Have you ever felt lonely?
Odds are that you have, at some point or other in your life. For some, this is a temporary and transient emotion that comes and goes. For others, feeling lonely can be a more permanent and unwanted visitor, that has far outstayed its welcome.
For instance, recent reports from Help Lines for those in need, show an increased number of calls, in particular during or around public holidays, from both people in relationships as well as those living alone.
Loneliness doesn’t discriminate!
Emotions are powerful players in our lives and depending on what and how they make us feel, are considered either friends or foes. Within our societies, cultures and gender roles, we become conditioned early on about what type of emotional behaviour is or isn’t acceptable. Yet, simultaneously, emotions are extremely personal and influenced by an individual’s inner relationship and sensibilities and personality types, such as introverts and extroverts.
Regardless of your personality type, however, it’s important and handy to know what to do and how to respond when loneliness begins to spread its fingers across our hearts and minds, to taint our lives in sad, dull and uncomfortable colours.
Loneliness has the power to disempower us so deeply in the most profound corners of our lives.
I know this because I used to feel constantly lonely, isolated and totally useless. So, I want to share five keys that helped me to beat loneliness, that can work for you too!
Here are 5 Keys to Beating Loneliness:
Admit How You are Feeling.
This may seem counterproductive at first because it can stir up fear. The fear of being consumed by feeling lonely. The fact of the matter, however, is that until you acknowledge what you feel, you are a slave to it. Many people feel ashamed or guilty to admit that they feel lonely, because of what it may imply. There is a fear that by admitting to something, it makes it true. This is a falsehood!
By admitting what it is you are feeling, you take back your power and can be objective about what’s really going on.
What you won’t own, enslaves you!
Give Your Loneliness A Form.
Strong emotions can often make us feel irrational. So, a great way to begin to ‘contain the situation’ in a safe environment and way, is by giving loneliness a form. For example, when you feel lonely, give it a scale of intensity from 1 -10. This is helpful, as it creates a space of detachment from the feeling, while still admitting it exists.
Each time you give a form to your loneliness helps you to see the intensity of your loneliness in a constructive way.
Remember that your emotions are real in your mind and by giving them a form, as in a number, helps you to take a step back.
The last thing you probably want to do when it comes to loneliness, is to dig deeper right? That’s fear – False Evidence Appearing Real – talking! And boy, it can feel scary feeling lonely. So, to beat this fear, dig deep and explore what is underneath the feeling of loneliness.
Make a list of all the feelings and thoughts that come to mind, no matter what they are. And practice makes progress, so do this often. Which brings me to the next key point.
Don’t Shoot the Messenger.
Loneliness, like all emotions, brings a message with it. Humans, after all, are highly complex individuals. We are also creatures of habit and so it’s important to find out what is underneath our emotions. There is always a belief system that is attached to an emotional reaction. It’s part of our social, cultural and gender upbringing.
Ask yourself, “what is making me feel lonely?” and explore what comes up. This may sound challenging and requires a good dose of being honest with yourself in a gentle yet rigorous way.
The messenger is you, telling you more about yourself. Stop and listen and you will find that the with clarity the loneliness fades into the background.
Change Your Emotional Map.
Did you know that for the brain, all behaviours and emotions are mini programmes running the show? Otherwise called habits. The above keys are an outline on how to change your internal and emotional map. When you do this, your external map will begin to match up.
Allow yourself to stop and ask for directions on the way. You don’t have to beat loneliness on your own. I know from personal experience, that finding the help you need is key to beating loneliness.
Add pit stops of support to your emotional map as you progress and look for new destinations.
I hope you enjoy these 5 keys to beating loneliness. If you would like more tips on how to beat loneliness effectively, my book FEARLESSLY ALONE takes an in-depth look at what makes us feel lonely and really afraid and how to break free and find your happy.