You may be surprised to know loneliness is not limited the elderly widow with only 6 cats for company. We can be lonely in a crowd or even 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 being alone and being lonely
Loneliness is loosely defined as a lack of friends or family, a response to isolation. Although most definitions cite loneliness as a state of being alone, being alone is not the same as feeling lonely. Some people are better able to cope with being alone than others and are quite happy to be alone for long lengths of time, while others aren’t. In fact, introverts can be overstimulated by too much company.
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 in your life
- Geographical position, relocation or remote area
- The aged population are particularly prone
- 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
Being alone is not a bad thing
8 Ways to overcome loneliness
Don’t let it become a habit, we can get into a rut without even 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.
As we have read, we are all unique and require different levels of activity and interaction. Think of the times when you don’t feel lonely. Why were you not lonely then? What do you need to do to fill the emptiness now?
Establish the cause
Is the loneliness due to a temporary situation (transient) or is it more of a long-term trait (chronic)?
God is always available
Learn to press into His presence and take the opportunity to spend more time reading the Bible. My greatest spiritual growth happened when I was on my own. I am grateful now for those times because it filled my tank for when my time was more scarce.
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 and keep busy. Being in a crowd, 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
The best way to fight loneliness is to focus on somebody else. Reach out to help others.
Start a Gratitude Journal
This helps us to focus on the positives and not be pulled into a lake of self-pity
Join a club
Sports, hobby group or anything else that grabs your interest.
The internet can be either positive or negative. On the one hand, it gives us the opportunity to connect with others, especially those who are physically isolated. On the other hand, seeing happy people posting about their packed lives can contribute to loneliness. Filter what you read and see 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