Truths about loneliness – there are many. Here I would like to share my top 7 truths about loneliness and how to cope, because the single most important of all truths about loneliness is:
Face loneliness and do something about it or let loneliness destroy you.
And I don’t mean to flippant. Because destroying us, any sense of hope, self confidence and self belief, it can – slowly or quickly.
Truths about loneliness – 1
Whenever I started facing up to my loneliness and tried doing something about it, it made it worse.
Because with facing the reality of my life, I started feeling the pain.
I give you an example. Come Sunday I would feel alone and lonely. Instead of locking myself away, I would push myself, hard, to go out. But instead of feeling alive, getting in touch with my self-confidence and hope, I felt uncomfortable and in even greater pain.
Truths about loneliness – 2
Don’t be disheartened. Keep going.
Because of this I often did not keep going. And there were times, when I knew I had to, because there was no other way to escape this vicious circle.
To keep going is the only way to weaken the vicious circle and the feeling of loneliness.
I started to create weekend and Bank Holiday routines: going out at certain times to certain places and I would stick to it. I would try and combine it with something I like. Food always works for me… In the summer I would walk somewhere for 2 hours to get an ice-cream or a coffee in the winter.
I still felt lonely, but less so. Those were the days without mobile phone and the internet. I did not like walkmans. With no distractions I started thinking, about the things that hurt, about me and my life.
On the long walks I started to befriend myself, to get to know myself and even liking myself.
I started to become too occupied with myself, to think what others may or may not make of me walking on may own.
Truths about loneliness – 3
We are not odd, neither are we alone.
Eventually, on those long walks I would notice others, also on their own. What did I think of them? What do you think?
“How brave … I wish I was like that. Walking confidently, on their own.”
Now, why would I think that of them, but think that everybody else was bound to think the opposite of me? I did not have loser written on my forehead. I did check!
No. We must give ourselves more credit and walk with our heads up high, even when it hurts and especially when it hurts. Because that hurt will get weaker, after a while.
Truths about loneliness – 4
And sometimes we wallow in self pity and hopelessness and then nothing seems to work.
Yes, I had (and still have) those moments, too. When I would revert to the old pattern of avoidance and numbing. At least I had learnt not to beat myself up over it and so it would pass.
Truths about loneliness – 5
We need to build on our success.
Whatever I did on those difficult days, it was a fine line between not getting too much out of my comfort zone, while not ending up bored. Guided by my intuition, I changed my walks, my activities and over time became more busy and had created a new weekend routine.
Truths about loneliness – 6
When loneliness turns into solitude.
At some point, I started enjoying my own company. Loneliness turned into much loved solitude. That is how I like it. That’s who I am. Without it I would not be able to do the things I like best.
Truths about loneliness – 7
Loneliness does not really go away – fully.
I have accepted that, which does not mean I have given in and turned into a victim dominated by loneliness.
No. I have accepted it and understand it better. I am less frightened of loneliness, even though I do not like it. But I am better equipped and can face it and feel it – without loneliness destroying me. I am more at peace.
Every person and every story is different. What works for me does not necessarily work for you.
You too can find your own path, with a bit of courage, a bit of blind faith, a bit of determination.
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Karin Sieger is a UK-based psychotherapist and writer. All rights reserved © Copyright Karin Sieger. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Article do not substitute medical advice.