with loneliness. But you can be alone with your thoughts and not feel lonely, right?
May Sarton clarifies a distinct difference. She says,
“Loneliness is the poverty of self. Solitude is the richness of self.“
Have Your Say…
If you experience loneliness, does this help you to see your situation with fresh eyes?
Are there other ways you know of that help overcome being lonely?
Does this post give you the hope you deserve?
Please let me know your thoughts by commenting here. I welcome your feedback. Thank you kindly!