Monday, November 25, 2013

3 Ways to Combat Loneliness

"Solitude" by Jean-Jacques Henner (courtesy of Wikipedia)

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If you have lived anywhere from a moment to a lifetime on this earth, at one time or another, you have experienced that strange moment of immediate and endless isolation we call loneliness. That moment of feeling alone without necessarily being alone. As a baby, you cried until you felt another's touch and you will crave the comfort of holding a loved ones hand as you lie dying. Lonliness will always be a part of the human condition.

I do not in any way assert that loneliness is an emotion that can be measured by a set standard. I understand that each person's loneliness is its own special kind of beast. I do not believe that we all feel lonely for the same reasons and in the same way. Your loneliness and my loneliness can be two unrelated things. Having said this, when dealing with my loneliness (which could very well be your loneliness - or not) I have learned that I am only as alone as I choose to be.

Here are 3 ways to face loneliness and come out alive.

1. Realize it is only for a moment. I know this can be hard to believe at the time but you will not feel lonely for forever, I promise. Five seconds of loneliness can feel like an eternity - but it is not. You are stronger than you think you are. You can make it now just like you made it numerous times before. Picture whatever it is you want to have - true friends, a significant other, an understanding family member - waiting for you on the other side of this great expanse. It very well could be if you would just live to see it. When you remind yourself that this feeling of unprevoked heartache is finite, you give yourself a chance to survive it. Since living is done in increments of moments, the more moments you make it through, the longer you will live to see the overarching reason. There is always a reason.

2. Become your own other. You can never be alone if you become your own best friend. Go out and do things with only yourself as company. Learn what you don't like. Learn what you like. Then go do those likeable things some more. There is the you that you know and the you that you have yet to discover. Over the years, I've learned that I like comfortable silences, asian dramas, and spicy food. I don't like intense exercise, people who disregard others' feelings, and tomatoes (although I do like pasta sauce and ketchup). Self discovery can be a great affront to lonliness. You can often starve off that gnawing feeling of empty with a mouthful of yourself. Sometimes, you are your greatest cure to lonliness.

3. Reach out to others. A major factor in lonliness can be the feeling of forced isolation; the feeling that nobody wants to spend time getting to know you for the joy of, well, getting to know you. The feeling of "Hell is other people". The more you think this way, the more you believe the lie, the more you withdraw from the world, and the lonlier you feel. No one will, can reach out to you. You build up a wall that not only effectively keeps the hurt out but also in. Something happens when you decide to move past the sphere of "me", you are met by a hand. The hand will present itself in a different form each time - a helping hand, a pat on the back, a high five, a handshake, a wave, a caress - but each time it comes, it will come with an embrace as varied as its mode of transportation (Have you ever felt a spiritual embrace? Yeah, it truly is divine). And you won't feel so lonely. Sometimes there isn't even a need for shared empathy between you and "other". If you will just make your presence known to someone else, more likely than not they will hungrily reach back for you. We were all lonely. You are not alone in your lonliness and that makes you very much in good company with the rest of humanity.


  1. Wow I love this post! This is exactly what I needed to read right now, and yes I'm a firm believer in becoming your own best friend first, once you know yourself only then can you know what you like in other people. Can't wait to see more of your posts :)
    Hafsah x

    1. I'm glad you liked it! I too believe you can't have healthy relationships with others without first forming a healthy relationship with yourself. So happy this post made you see something you might have been overlooking before :)

      Hope you enjoy the rest!