There’s more than one way to feel lonely.
Identifying your loneliness type can help you get back to the root of what matters.
Loneliness is a struggle and a hard one to overcome. When we’re lonely, it feels as though we’re wading through grief every single day. It causes us to doubt ourselves and the relationships around us. Not all loneliness looks the same, though. Overcoming this pain requires that we face it bravely and name it for what it is. Then we can take action to put our lives back on track to happiness.
The different types of loneliness.
What type of loneliness are you struggling with? Are you fighting an uphill battle against superficial friendships? Are you craving a companion pet, or an intimate relationship with that one special person? When we acknowledge why we’re lonely, we can focus and take action to correct it in the future.
It’s hard to deny the inherent loneliness that comes with superficial friendships. Skin-deep friendships don’t offer up a lot; especially when we’re going through hard times, or we need the support of people who know us. Superficial friendships can offer us a lot when it comes to having fun, but they aren’t connections that last and they’re not connections that bring a lot of core values to the table.
Although loneliness is uncomfortable, it can also be a sign of new growth and good things. This is especially true when we’re starting over in a new place. Maybe you’re setting yourself up in a new city where you don’t know anyone and don’t have a set routine. Maybe you’ve moved jobs, and it’s your first quarter at a new company. When we wipe the slate clean with big change, it’s scary. It can cause us to feel isolated and alone in the experience — but it’s only temporary.
Not all loneliness comes from a lack of human connection. Sometimes, our longing for connection can step from a lack of connection with a companion pet. It’s understandable. Our animals bring a sense of comfort, love, and connection to our lives, and they fill our homes with warmth and personality. Are you someone who has always been surrounded by animals? Do you suddenly find yourself unable to care for a pet? Your loneliness could be stemming from your need to connect with the animal world.
Often our loneliness can come from a much deeper and more complex place. Have you ever felt like you’re the odd man out? Like you don’t belong in the environment that you’re in? Rather than longing for a specific relationship with someone, you start to long for a broader relationship with the outside world. When you feel different from everyone around you, it can cause loneliness. If don’t feel like you fit in or belong in the environment that you’re in, you start to feel isolated as an outcast.
Humans are very social creatures, and many of us crave deeply intimate relationships (that are non-romantic in nature). We want to be surrounded by people who love us unconditionally; people who cheer us on when things are tough. When you don’t have a deep emotional connection at home, it can lead to loneliness. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a romantic partner. It’s simply a person that you share a deep connection with. They are someone who you can come home and share with and get support from.
Believe it or not, you can become incredibly lonely when you grow apart from people who were once important to you. Although this is a natural process, it’s a painful one. We watch our friends and loved ones move in different directions while we are also forced to pull away toward our own fulfillment. Moving past this requires looking at the bigger picture and embracing change for the value that it brings.
Does your loneliness come from a lack of romance or physical intimacy in your life? The most common type of loneliness, this is the one we are most conditioned to recognize in ourselves and others too. Some people need that romantic closeness with another person in order to complete their happiness puzzle. That’s okay. If you need a close partner or spouse in your life, admit that and start focusing on the steps you can take to find that.
How to make peace with your loneliness once and for all.
Your loneliness doesn’t have to rule you. It doesn’t have to destroy your path to happiness, and it doesn’t have to be your reality. You can choose to live a different life, and you can choose to surround yourself with love. By shifting our perspective, falling in love with ourselves, and committing to making a plan, we can find our way out of loneliness and back into fulfillment.
1. Use the space to invest in yourself
We spend a lot of time and energy looking at our loneliness like the worst thing in the world. From the time we are small, we fear being alone. We don’t like the thought of being alone with ourselves, and we don’t like the thought of being alone against the world. That’s why one of the best ways to beat your loneliness is by shifting your perspective and the way you see your time alone. Rather than dreading it, you can see it as a benefit. It’s not an empty space. It’s time to invest in who you are and what you want.
Use the excess space around you to invest in yourself. We only have a limited amount of energy and focus to give our partners, our friends, and all the other joys in our life. Instead of seeing this space as a bad thing, they saw it as an opportunity to slow down and focus inward in the best possible way.
Avoid rumination. Loneliness is a negative emotion, and it has a way of making us obsess and over-focus on it. The more focused on loneliness you are, the more you will find it everywhere you look. Don’t give it that much power over your life. You can either distract yourself in a positive way — or you can stay miserable. While we all experience loneliness, we make the choice to wallow in or correct it. Want to banish your loneliness once and for all? Seek personal growth and self-actualization through self-care and mindful internal work.
2. Make a plan to turn things around
Your loneliness may be something that occurs outside of your control. We can’t always decide who comes in and out of our lives, or where we find ourselves planted anew. We can, however, be the architects of our loneliness. We can decide what it looks like, and we can plan for its end. Once you know what kind of lonely you are, you can make a plan to change things in your life. Lonely doesn’t have to mean “alone forever”. You can build a new horizon for yourself and turn things around.
