When You’re Lonely
I was recently talking with a friend, a very good friend and we both admitted that sometimes we get lonely. It was refreshing to have a frank and honest conversation about loneliness.
People often talk about depression or sadness, but loneliness is an entirely different feeling. A feeling that is never going to go away with an anti- depressant or a stiff cocktail.
According to the dictionary, loneliness is described as the following:
Definition of lonely
1a : being without company : lone too many lonely nights at home
b : cut off from others : solitary the train stopped frequently at lonely little stations — Robert Hichens
2 : not frequented by human beings : desolate a lonely spot in the woods
3 : sad from being alone : lonesome He was feeling lonely without his wife and children.
4 : producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation it’s a lonely thing to be a champion
Reading that list is probably enough to make anyone depressed! As my friend and I discussed our feelings of loneliness we also started speaking about strategies to combat loneliness.
1.Connect through Medium. Yup, it’s no secret that Medium can be a strong platform to connect with other humans. While others are busy binging Netflix or reading a book, it’s possible to write something and have someone else read, comment and clap. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I get when I see a comment to one of my stories. It doesn’t even have to be a positive comment, I love knowing that my writing spoke to someone and they took the time to clap or respond.
2.Acknowledge the feeling. It’s so tempting to try to push the feeling aside, you want to stay busy or space out and have a cocktail. Sometimes simply admitting you feel lonely tends to make the feeling have less of a hold on you. It’s okay to feel lonely, you just don’t want to stay with that emotion for days or weeks.
3.Music. Listening to music can make you feel more alive and it can actually produce chemical reactions within the brain that make you feel better. While you are listening to music you can move your body, dance, stretch or laugh. Music is a powerful antidote to loneliness.
4. Put fun things on the books! I love to make plans with friends. This weekend a group of my single friends are getting together to bbq steaks and swim. In two weeks I am going to go glamping, my first experience, with a friend and her daughter. By filling up your calendar with fun activities, you are better able to withstand the lonely times knowing you have activities planned with others in the future.
5. Embrace it. Some of our best work occurs when we are lonely, whether we are creating a work of art or writing a book or simply organizing our space, the solitude can be a wonderful time for introspection.
Being alone never felt right. Sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.” ―Charles Bukowski
Sooner or later, we will all be alone whether we lose a partner to a break up, divorce or death. None of us are guaranteed to have a companion in our lives forever. Children will grow up and move away, parents, siblings, friends and lovers will fade away or die. It’s a part of life, we can’t stop the loneliness, but we can employ strategies to keep it at bay.
Whether you have a house full of people or live alone, never doubt your unique connection to the world. It’s part of the human experience, to feel love, too feel joy and sometimes too feel alone.
Tonja is the author of Cancer Free Emily and Miracle at Paradise Bridge and is a frequent contributor to Medium.