"You are not alone."
Solving loneliness - 7 things you can do about loneliness
How can you solve your loneliness? As always: by taking small steps in the right direction. These 7 tips can help you reduce your loneliness.
"If you go deeper and deeper into your own heart ,
you'll be living in a world with less
fear, isolation and loneliness."
1. You are not alone
Loneliness is a necessary but unpleasant emotion. It makes us feel disconnected from everyone else, that we are not good enough and that we are lacking something.
That feeling of loneliness can drive us to take action, to resolve that loneliness and connect more. But unfortunately, that is not always as easy as it sounds, making you feel especially rotten and miserable.
Loneliness can give you the idea that you are different from everyone else. That you are unique in your lonely feelings.
But it's not like that, of course. Loneliness is very common. Everyone is lonely from time to time. That's okay. It feels crappy, so you probably want to get rid of those feelings. I don't blame you.
Let's see what you can do about it.
2. Your feelings of loneliness are not facts
No. Loneliness is subjective. It is an emotion. A feeling that comes and goes. You can feel lonely while having a busy social life. And you can feel perfectly happy while being alone.
There are roughly two reasons why you experience loneliness:
You experience emotional loneliness. You have plenty of social contacts, but you still feel lonely.
You experience social isolation. You feel lonely because you simply don't have enough social contact in a day.
If you experience emotional loneliness you can make the situation better by increasing your self-love. If you are experiencing social isolation, you can take steps to spend more time with others.
Let's take a closer look.
3. Don't dwell on your feelings of loneliness
No. As mentioned, loneliness is a feeling. Not a fact. You are not lonely - you experience feelings of loneliness. This is a subtle but important difference.
Feelings can change quickly - who and what you are does not.
For starters, it can work well to distract yourself from the feeling of loneliness. Because the longer you dwell on it, the bigger it gets. Don't give it all your attention, but look ahead.
There is always something you can do to make the situation better. Millions of people have been able to resolve their feelings of loneliness. And you are going to do the same. It will take some time and effort - but that's okay. You can do that.
Come on - you've been in front of hotter fires, right?
4. Develop self-love
Yes - self-love is a solution to emotional loneliness. In fact, it is a solution to almost all things you struggle with. Self-love is so fundamental among your mental health that it really deserves more of your attention.
After all, how is it possible to feel lonely while surrounded by people? Well - that's possible when you don't feel good enough. When you see yourself as a loser, as worthless.
Again: these are not facts. They are beliefs you carry with you. Beliefs that are in dire need of an update.
So let's update them. You are good just the way you are. You are not perfect; neither am I. And that's okay. You have traits you're happy with. You have traits that make you cry a little bit. And that's how it is - for all of us.
You deserve love - even if you sometimes make mistakes. Even if you only make mistakes. You deserve love because you are part of our society, part of the human family. Of the whole web of life that arose from a few first cells, somewhere 3.8 billion years ago.
You are unique, and at the same time so much the same as me. We are not so different inside. We all need love. And love begins with self-love. At healing your own wounds and updating your beliefs about yourself.
5. Make it a project
Self-love is one thing, and it will take you a while to build it up further. Fine.
While you're working on that, it's good to ask yourself this question, "What small, positive step can I take today to reduce my feelings of loneliness?"
And note - eating chocolate by yourself does not fall under positive step.
What can you do to feel a little less lonely?
Perhaps you can invite someone over for coffee?
Perhaps you can strike up a conversation with someone.
Can you call someone?
Maybe you can make an appointment with someone.
There is one thing that scares us to death, but can solve our loneliness in one fell swoop. And that is making yourself vulnerable:
"Hey [friend, colleague or family member], I've been feeling a little lonely lately. Could I have dinner with you this week? Maybe we could cook together or something."
What would you answer if someone close to you asked you this? My guess is: yes of course, you are always welcome.
You may not dare to ask because you feel proud, or because you feel ashamed. But everyone knows what loneliness feels like. We know it. So there's nothing to be ashamed of. Ask for help - make yourself vulnerable.
If you find it difficult to do this on your own, enlist the help of someone. A person or an organization that can help you move forward.
Take those small steps that make the situation better - or at least less bad. It will give you confidence, relief and strength to move forward step by step even further.
6. Get better at sharing and giving
Shift your attention to other people's needs. How can you commit to helping others a little? By helping others, you kill a few birds with one stone:
You can work on your loneliness because you are spending time with others in a positive way.
You can help your loved ones, possibly making them a little happier. And that makes you feel good.
Helping makes you feel useful and valuable, which is good for your self-confidence.
Because you can make others happier, you experience great satisfaction.
Others like dealing with you because you are kind to them.
You can help in various ways. You can offer your help with practical matters, such as shopping, gardening, cleaning up or babysitting. But you can do more.
How about listening with full attention. Or being attentive at times when it counts. For example, sending a message after a friend's first day of work, or being there for that friend who is in burnout and would love to just have someone around her but is afraid to ask.
But you can also sign up for volunteer work that you enjoy. There are a lot of ways you can share and give. And it's a highway toward joy, fulfillment, self-confidence and less loneliness.
7. Don't expect perfection
No. If you suffer from loneliness, you can make rapid progress with small steps and some help. But not all that progress is permanent. Sometimes you take two steps forward and fall back one step.
That's how it is with this kind of thing. And that's not a bad thing. It doesn't have to be perfect. Loneliness will return from time to time. And you may notice that it becomes less and less intense. And you'll realize after a few months that you haven't felt lonely for a week.
That's progress. But it doesn't come all at once. You have to keep working at it. And that's not a bad thing - because this work helps you grow inside at the same time.
Working on your feelings of loneliness means taking good care of yourself. You are worthy of feeling happy and connected to the world around you. Your first step today was reading this article. What will be your next small step?
Looking for more advice on solving loneliness?
Good idea. If you understand your loneliness better you can solve it better. The tips above can get you a long way.
Need more help?
Book a therapist at the BYOU app or share your feelings with the world at The Gram.