Feeling Lonely and How to Deal…
If you have ever felt lonely, out of place or misdirected … like the walls are closing in on you … you are not alone. Or maybe you’re experiencing conflicting inner emotions of how and what you “should” feel … again, you are not alone.
Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans suffers from persistent loneliness. Ironically, while this digital age helps us stay more connected than ever before, social media may actually be exacerbating the problem.
A new wave of research concludes that long periods of loneliness can significantly raise the risk of a number of physical and psychological health problems, including heart disease and depression.
Here’s the truth and my confession. With my bouts of OCD anxiety spiking, waxing & waning and on top of that with dealing with my abandonment issues through the trauma of losing my mom at such a young age and my blood family living overseas (and all not necessarily fitting the “family” bill) … I have been battling this feeling for a long time. It’s not always present, but it comes and goes, holidays can be difficult, and obviously social media can magnify it. Certainly causing some moments of difficulty.
I’m not alone in this feeling. And you aren’t either. I promise. It’s even probable that MORE than 20% of Americans from the research feel this way to some degree or another. Or it taking different forms and cycling within different seasons.
From identity issues, comparison games, keeping up with the joneses syndrome … to being in an abusive relationship (whether emotional of physical), anxiety/depression issues, trauma, lack of self-love … and shall I even say spiritual voids … these are all situations that can cause a great deal of pain, which can result in feelings of loneliness.
But it doesn’t have to be permanent. I’m not talking about the once in a while feelings of loneliness … I’m referring to the DEEP, long-term feelings that can cause some serious self-esteem and isolation issues. We are human and we are built for CONNECTION, so it’s crucial for our souls to either reconnect or finally feel connection with others.
Here’s some ways to help you get break the loneliness walls around you so you can START working towards healing the real issue and replacing any voids with joy.
- Accept your feeling and allow for it.
Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. The only way for true, long-term change is to allow yourself to feel the feeling. If you are courageous and open up about your lonely feelings to someone close they’ll often times respond with “you shouldn’t feel that way because XYZ.” We have heard that type of response, and I’m sure we’ve also given it. It’s all with a good heart, because when people hear you are in pain – especially those who love us – they want to help and remind us of the good. However, there’s something else usually going on DEEPER and you have every right to feel the way you feel – even if you don’t want to feel that way. By accepting it as your current situation and allowing yourself to feel it can better prepare you to be WILLING to take the appropriate steps to allow change and healing.
- Realize that loneliness is a feeling, not a fact.
Feeling lonely and being alone are two different things. Usually when you are feeling lonely, it is because something has triggered a certain memory that causes that feeling, not because you are isolated or alone. Our brains are powerful, and one defensive mechanism is for the the brain to pay attention to pain and danger, which includes painful scary feelings, and lonlineless is one of them. So even if we don’t believe it at the moment, remind yourself it’s a feeling, not fact.
- Determine the true reason behind that feeling.
Now that you’ve allowed yourself to feel it and then realized it’s not a fact but just a feeling … it’s important to determine the cause. Is it a memory from the past during a holiday season, are you comparing yourself to others, are you avoiding something, are you needing to work on your boundaries? The list can go on, but it’s important to start taking some time out and going inward. Be patient, because your answer won’t always just jump out in front of you. You can identify the reason within days … and sometimes depending on the wound can take months.
- Reach out to someone.
Loneliness can not only be painful, but can also confuse you into thinking that you are a loser, or even an outcast. The more you isolate yourself, the more you will react with withdrawal and go into a “black hole.” That’s definitely not helpful. At its best, anticipation of loneliness (being proactive) might motivate us to reach out and cultivate friendships, which is the healthiest thing to do if you are sad and alone.
- Pay attention to your self deflating thoughts.
The way we talk to ourselves has MORE power than we really realize. Habitual negative assumptions (lies) about our lives, social status and self worth can be detrimental to our spirit. Because you are looking for “evidence” that you and the world sucks. That will definitely be a cause to stay in the black hole. So be alert on how you speak to yourself because thoughts become your “reality.”
- Make a plan!
If you realize you are dealing with an emotional habit, you can make a plan to deal with loneliness. Create little stepping stones to get you out of that black hole. Since healthy interaction with trusting and positive friends/family is good, make some effort and INITIATE conversation and connection – even when you don’t “feel” like it. Journal. Start exercising. Meditate. Read a book to help you with the real reason you’re feeling what you’re feeling. Yes, it is work, but it is SO worth it. Just like working out is worthwhile even when you are feeling tired or lazy.
And if you are dealing with clinical anxiety or depression it’s super important to get assistance from a therapist. I have been for OCD and I wouldn’t have been so successful in managing it without it. Therapy is SO NOT taboo. You’re actually more brave for doing it than the person who doesn’t. Because you’re willing to FACE your fears and problems and GROW. That takes COURAGE!
In fact, I think every single p
erson in this world should go to therapy for one reason or another. The world would be a better place! 🙏💕
I wanted to share my heart with you … because sometimes our journeys while growing – whether that’s working on our fitness, working on our hearts/souls, going back to school, working on our marriages, starting our own business – can feel like a lonely one. Especially as you uncover YOUR deep layers in the process.
Would love to hear your perspective on this!