In this season of candy hearts and dozens of roses, the feeling of being alone can be magnified when set against the backdrop of coupledom. The empty ache of loneliness can take root within you and make simple daily tasks draining and unfulfilling. In fact, psychologists say that the pain of loneliness can be as real as the pain of thirst or hunger. If you are experiencing loneliness, have courage. With a little effort you can overcome your feelings of isolation.
Cynthia Shrewsberry, Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Lake Charles, encourages people to remember they are not alone in their feelings of loneliness. "It may seem like you are the only person feeling this way. You may feel different and begin to isolate yourself from the world, but this only reinforces the problem. No matter how badly you feel, and as hard as it may be, try to talk to someone about how you are feeling. Try to connect with others. You will find that loneliness is a universal emotion that does not last forever.” Shrewsberry also reminds readers that loneliness and depression go hand-in-hand, and urges people to call on a professional if they are struggling to function with their daily activities or begin to feel suicidal.
Psychotherapist, professional trainer, and author of "The Human Magnet Syndrome” Ross A. Rosenberg says loneliness is a problem caused by thoughts and feelings of inadequacy, imperfection, and shame. To overcome these thoughts and feelings, he suggests you identify your inner critic’s attempts to sabotage yourself. "Pay attention to self-degrading thoughts and replace negative self-talk with affirming messages like ‘I am perfectly lovable just the way I am.’” Reminding yourself you deserve to be treated well goes a long way with your self-esteem.
Another healthy way to overcome the weighty feeling of loneliness is to find a supportive network of trusted friends or family you can interact with positively when you begin to feel isolated.
It may also be helpful to focus on the needs of others around you. When you feel alone, your thoughts begin to center on yourself and your current state, which is a slippery slope and a very small piece of the large world surrounding you. Focusing on the needs of others will bring you a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and take your mind away from the feeling of loneliness you are combating and broaden your horizons. You might even meet new people in the process. Check out local organizations that need volunteers such as churches, food pantries, and shelters.
Finally, don’t give up. Putting yourself out there to new people or opening yourself up to old friends requires courage. Some people may not understand you, and that is okay. There will be someone out there who does. Keep trying because all of the effort will be worth it. There are plenty of people out there worth getting to know!