How to Deal with Loneliness

We all feel loneliness. We long for appreciation, belonging and love. Biologically we seek companionship, as social beings we are not meant to live in isolation. When you find yourself feeling lonely and more often than some, it hurts. You don’t have to be alone to feel lonely. Even when you are surrounded by a large group of people you can still feel alone and isolated due to a lack of connectivity. Sometimes loneliness is a cry to ourselves - we are more in need of ourselves than anything else. It's important that we learn to enjoy our own company and become comfortable with being on our own, rather than depending on someone else to make us feel wanted or to give us a sense of fulfilment or satisfaction.

A lack of close relationships can make you feel lonely. When you have a strong support system in your life, you have people you can trust and rely on. Not having this bond can make you feel empty. You may feel like you are miss out on creating valuable memories and having a special connection to someone. You may talk yourself into believing that no one is there for you and you do not matter to anyone.

Instead of allowing loneliness to bring you down, make the choice to stop it from damaging your mental health. Do not deny the feeling, learn to accept it and remind yourself it will pass like most negative emotions do. I do not "belong" to a particular group but I still have some friends and a family who love and care for me. These are two things I am really grateful for because some people wish they could have that. In every 'bad' situation you can always find the seed of good. I do not get invited to many outings but at least I have more time to invest into myself. This means I can read more, educate myself more, try out new things and have more time for the things I like doing.

You were born alone and you are going to die alone. Why do you dislike solitude, are you not enough? Learning to enjoy your own company is important, how do you expect people to enjoy your company if you can't even enjoy your own? Lisa Nichols, a transformational coach and motivational speaker mentioned in an interview that how you treat yourself is how the world will treat with you. Before you complain about not having many friends, it's worth reflecting on whether you're a good friend to yourself. How do you treat yourself when you make a mistake? Would you say some of the things you say to yourself to someone else? Do you speak to yourself kindly? Do you respect yourself?

Frequent loneliness can lead to depression and it can also increase the risk of health complications later on in life such as heart diseases, viral infections, cancer and earlier death. It is important that you tackle loneliness rather than letting the negative effects perpetuate. Here are 6 ways you can deal with loneliness:

Identify the causes

You Are Enough Text

Ask yourself where is the loneliness stemming from? Is it a recent break up? Have you lost a friend? Do you feel like you don't have many close friends to do things with? Sometimes people are unable to identify the root causes of loneliness and it can sometimes be a result of childhood. My counsellor once said that if you live with a parent who experiences frequent loneliness, you are more likely to feel it too. If as a child you felt neglected by your parent, the initial loss of connectivity could have started from here. Once you have found the cause, ask yourself how this is affecting you and what can be done to reduce these feelings.

If you have been single for a long time you may feel lonely because you are not in a romantic relationship. When everyone around you is coupled up and lovey-dovey you may question, when is it going to be your time to find Mr or Mrs Right? The answer is simple, patience. Don't rush into meaningless relationships because you feel lonely, in fact this will only make the situation worse for you. Don't fall into the trap of giving someone else the responsibility of making you feel better about yourself. Whether you want to be loved and feel valued, this should start with you. 

Remind yourself, you are not alone 

How ironic right? But seriously you’re not alone (or as alone as you think). You may have formed a habit of always telling yourself you are the only one who feels likes this but there are so many people who feel just like you. If you are feeling lonely and you spend shit loads of time scrolling on social media seeing everyone having a good time with their buddies, do yourself a favour, put the phone down. We tend to make ourselves hurt more even though we're already hurting, strange...

Maintain and enhance relationships 

Silhouette of Four People Against Sun Background

Not everyone needs to know you like 'that' as in, you do not need to disclose your life story to every single person you meet but understand this. In order to form close relationships you need to allow yourself to be vulnerable (to an extent). Start showing the person you trust them, maybe by asking advice on something small. If you see them as a potential good friend you can tell them more personal things. Being open about certain aspects of your life allows another person to relate to you. We are humans after all, we tend to go through similar experiences and emotions.

When you feel loneliness so deeply that you do not actually want to speak to people because you are genuinely not in the mood, you make it difficult to change how you feel. When you get invited to things GO! If you want your situation to change, you need to do something about it.

Learn to enjoy your alone time

Selective Focus Photography of Paintbrush Near Paint Pallet

Name at least one thing you like doing when you are alone. More time for yourself means that you have more time to invest into yourself. There are many hobbies you can try out, you may start reading, writing, painting, cooking, skating and more. Why not gain a new skill or try out a free online course?

Volunteer/Join a group

Four Toddler Forms Circle Photo

By doing acts of service or anything positive it can make you feel great.  There are loads of volunteering programs you can find online, you can do something valuable with your time and meet people too.

There are social events on Eventbrite that are worth looking at, you can find events according to your own interests and it is a great way to enjoy yourself.  You don't need someone to attend events with. I went to a black women's conference yesterday by myself and I met so many lovely people and many attended alone!

Today I went to a new church and the pastor briefly spoke about loneliness and feeling alone. It was really nice to hear him say "you no longer have to feel alone because you are here now. We are your family" and I genuinely believed him. They have sub groups within the church and they often have events where you get together and do an activity, this is a great way to meet people with similar values.

Seeking professional help

Silver Newton's Balance Ball

Counselling can help you dig deeper into the root causes of loneliness, especially if you feel it persistently. Processes can be used to find ways that will help you manage these feelings and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by them. If it is affecting your quality of life, please seek help. You want to live the best life you can have, such emotions will hold you back from doing so.

It's difficult when you struggle with a sense of belonging, you just need to trust and believe you will find your 'people' and meaningful relationships will manifest into your life. We may feel as if our own friends share a bond/closeness we are not a part of but this doesn't mean we can't find this bond elsewhere. Opening up to someone you trust about how you feel reduces loneliness, not everyone will understand but I promise you someone out there does.  There are many ways you can create a connection with people if you are willing to. You don't need someone to do things with, you can still do many activities alone. It's also important that you learn to enjoy your own company, relying on people to give you satisfaction or fulfilment will never be enough to fill that 'hole' inside of you. The first relationship you must work on before any other relationship is the one with yourself.

I Didn't Know My Own Strength

absence of hope 
no belief that I
could make it through,
I didn’t know my
own strength
or who I could hold
I now know I am capable
of breaking the barriers down,
conquering the impossible
even in the darkest hour,
never letting pain
get in the way of
my faith,
I pick myself up
knowing I am not meant to