Loneliness can be experienced in many different ways and does not require isolation. In fact struggling with a sense of belonging can be fleeting in many instances. Loneliness can also look like reclusiveness, anger, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Many of these are rooted in loneliness.
It is important to consider your own individual experience with loneliness as you work through your own challenges. Here are some things to consider about loneliness.
The Will to Struggle
Struggling is a part of the human experience and can help foster the ability to feel empathy. Dealing with others can feel daunting while fearing others can be debilitating, leading to the misuse of electronics or prescription drugs and furthering feelings of loneliness. The need for connection is primitive in nature. An even somewhat awkward or uncomfortable conversation about an authentic experience has the potential to cultivate necessary connection.
Cultivating connection amidst loneliness can feel daunting but there are many different group settings that are inviting and inclusive. Group fitness, like yoga is a great way to connect with others and if group fitness doesn’t seem like a good fit, perhaps a church group or an art class can help foster connections with like minded individuals.
There is the potential for loneliness to be debilitating. Sinking into feelings of loneliness can lead to feelings of overwhelm and in this space there is potential to sink into a depressed state. Remember that you need people, and that you do not have to go it alone. Our society often promotes independence and while there is strength in standing on your own two feet, human connection is a part of basic human need.
Experience the Quiet
Unhealthily coping with loneliness can sometimes look like overworking, over indulging in online activities, or over consuming online content. All of the aforementioned are acceptable in moderation but when these activities become a distraction from what is actually happening, it may be time to reevaluate.
The quiet, especially in a very busy society can feel strange but the quiet can also serve as a purveyor of healing, Quiet time, or alone time offers space for observation of self. This time can be used for self-study, and growth. Reflection is a powerful tool and can support the excavation necessary for healing what is at the core of loneliness.
You Are Not Alone
Close personal relationships and supportive friends are medicine, and can be cultivated, so can a sense of belonging in community. These sort of relationships and communities are essential for everyone’s well-being.
Even five minutes intentionally spent with others can be monumental, and it is vital to make those moments with potential for authentic connection count.
Everyone experiences loneliness from time to time. If you are struggling, seek the support of a friend or a therapist.