Not all loneliness is created equal.
There are different types of loneliness.
Loneliness because you are alone.
Loneliness because you are not alone but you’re around people that just don’t get you.
Loneliness because your only company is a spouse or your little munchkins.
Loneliness because you crave a romantic connection.
Loneliness because you like being alone but at the same time you hate being alone.
Loneliness because you don’t like yourself (and no one likes to be alone with someone they don’t like).
The #1 Self Care for Loneliness tip is to figure out why you are lonely.
And then you go from there.
There are some types of loneliness where you should figure out a way to convert it from sad-loneliness to happy-aloneness and there are other types of loneliness where you should not plaster a happy smile on your face and pretend that everything is fine. Loneliness is valid. You don’t have to pretend that it’s something that you need to get over, forget, or push under a rug. You also don’t need to convince yourself that loneliness makes you weak or co-dependent.
Being lonely is perfectly natural and we all feel it.
Be aware of why you feel lonely. If you’re a stay-at-home mom or your life consists of family-work-family-sleep the cure for loneliness is not going to a movie by yourself or to write in a journal. Go out and make friends. That is your self care for loneliness. Don’t just deal with it, put up with it, and convince yourself that you deserve to be miserable. Go out and make friends. You need it. You deserve it. Join a mom group, hang out at the park, join a group online and see if you can meet for coffee or play dates where you get actual intellectual human interaction.
Embrace the alone-ness. If your loneliness stems from a feeling of panic when you’re alone because the silence drives you crazy. If you don’t feel okay unless you’re talking to someone, hanging out with someone, texting someone – if the minute you’re alone you start to feel upset and lonely, your self care is a little different.
Being alone is not bad. Being alone is good for you. It is an essential tool to be able to enjoy your own company. Oftentimes that kind of loneliness stems from boredom. Cultivate hobbies that you can do alone and that keep your mind occupied and soon you’ll find yourself looking forward to that time alone and eventually that loneliness with be replaced with alone-ness and you’ll see how beautiful and essential it is to your well-being.
Don’t listen to your inner critic. When you feel lonely there’s a chance your mind is going to come up with reasons why you’re alone. Most of the time the reasons will be wildly preposterous (sometimes your brain can be a world class a-hole). You are not lonely because you are un-interesting or hideous, or boring, or unworthy. In truth, there are people out there that will get along splendidly with you. It’s good that you aren’t settling for just any kind of company, you want good company – quality company – people you can mesh well with. They are out there and they do not care about all of those reasons why you think you are unlikeable. They will like you anyway.
Stop isolating yourself. This goes back to #3. You do not suck. You are not inherently unfriendly. PEOPLE WILL LIKE YOU. So if your loneliness comes from not having anyone in your life to spend time with, put yourself out there. Ask someone out on a date, put yourself in a position to meet other people. Meet the friend of a friend, hang out with real life people, talk to that person that you see all of the time but are too shy to talk to. Don’t believe that loneliness is something that you deserve. When you isolate yourself all you’re doing is validating all of those things your inner-critic is saying about why people don’t like you. Fight those feelings!
If your support system sucks, de-suckify it. Loneliness also comes from surrounding yourself with people that make you feel bad about yourself. This may not be intentional on their part. Maybe your friends have kids or don’t while you do… or don’t. Or you have vastly different tastes or interests and while you love them dearly they don’t really give you that feeling of belonging. Create a support system that makes you feel good about yourself. With the internet, there are so many ways to connect with like-minded people. You can call, text, skype, email, meet in person – don’t limit yourself. Put yourself out there. Expand your network.
Ask for what you want. Maybe the perfect loneliness-busters are already in your life. They’re just waiting for an invitation. You’ll never know if your spouse, or the best-friend-that-you-never-get-to-see, or the lady that has lunch at the next table, feels exactly the same way you do when it comes to loneliness if you don’t talk about it or take steps to fix it. When you make yourself available to talk about loneliness and why you feel it and what you need to make it better, you’re taking the first step in fixing what is wrong.
And for a different perspective, give this video a listen.