IN today’s society, many experience loneliness. It affects people of all AGES and of all RACES, SOCIAL STRATA, and CREEDS. Have you ever been lonely? Are you lonely now?
Actually, all of us at one time or another have felt the need for companionship –for someone to lend us an ear, to offer us reassurance or possibly to echo our deep feelings or inner thoughts, and to understand us as a person. We have a need for someone who is sensitive to our emotions.
Coping with loneliness is not easy. Powerful emotions are involved. How can a person deal with loneliness? What have some done to overcome this powerful feeling?
Tina likes to be alone when making some decisions, but she feels that loneliness can be dangerous. When she was a child, communication with her parents was lacking. Not knowing how to get their attention, she shut herself up in her room. She relates: “I began to have eating disorders.
I was trapped in depression. I would say to myself, ‘Why should worry about my parents’ problems when they don’t worry about mine?’ then I thought that marriage could fill the vacuum of my loneliness. I sought marriage as an escape. But I soon reasoned: ‘Why should I ruin the life of another person? First, I need to put my own thinking in order? I sought help in prayer, pouring out my anguish.
Whether you are young or older, single or married, a child with parents or an orphan and whether you have lost loved ones or are experiencing some other type of loneliness, there are ways to cope with your feelings.
Jocabed, an 18-year-old girl whose father abandoned his family of six to go to another country, says: “Speak up! It is important that we express ourselves. If we do not, no one is going to understand us.” She recommends: “Stop thinking so much about yourself. Seek help from mature ones, not from youths who may be worse off than you are”
1. Keep in mind that your situation can be changed, that it is not a permanent situation but a common experience shared by others.
2. Do not be unreasonably demanding of yourself.
3. Feel content about yourself in general.
4. Develop good habits in eating and exercise, and get adequate sleep.
5. Use the time you spend alone doing creative things and learning new skills.
6. Be careful not to judge people you meet on the basis of your past experiences.
7. Value your friends and their unique qualities. Work toward developing a good circle of friends. Ask for ideas from older, experienced ones.
8. Do something for others –give them a smile, express a kind word, share a thought from the books you have read. Feeling needed by others is an antidote to loneliness.
9. Avoid fantasizing about movie or TV stars or internet or literature characters, imagining a relationship with them.
10. If you are married, do not expect your mate to meet all your emotional needs. Learn to give and take, to help and support each other.
11. Learn to talk to others and to be a good listener. Focus on other people and their interests. Show empathy.
12. Acknowledge that you feel lonely, and talk to a mature friend, someone you trust. Don’t suffer in silence.
13. Avoid drinking too much, or do not drink at all. Alcohol does not drown your problems –with time they float to the surface again.
14. Avoid pride. Forgive those who hurt you, and make amends. Be willing to let down your defenses.
Loneliness is a powerful feeling, and it can be very painful. It is a feeling of emptiness. There is a sensation of isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other humans. We can become vulnerable and frightened. Have you ever felt this way?