Loneliness is a feeling that most everyone can relate to - some more than others.
Whether you're dealing with depression, anxiety, or just the inability to find someone who understands you, it can feel like no one else knows what you're going through.
But it's not true!
There are millions of people out there who know exactly how you feel and want to help.
- Are you feeling alone?
- There are many people who feel the same.
If you want practical steps for overcoming loneliness, this is the place to start.
Not every feels alone and deserted but that doesn't mean you shouldn't work on yourself.
We asked Petri at DreamMaker for some tips on how to overcome loneliness in a few simple steps.
From feeling alone to having it all
Here are eight ways to get it done (and get the guy or the girl)
Feeling alone is not unusual.
Most people will feel alone at some time in their lives, for various reasons.
- It may be a symptom of modern society.
- It may also be down to personal circumstances or choices.
- Sometimes the thought patterns and behaviours leading to loneliness have become habitual.
When this happens, it can be hard to locate the root cause.
- Feeling lonely can be self-perpetuating.
- When a person feels lonely, they can become despondent.
In turn, despondency results in loss of motivation and depression. This is a slippery slope and can soon become a very familiar state.
- Overcoming loneliness may not feel like an easy task.
- Yet with a little awareness and effort, it is certainly possible.
In this guide, I am going to take a look at some of the common reasons for loneliness, and how you can unravel the causes.
I will also go into detail about the methods you can use for overcoming your loneliness. Lastly, I will discuss how to use the law of attraction to bring yourself out of this uncomfortable state.
There is some good news: ultimately, loneliness is an illusion. The feeling may not be, but the reality is. So overcoming loneliness may not be as difficult a task as it first seems.
Why loneliness is an illusion
The truth is that to feel lonely is usually to feel sorry for oneself. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with feeling any particular emotion. However, feeling sorry for oneself is a low energy state. When you feel down, it’s the same as having no trust in life. This also means you’re failing to use the law of attraction to your best advantage.
Try to keep these points in mind:
- Loneliness is an illusive feeling of lack
- Your thoughts and feelings are creative
- There is no such thing as separation
- Overcoming loneliness is a choice
- You can transcend any emotional state
Loneliness is basically a feeling of lack – and that itself is an illusion.
It is a creative illusion, as all feelings correspond to the law of attraction. If you are telling yourself you’re lonely, the feedback loop will give you more reasons to feel lonely.
Here’s another angle on it.
Any spiritual ‘guru’ will tell you that at the level of the absolute, all is interconnected.
There is no true separation, simply feeling alone
It is easy to forget this, as the ego is concerned with individuality and uniqueness. This appears very real on a material level, but the reality is that everything is connected.
If you feel lonely, your job is to recognize this and attract fulfilling connections into your personal reality.
If you’re not actively working at overcoming your loneliness, you are saying that loneliness is the state you wish to stay in. All states can be transcended with awareness and effort.
In other words: you do not have to accept this state as inevitable.
If you want to learn how to change an emotional state, it certainly helps to analyze the origins of your emotions:
Common reasons for feeling alone
There are many reasons for feeling lonely.
Modern life has given us more reasons than ever, in fact. Thus we need to make a concerted effort to make the necessary changes.
Here are some of the most common causes of loneliness:
- Too much use of technology
- Loss of a close relationship
- Natural introversion
- Genetic predisposition to loneliness
- Working too much
- Being depressed/emotionally guarded
- Making poor social choices
- Being unaware of your creative thoughts
All of these reasons can be overcome.
You may need to be disciplined about changing ingrained habits. You may need to be more assertive. You may need to push yourself to do things that are a little uncomfortable.
But if you’re serious about overcoming loneliness, you must follow the...
Practical steps for overcoming loneliness
There are many ways to overcome lonely feelings. These are both practical and mental in nature, but shouldn’t take too much effort. The first step is to realise that overcoming loneliness is easiest when you are realistic about your habits.
Remember also that being alone isn’t always a bad thing. Take the profoundly wise spiritual teacher Adyashanti, for example. He tells us that everything is connected, but paradoxically there is liberation in ‘standing alone’.
Regardless, when you can analyse your life and join the dots, you are well on the way to changing your habits.
Practical step 1: Moderate your use of technology
In today’s world, the majority of people are very much attached to their devices. We rely on them for almost everything. It’s normal to use them for general entertainment, communication, organization, and work. We also use them for navigation, collecting information, shopping… even dating.
The problem is that we become so dependent on our devices, especially for social interaction. This kind of interaction lacks intimacy; communication can be quite sterile. Where people once called and visited, now they send messages. They follow each other’s lives on social media instead of in real time.
Overcoming loneliness means making more effort to call people and arrange meet ups… instead of merely checking in online. Relationships are then strengthened and activities are fulfilling. Genuine, regular social interaction is a must for most people. When it is absent, we suffer.
Practical Step 2: Reconcile your losses
When we lose someone close to us, grief takes over. It doesn’t make a difference if the cause is death or the end of a relationship. The closer we were to that person, the more we notice their absence. Their departure can leave a huge gap in our lives that we find difficult to fill.
