They could help you too.
Loneliness and being alone are not synonymous.
You can feel lonely in a crowded room – sometimes that kind of loneliness is the worst. And you can be alone and often not feel lonely. No-one is immune to loneliness but you can create your own support system (and that includes having fun!)
Loneliness can crop up when we feel isolated in how we feel, when we feel like we are experiencing something no-one else understands. It can even happen when we just feel unheard or unseen. I’ve lived in a lot of places and either reinvented or recreated my life in each of them.
I once lived on an army base in North Yorkshire. I was SO lonely I actually contemplated sticking a meditation cushion up my jumper and pretending to be pregnant just so I could join some kind of mums and bumps class. I didn’t do it – more because I feared what would happen when the baby was a no-show months later.
Instead I wrote a feature about it for a local magazine. I included a gmail address with the name find-me-a-friend. I was petrified no-one would respond and that I was truly alone in my feeling of loneliness. I wasn’t.
Women replied to me; not millions but enough. I made one friend out of it and met a few people I didn’t gel with. That’s ok. The good friend – we are still in contact today – has been around for eight years.
At times it feels like the more wifi connection we have available the less real connection there is. We’re obsessed with what is going on elsewhere. Come back. HERE. How about being HERE now? You know, chatting with the person in front of you – even if you don’t know them (yet).
When I felt at my rockbottom lonely (it can happen even when you have a multitude of tools and techniques to hand) I was working alone from home. I was giving and giving and giving to my clients and apart from the joy of seeing them progress and the payments pouring into my bank account I was lonely. At the end of the day after speaking to a handful of clients and listening intently to their life stories the last thing I wanted to do was get on the phone to a friend or loved one and talk more. I was exhausted by the depth of listening and energy output. Plus, when someone asked ‘how’s work’ there’s not much to say when you respect your client’s confidentiality!
So, instead I opted for what clients and I often conclude when it comes to finding solutions to loneliness:
- Take back your power.
- It’s ok to feel lonely from time to time but don’t start going steady with it.
- Stop waiting for the phone to ring or an email to appear.
- Stop hoping that someone will knock on the door and whisk you away.
- Stop hoping that you will go out and do something when you feel better.
- Feeling better comes from going out and doing something. Stop social media stalking – get out and do something .
- Connect with yourself through breath and stuff you find fun – and connect with others
- How many face to face friends would you like to have?
- What would you like to do together?
- Write down the names of those you already have
- Who else can they connect you with?
- Who do you know that you might have met (even briefly) that you would like to spend more time with? Find them – send them a note, an email, whatever it takes. Where can you meet likeminded people? What classes are there you can go to?
- Start talking to people – everyone, the check-out assistant, the conductor – be chatty Volunteer and meet new friends with good hearts
When you feel lonely it’s easy to assume everyone else is having a great time. You only SEE the people OUT THERE having a great time (or on the millisecond of the social media feed).
The people at home, feeling isolated or lonely are not so obvious.
This photo was at a wedding – family I haven’t had together again for almost a year.
How would it feel to be the person to reach out? Start being the one who makes the first step. Talk – and listen at every opportunity.
Forget the so called rules of ‘no-one talks on the underground or on the commuter train’. I do. I’ve had some brilliant conversations on both because I’m willing to be open, to be THERE, and to chat. I’ve been THANKED for it. Some of them were only brief chats and I never saw the person again. Others were more meaningful. I once met a young man going for a job interview. He was nervous. I helped him. We swopped numbers and he texted me a day later to tell me he got the job and it was thanks to me! I think it was thanks to him opening up and being available to be HERE.
Last week I felt a pang of ‘hmm, who is there to be with today on a friend level. I’d really love some company.’ My usual suspects weren’t around so I messaged my neighbour and we walked and talked for two hours. We’ll do it again in a couple of weeks. There are people just like you, just as amazing and beautiful and charming and lovely and sincere as you who need other people like you in their life.
Check out what this wise man had to say – he’s 90 and felt A-L-O-N-E. if you think ‘hey, Sophia, this is obvious’, ask yourself how many of these things you are already doing, and do the ones you aren’t.
Be the light for someone else – be as visible as a lighthouse so that they don’t have to endure unnecessary pain to find you. You aren’t rescuing them – you’re just being visible and available, sometimes it’s enough to lift their spirits and yours!
Loneliness: prevention is better than cure.
We need people. We all crave touch and love and connection whether we admit it or not. Don’t get used to loneliness. Become aware of it, notice the feelings that go with it and change it because you can.
Look at it this way – you’re special, so stop denying other people your company. They need you just as much as you need them.
Love you xxx