You may be surprised to know that loneliness is not limited to the elderly widow with only 6 cats for company. We can be lonely in a crowd or in a marriage, and it seems to be a growing problem among the younger generation too. Chances are, most of us will experience loneliness in varying degrees at some point in our lives.
The difference between solitude and loneliness
Causes of loneliness
- Isolation-self imposed or an unavoidable circumstance
- The absence of meaningful people in our lives
- Rejection, especially from those we care about
- Spiritual dryness
- Divorce or breakup
- Death/loss of somebody significant
- Geographical position, relocation, or living in a remote area
- Empty nest syndrome
Consequences of loneliness
- Risk of suicide
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Spiritual dryness (may be both a cause and/or consequence)
- Anger: because you blame somebody else for the position you find yourself in. You feel disconnected and misunderstood.
- Become needy and dependant
- Rebound relationships (which can make the problem worse)
- Self-destructive behavior
- Loss of hope
Benefits of being alone
8 Ways to overcome loneliness
Isolation can become a habit that easily slips into a rut without us realizing it. Be intentional in seeking solutions to your loneliness where possible. I understand it is not always possible, but here are some suggestions that may help.
- Get to know yourself and what your needs are.
We are all unique and require different levels of activity and interaction. Think of the times when you feel lonely and when you don’t. Write about the circumstances and consider some thought of why that is. Do you feel fulfilled when around people? Or do you lack deep, intimate connection?
- Establish the cause
What do you think is causing your feelings of loneliness? Is it due to a temporary situation (transient) or is it more of a long-term trait (personality)? Do you think you can do anything to change your situation in any way?
- God is always available
No matter how isolated we are, God is always available for us to press into His presence. If you find yourself alone, take the opportunity to spend more time reading the Bible. My greatest spiritual growth happened when I was a single lady. Today I am grateful for those times because they filled my tank in preparation for when I had less time available.
- Be intentional in seeking out friends
Grow new friendships or rekindle old ones. Call a friend and make the effort to stay connected to people. Don’t count on other people to know what you need, let people know you are feeling isolated. It is no weakness to admit that you are struggling. Ensure that you connect emotionally and don’t just organize activities in order to be around people. Being in a crowd and feeling disconnected can make the problem worse. Seek positive, like-minded people and avoid the ones who drain you.
- Get involved in a worthy cause
There is no better way to fight loneliness than to focus on somebody else’s needs. Look for a worthy cause where you can help out.
- Start a Gratitude Journal
Or even a normal journal. Writing helps us to express the thoughts and feelings we can’t with another person. Gratitude helps us to focus on the positives and prevents us from being pulled into a lake of focussing on the negatives.
- Join a club or find a hobby
Being part of a sports, hobby group, or anything else, is a positive way of connecting with people and taking us out of isolation. Read this post on Leisure and Hobbies to find the benefits of finding a hobby or activity of interest.
- Stay off social media
When we are lonely, we tend to spend more time on social media which is not helpful. We see happy people posting about their packed lives and this can contribute to loneliness. Filter what you see and read, and avoid what makes you feel worse.
How I overcame loneliness as a single mom
When God comforts us
If you need prayer, somebody to chat to or advice, you are welcome to:
- Email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send me a private message on Facebook
- Post your request in the comments section below