Ten steps to end loneliness
Talent, financial success, fame and adoration offer no protection from the subjective experience of loneliness. There is nothing inherently problematic about solitude itself. Loneliness isn’t about being alone, it’s about not feeling connected. There is nothing trivial, comical or poignantly romantic about loneliness.
Read ten steps to help overcome loneliness:
- Realize that loneliness is a negative feeling, a mind-set that can be changed.
- Reach out because loneliness is painful and can confuse you into thinking that you are a loser, an outcast.
- Make a plan to fight the mental and emotional habits of loneliness. If you realize you are dealing with a negative emotional habit, you can change how you deal with loneliness. Healthy interaction with friends is positive, so make an effort to reach out to others, to initiate conversation even when your loneliness appears overwhelming.
- Focus on the needs and feelings of others and less on your lonely thoughts and feelings.
- Find others like you. There are more tools than ever before to find out where the knitters, writers or artists are congregating, so that you can join with those who share your interests. A common bond is a great stepping stone towards friendship.
- Always show up when meeting up with others, even though self-doubts will creep in.
- Kindness goes a long way. Underneath the impressive facades of apparently confident, ‘popular’ people are the same set of emotions we all are born with. Celebrities suffer from stage fright and depression too.
- Be determined – don’t talk yourself into remaining home alone!
- If a particular group does not appear welcoming, try another. It is recommended that everyone try six different groups to find one that suits you. If you are persistent, challenging the assumptions and feelings that tell you to give up and resign yourself to a life of loneliness, or showing up and being curious and kind to others, the odds are in your favour.
- Once you have a friend or two, nourish those friendships with time and attention to ensure those connections will flourish.
For the full article on loneliness, including an interview with Dame Esther Rantzen, go to pages 12-13 of the autumn issue of NWR Magazine.
Start a conversation by leaving your comments below.
There's nothing worse than admitting to loneliness, actually coming clean that you are 'Billy no mates'. When you meet people for the first time, take a leaf out of the Royal family's book, ask about them and try to steer the conversation away from you. A good conversation should be like a game of tennis, going back and forth.
If people ask awkward questions that you don't feel ready to share, deflect them with comments like, 'Oh, I'm boring, you don't want to know about me' and steer the conversation in a different direction.
Getting stuck with a bore at a social event is one of life's trials. Make an excuse to slip away, 'If you'll excuse me I must go and find the bathroom'. If I find myself with no one to talk to I gravitate to the kitchen and offer to help. Help with the washing up is always needed.
I've a friend that has bereaved twice losing both husbands to cancer. Even though she has an extensive warm and loving family the grief certainly knocked the stuffing out of her. Three years on she was finding that she had no reason to get out of bed and would often spend the day not bothering to get up.
A dog owning friend suggested she get a little canine companion so she made enquiries about getting a Cockapoo. To cut a long story short she acquired 'Evie' a gorgeous little ball of apricot coloured fluff. There have been trials and tribulations as you would expect with any new baby but it's certainly changed her life around. She says that lots of people talk to her, a dog is a wonderful ice breaker