Alone and Loneliness seems to be interchangeable words right? I’m writing today to say not really.
You see you can be alone but not be lonely, but can be lonely and be alone. You can have a large number of friends and social circle but still feel alone. The reason I believe is because loneliness is an emotion and perception, not a matter of who is by your side. There is a difference between feeling alone and physically being alone.
I believe there are several causes for loneliness. When I think of the times I have felt loneliness, it has been the times I have lacked self-esteem and/or did not have the desired companionship; the times I did not feel seen or heard despite having someone around. When you don’t love or believe in yourself or allow your voice to be heard and be “present” in this life, then you lose yourself. How can there be “self-esteem” when there is no self. So if this is your issue, stay tuned in for a blog I’m writing regarding self-affirmations and positive thinking. Let me say this, you will have a hard time connecting with anyone else if you can’t connect with yourself. If you allow yourself to lack confidence, you will find that it leads to isolation and a complete circle of issues.
So how do you connect with yourself? I have found the best way is to spend time with you own self. I know you are going to tell me, who has time for that? The truth is you must make time. Even if you only have 5 minutes before or after the kids go to bed or before or after work, etc. Ask yourself thought provoking questions. I have a bit more time because my kids are raised so I spend at least once a week taking time out for myself. I refer to these as “artist dates” that I learned in the book, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I find things to do that are new experiences and discover more deeply what makes me happy. I ask myself tough questions about what I’m lacking or self-esteem issues I may have and trace them back to their beginnings. In finding the source, you can begin the healing.
Maybe you are the person who does not struggle with self-esteem. First off, congratulations because I have worked with many women in mentoring roles throughout my lifetime and I can tell you that not having self-esteem has been a universal issue. So if you have self-esteem, why are you feeling lonely? Maybe in your case, the loneliness comes from a lack of companionship. You have to use the technique I discussed tracing a feeling back to its source. Try some new hobbies. What are the things you love to do? Find a group that does those things then you will find like-minded people and possibly some great new friends. To make friends, it may require getting out of your comfort zone, if you are a bit on the shy side. I have a great friend that makes friends everywhere she goes. I asked her once how she does it as I wanted to be more like her. She told me, “I don’t like strangers”. I love that and think about it often. If you treat everyone around you as a friend, most of them will become your friend. Then you will find it isn’t the absence of friends that is the problem, it is weeding out the ones who you really want to invest time with.
Then there is the hardest area of loneliness, relationship loneliness. The challenge is to find a partner who you have your deepest friendship with while understanding and appreciating you. A friend that makes you laugh and supports and encourages your dreams. This is the not only the person you love being with but more importantly, it is the person you Hate being without. It’s the person you can’t stop thinking about and would give up things to be with because the things that are given up are not as important as what is gained. This is the person that you are willing to risk a broken heart for because if you are lucky, this person will make your heart beat that much stronger.
So take some time today and think about where you are at on your journey. Do you lack self-esteem? Do you need more time to discover more about yourself? How can you make “artist dates” work in your life? Do you need healing or more friends? Ask yourself the hard questions. I wish you happiness, peace, and contentment. Share with us your ideas on how you combat loneliness.