Make a plan to turn things around. While loneliness feels like a heavy, permanent emotion — it’s not. Plan to get a pet, improve yourself, and make your life habitable for a partner that complements your needs. Start with the smallest possible action you can take. What life do you need to create to attract the connection that you’re looking for?
Don’t allow yourself to fall into negative assumptions. Avoid absolute thoughts like, “I’m going to be alone forever.” Our world is vast, with billions of people and millions of opportunities. The right environment is out there for you. The right lover, friend, or life partner exists for you to find. You simply have to get yourself on the same path. Focus on building your confidence and pursuing an authentic lifestyle. Slowly, you’ll find yourself heading toward people and experiences that meet your needs.
3. Close down sources of negativity
So much of our loneliness comes from the endless sources of negativity in our lives. These are the people who make us feel small; the experiences that isolate us or otherwise make us imagine we don’t belong. Being aligned with the wrong people, the wrong work, and the wrong environments can lead to feelings of loneliness that are hard to navigate. In order to avoid this loneliness, we have to take charge of the world. That means closing down sources of negativity so more positivity can come into our lives.
It’s time for you to realize that you there is limited real estate in your life. To get the most out of your environment, you’re going to have to clear it of superficial or toxic people. That’s how you find the room for the deeper connections that you crave.
Clear your life of sources of negativity. Are you struggling with loneliness of superficial and tiring friendships? Cut them off. Move them to a different space in your life so that the right people can come in. The same goes for your intimate or romantic needs. If you want that perfect partner to walk into your life, the toxic ones have to go. Stop holding on to things that are blocking good from coming to you. To move toward the things you want and value, move away from the things which are no longer suiting you.
4. Take a deep dive into your passions
Passions are so important. We all need hobbies, pastimes, and interests that we enjoy. These things help to provide us with a sense of meaning and a sense of belonging, too. We are often lonely because we put too much weight on the presence of others in our lives. If we hope to move past this feeling of being alone, we can distract ourselves and expand our perception of belonging and happiness by getting involved in things we enjoy.
Fill up the excess room in your life with things you love to do and experiences that make you a better person. You need to reconnect with the things that bring you joy. You need to get back into the swing of things that make you happy. By pursuing these avenues, you will open up your heart and your opportunities to connect.
We are empowered to find love in our life through experience. We find partners, pets, and fulfilling opportunity when we allow ourselves to branch out and fall into the places and patterns that bring us where we need to be. Instead of chasing what you think you need from others, allow yourself to explore the world and find a natural flow to your life. From there, your friendships and relationships will bloom naturally, and your loneliness will one day become a thing of the pass.
5. Practice mindful altruism
There’s a lot of research out there that has given substantial weight to the art of altruism. Doing good things for people (and animals) is good for us. It’s good for our hearts, our bodies, and our minds.
Giving of yourself allows you to get outside of the negativity. It changes the way you see things and the way you see yourself in the world. Rather than being overwhelmed by your loneliness, it’s given a backseat while you focus on charity and the hardships of those who are struggling.
Give more of yourself to those who need it most. Pick out a local charity and get in touch. Ask what you can do to help and offer any skills you have that may be of value to them. Giving of ourselves gets us outside of ourselves and out of the chaos that becomes our obsessively lonely thoughts.
Practice mindful altruism and make it a regular part of your schedule. While getting hands on is the best way to remind yourself of what matters, there’s no end to the charities and organizations you can help and access. Give outside of yourself. Get away from the nagging thoughts of involuntary solitude by investing your time and energy into people (or pets) that have even less than you do. It will change the way you see your circumstances and the way you see yourself too.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER...
Are you lonely in life or in your relationships? We all experience loneliness from time-to-time, and it’s unpleasant and hard to manage. In order to move past it, we have to acknowledge what kind of loneliness we’re facing. Then we can take action to put things right and fill our lives with the love, affection, and companionship that we crave in the future.
Use this time and space to invest in yourself. Deep dive into who you want to be. Build your self-esteem and fall in love with who you are inside and out. When you’re feeling more confident, take some time to make some plans. You don’t have to be lonely forever. You can still surround yourself with love if you take action and make some changes. Clear your life of negative sources.
If you’re tired of superficial friends and toxic people, get them out of your life. Make room for deeper love and connection to come in. Take a deep dive into your passions. Remember who you are by getting back into the flow of hobbies and pastimes that you love. Above all else, practice mindful altruism. Giving to others can remind us of the beauty of life, even when we feel like we’re in our darkest moments. Connect with the good in life and remember to be hopeful of your future.