The topic of loneliness came up last night in my men's group. It didn't matter if the person was single or married, we all experience times of loneliness. In fact, a person can be surrounded by friends and family, and still have feelings of loneliness.
We all have choices to make. We can choose to succumb to loneliness and wallow in self-pity, and its very possible our negative attitude will drive others away, isolating us, and thereby beginning the dangerous downward spiral that can lead to chronic loneliness.
On the other hand, we can recognize that loneliness is a natural and inevitable experience that will defeat some and strengthen others. We can choose to join those who decide to overcome their suffering. Why not become a victor instead of a victim?
Here's some simple ways to overcome loneliness
- Become comfortable with yourself. Not in an egotistical way, but just that you should feel good about yourself. First and foremost, recognize that you are unique. There has never been anyone else like you, and never will be. If you suffer from low self-esteem, get some help from either a book on the subject or possibly a therapist.
- Help someone else. Nothing helps with loneliness more than doing something good for someone else. Take your focus off of your own situation, and concentrate on the needs of another person. Just think of all the lonely people in hospitals and nursing homes and you get the idea.
- Accept responsibility. You have to take action, and don't blame others for your circumstances. You deserve to be happy, so develop a plan to make this happen.
- Make God your Best Friend. I heard the story of an elderly priest who lived in a seminary. Over Christmas break, he stayed there by himself. Once, someone asked him, "don't you get lonely?" His response was, "how could I be lonely when I spend all my time with my Best Friend." It all depends on your perspective.
- Journaling. Need someone to talk to? Talk to yourself through the written word. I love to flip through the pages of my journals and see how far I've come. It's amazing how quickly we forget all that we've overcome. Journaling is also a great way to get connected with God.
- Join a group or become a volunteer. Nothing pulls someone out of loneliness better than to be around others. Maybe it's a hobby group, such as fly fishing, a Bible study or prayer group might be the thing for you. Volunteer to teach or serve in a soup kitchen.
- Exercise. A walk outdoors can do wonders to boost your spirit and increase your energy. Even better, find a partner.
- Smile. No matter how unhappy or lonely you are, the very act of smiling causes the brain to release chemicals to make you feel better.