Where the hours were filled with friendship, love or activity, they are now passing slowly and painfully. This results in loneliness and emptiness. When we lose someone close to us, it can take time to adjust. Finding new ways to fill our time is important if we are serious about overcoming the loneliness.
It is important to grieve, but also consider helping the process in some way. Take up a new hobby, meditate more, or hang out with old or new friends – whatever fulfills you the most.
Practical Step 3: Become more extroverted
Although natural introverts don’t easily become extroverted, there is some value in the idea of “Fake it ‘til you make it”. Introverted people find it more challenging to interact socially. However, this is usually based in social anxiety or a need for privacy.
The key is in admitting when you could do with some social interaction. When you’ve had too much alone time, you should make an effort to engage with others.
Similarly, if you feel it’s difficult to express yourself, practicing being honest is important. Choose someone in your life with whom you feel safe. Then commit to communicating with them honestly. Both things build connection and lead to overcoming loneliness.
Practical Step 4: Analyse your family history
It is possible that your loneliness could be down to your DNA. In one study researchers found that some people are genetically predisposed to loneliness. Environment may be one of the most common factors, but genes can be too. The researchers even concluded that loneliness could be responsible for early death.
The researchers asked the study participants these questions:
- How often do you feel that you lack companionship?
- How often do you feel left out?
- How often do you feel isolated from others?
From the answers, they concluded that 27% of the participants were predisposed to loneliness. Ask yourself the same questions. If the answer is often - and always has been - it could be genetic. If members of your family have had issues with loneliness, that could also be a clue.
Loneliness can lead to depression, or the other way around. If you are predisposed, you may have to make more effort than most when it comes to overcoming loneliness.
Practical Step 5: Reprioritize your life
Busy people with busy lives can get very lonely. They may not even be adept at recognising the signs of loneliness because their lives feel full. It all depends on what your life is filled with. Too many people work so much that they have time for little else. High-flying CEOs, managers and entrepreneurs can struggle a lot with overcoming loneliness.
Working too much might just ‘seem’ to happen. Maybe you love your job… or maybe you have an aversion to intimacy.
Choosing to work long hours in a demanding job can stop people from developing meaningful relationships. Although humans crave them, many are also afraid of them. If this sounds familiar, it might be time for some radical self-honesty.
Another point is that replenishing your energy is vital. Even if your job must remain a top priority, it’s crucial to find time for yourself and your loved ones each day. If your job is so demanding that you don’t even have any loved ones to connect with, something must change. Take regular holidays, and/or cap your hours with a reasonable limit.
Some people feel lonely within their roles at work. If necessary, take a job that allows for more social interaction.
Practical Step 6: Decide to take more risks
When life beats you up, you can’t help but respond to that. Some respond by taking it on the chin and becoming stronger. This isn’t as common as shutting down and trying to protect oneself.
Harsh experiences lead to heavy emotions – like depression. It’s not easy to process these; even when we do, the prospect of repeating the experience is unpleasant.
Consequently we become emotionally guarded. We become risk averse, unwilling to take chances on feeling bad. This leads to avoidance of intimacy, for example. It feels better to remain neutral but unshaken than to experience life’s highs and subsequent lows.
Being emotionally guarded doesn’t help with overcoming loneliness. It’s important to have faith that you will recover from negative feelings with time. It’s hard to avoid them in life! If you climb to the top, you risk falling, yes. But mediocrity is unfulfilling – [risks must be taken in order to feel alive] and truly connected to others.
Practical Step 7: Cleanse your social circle
Making poor social choices can result in feelings of loneliness. It is possible to feel lonely even when surrounded by people - extroverted people can feel lonely too.
Extroverts are often in the mode of ‘always switched on’. They may have many friends and associates, but nobody who is truly close. This happens because not all extroverts consistently honor their true feelings. They favor pleasing others and being perceived as social, fun, helpful, etc.
Surrounding yourself with those you don’t have genuine connection with is a mistake. Stop interacting with people who don’t value you or have enough time for you. It is wiser to seek out true intimacy by choosing to interact with likeminded people. Overcoming loneliness in this case means choosing quality over quantity.
Practical Step 8: Monitor your thoughts and embrace the law of attraction
When you’re feeling lonely, your thoughts are on emptiness and lack. You are focusing on what is missing from your life. Whether you are aware of it or not, you are using the law of attraction. What you focus on is what you get more of. The more you allow the lonely feelings to take hold, the more reasons you will have to feel lonely.
It is necessary to develop emotional strength.
How will you do this?
First you must become aware of your thoughts, recognizing that they are creative.
What are you telling yourself every day?
I'm ugly. I'm beautiful. I'm powerful. I can do this?
You’re telling yourself the story of your life… and it’s time to change that story.
It might help to make a visualization board, for example. You could add images of yourself with old friends or pictures of people enjoying themselves together. Choose anything that sparks a feeling of contentment. This is only one method; there are many ways to use the law of attraction to feel happier. You must learn how to attract good things into your life, and loneliness will be a thing of the past.
Remember… loneliness is a choice.
Are you still going to choose it?
Following the above tips for overcoming loneliness is likely to result in a rapid improvement.
If you can see that loneliness is not totally ‘real’ and that you have ways out of it, you are almost out of the woods.
Making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, finding a new partner... whatever it is, it’s within your reach.