Loneliness is an experience that means our current relationships don’t meet our needs. You don’t always have to be alone to feel lonely. Loneliness can from up whenever we feel alone, unwanted, or isolated. I was married for years and was very lonely despite him living in the same house. When he would ask me what was wrong and I answered I was lonely he never understood.
Loneliness can come up when:
- We’re around a lot of people but don’t receive the support or connection we’re looking for.
- We’re around a lot of people but feel like we just don’t fit in.
- We lose an important person in our life, like a partner, family member, or close friend.
- We’re alone and want to be with others.
Some kind of social support is important to well-being. There is no wrong or right social network- people feels satisfied with different types of social circles, friends, and relationships. What matters is how you feel. If you feel supported and understood, your relationships are likely in good shape. If you feel lonely, you may be missing pieces in your relationships.
How Can I Cope With Loneliness?
Loneliness can create more loneliness. Loneliness can make you feel like you don’t belong or fit in, which only makes it harder to reach out. This might seem to confirm that you really don’t fit in, which can make you lonelier. Loneliness can be difficult but it’s still a feeling. It can be changed. When you challenge feelings of loneliness or start to make changes in your life, the cycle of loneliness thinking starts to break down.
All my life I knew I was different than most people at times it made me feel very lonely. Once I began to embrace the fact I was different but not unlovable. Things began to change for me.
Ask Yourself Why You Feel lonely
Do you feel lonely because you don’t have other’s around you! Do you isolate yourself from other’s? Do you feel lonely even when your with others? Understanding your situation can help you take action where it matters most. This is not always easy and I usually don’t advice that people talk with a counselor but if you need to do. I prefer talking it out with the Lord my best solutions have come from Him.
Avoid comparing yourself to others
It’s so easy to look at other people and feel left out, but appearances can be deceiving. People want others to see their best side, but don’t be fooled by the message others show the outside world. Remember you can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. Even on social media it’s only a controlled snapshot of what people want you to believe. Feeling like you aren’t as good as others is just that- a feeling, not the truth.
Give yourself some time, especially during big changes
It’s common to feel lonely during transitions like starting a new school, a new job, moving to a new city. Whatever your going through take sometime to settle and find your place. Loneliness may only be stop along the way.
Think about the connections you want in relationships. Are you looking for a small group of friends you can be yourself around or the support and understanding look around for groups or organizations. Use your interests and skills to your advantage join in things to meet people who already share in your interests. I volunteer at a few places during my week, so I am able to meet people who have different opinions and likes as I do.
Build confidence slowly. Give yourself manageable challenges.If you feel isolated, simply learning to feel comfortable in public places like a busy coffee shop, your by yourself but there are others around you.
Be patient and active. It takes time to build relationships. It can be a bit scary at first, try to initiate conversations or suggest opportunities to spend time with others. I am a member of a group that helps people in my community that are not able to go to the grocery store or able to fix things around their homes. My group had the opportunity to help a man find a stove so that he could cook his meals. I was very humbled when we took him this stove and he was crying and said “no one had ever done anything like this for him.”
Accept that you won’t be everyone’s friend and that’s okay.
This is not a reflection of your value or worth, it just means that you haven’t met the right group or individuals yet.
Aim for healthy relationships
If you find that you are one who isn’t heard in your relationships, building assertiveness skills can help you articulate your needs respectfully. Your partner is a equal and their needs matter also. If you make it all about you and your needs your relationship will suffer.