Dealing with loneliness

Loneliness is a condition that affects most of us at some point in our lives. Some of us feel it daily, some of us sporadically, and some of us just in those difficult times. Regardless of how often it occurs, it does not have to be this way. There is no underlying aspect of human nature that makes loneliness inevitable. The total banishment of loneliness from our lives is quite achievable for all of us. All that is required is a good understanding of its causes, and some basic techniques to remedy it.

Loneliness results from a sense of lack. Usually, we make the mistake of believing that some specific condition is necessary to relieve it. Thus we have thoughts such as “I am lonely because I do not have friends”, “I am lonely because so-and-so doesn’t like me”, or “I am lonely because my husband doesn’t spend enough time with me”. The more that we focus on the perceived cause of our loneliness, the more that we amplify this sense of lack. For example, if we constantly focus on the fact that we do not have a partner, then we are constantly telling ourselves that something is missing. In this way, the loneliness is escalated. We make it seems like a bigger deal than it really is (see Don’t be afraid of loneliness).

Therefore, to combat loneliness we must remove this sense of lack. The simplest way to do this is to become aware of all of the other special relationships in our lives. By seeing all the different opportunities for closeness that are available, we fight the idea that one specific condition or person is required. We are also removing the sense of lack by focusing on all the closeness that we do have with people, and not on whatever is missing. This leads to a happier and more fulfilling life.

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  1. Tyler said,

    February 1, 2008 @ 12:56 am

    thank you that was honestly inspirational

  2. jacob said,

    February 3, 2008 @ 1:49 am

    I agree. I have been really strugglin’ lately, but your post has given me much to thank about. truly inspiring.

  3. tdemoisy said,

    August 5, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

    The end of the article assumes that there are all these people we have closeness with and that we can rely on and be thankful for. This is not necessarily true for many.

  4. admin said,

    August 10, 2008 @ 3:10 pm

    Certainly some of us have many more people in our lives than others. However, the important point is not so much the number of people we have closeness with but rather our attitude towards them. If we learn to value and appreciate a smile exchanged with a janitor, or take the time to say hello to a homeless person on the street, we are actively cultivating compassion within ourselves. Initially, such contacts may seem woefully inadequate, but with practice, and with a focus on giving rather than receiving, we discover that we are more connected than we may realize. It is likely that such an attitude will also lead us to finding and developing more and more meaningful relationships, provided that we remember to be grateful for what we have instead of yearning for what we lack.

  5. Joanne said,

    November 17, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

    this was insightful; i moved across the country, away from familiar people and places, and recently have reconnected mildly; there’s some pain there though; you can’t revisit people who inadvertently hurt you or turned away just because it is comfortable; there’s new experiences waiting i guess; sometimes it’s ok to just know that you might be better off alone

  6. Kate said,

    January 5, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

    I’ve had to move every couple years for the past 10 years and it’s been difficult. My husband is in the Army and I’ve been a SAHM. It’s been hard to maintain and build friendships b/c we’ve moved so frequently. I do find myself feeling alone. It’s almost like I’m in a prison and I’m screaming but no one hears me. I feel as if God has abandoned me. As humans, we naturally desire human connection and when those desires and needs aren’t met, there’s an empty feeling. I almost feel as though this experience of being alone for so long has made me paranoid of everything. Is this a personality disorder? I try to busy myself by volunteering at my childrens’ school, meeting my husband for lunch. I find that I do most things alone and I’m not sure if I’m normal.
    I’m baffled by this existence and question whether or not if it’s normal.

  7. Holi said,

    June 23, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

    Great advice to advise people to focus on the opportunities to alleviate loneliness! There are many ways to reach out, and if we reach out with a sense of interconnectedness, rather than lack, finding true friends & creating an extended family-like support system should come more naturally!

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