Talent, financial success, fame and adoration offer no protection from the subjective experience of loneliness. There is nothing inherently problematic about solitude itself. Loneliness isn’t about being alone, it’s about not feeling connected. There is nothing trivial, comical or poignantly romantic about loneliness.
Read ten steps to help overcome loneliness:
- Realize that loneliness is a negative feeling, a mind-set that can be changed.
- Reach out because loneliness is painful and can confuse you into thinking that you are a loser, an outcast.
- Make a plan to fight the mental and emotional habits of loneliness. If you realize you are dealing with a negative emotional habit, you can change how you deal with loneliness. Healthy interaction with friends is positive, so make an effort to reach out to others, to initiate conversation even when your loneliness appears overwhelming.
- Focus on the needs and feelings of others and less on your lonely thoughts and feelings.
- Find others like you. There are more tools than ever before to find out where the knitters, writers or artists are congregating, so that you can join with those who share your interests. A common bond is a great stepping stone towards friendship.
- Always show up when meeting up with others, even though self-doubts will creep in.
- Kindness goes a long way. Underneath the impressive facades of apparently confident, ‘popular’ people are the same set of emotions we all are born with. Celebrities suffer from stage fright and depression too.
- Be determined – don’t talk yourself into remaining home alone!
- If a particular group does not appear welcoming, try another. It is recommended that everyone try six different groups to find one that suits you. If you are persistent, challenging the assumptions and feelings that tell you to give up and resign yourself to a life of loneliness, or showing up and being curious and kind to others, the odds are in your favour.
- Once you have a friend or two, nourish those friendships with time and attention to ensure those connections will flourish.
For the full article on loneliness, including an interview with Dame Esther Rantzen, go to pages 12-13 of the autumn issue of NWR Magazine.
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