"The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved." Mother Theresa
Are you avoiding social situations because you might be reminded of things you hope to forget? Do you avoid others because you feel you should be able to deal with challenges on your own? These can be signs of social withdrawal or social isolation.So many of us have or are experiencing some form of loneliness. During my reading, I discovered that these feelings are very common. Sometimes loneliness can feel like you're not even sad, but you feel empty. Or, have experienced not being physically alone, but mentally the loneliness makes it feel like there is no one in sight.
Let's shine a light onto the actual definition of loneliness. But before I give you the definition, please know there are other definitions; but, I selected this one for our blog. Loneliness is defined as feeling sad and unhappy about being socially isolated. Are you avoiding social situations because you might be reminded of things you hope to forget? Do you avoid others because you feel you should be able to deal with challenges on your own? These can be signs of social withdrawal or social isolation.
Let's talk about folks with VAST SOCIAL NETWORKS. How can these individuals be in a state of loneliness? These folks have a ton of friends, acquaintances, and aren't afraid to network or intentionally communicate with others. Sometimes these social butterflies have inner turmoil that cause their sense of loneliness. For example, suffering from guilt, untreated depression, grief (the loss of a person or relationship) will amplify these feelings.
Loneliness is not an introvert only issue. As we can see from above very active social folks can be lonely too. loneliness makes us feel disconnected ; and this state of being can be debilitating if its not treated seriously and with some sort of help to begin healing. Filling you loneliness void doesn't get you to the ROOT of your feelings, so I'd like to share the steps I've taken and still use to help push me through to the other side of my loneliness:
1.Validate your feelings! Name it!: your feelings are valid and we need to put a name on it.
2. Practice daily gratitude: this helps me to realize all that I've been blessed with and changes my thought process.
3. Acts of kindness: do something good for someone else!
4.How much is social media influencing your life---think about this
5.Night Cap: change it! What do you do at night to cope with your loneliness? Do you smoke or drink alcohol? These aren't healthy ways to end your evening. Try watching a motivational YouTube video, work on a craft, plan what your next day will look like, read a new book, work on a hobby, or listen to music that relaxes you.
6. Seek a mental health professional to help you work through your feeling of loneliness.
Lastly, let's take the concrete steps to strengthen our connections with others--small talk with the people you come in contact with (find similarities to strike up a conversation. I will add that when you begin trying to make new connections or HEAL old ones be intentional, purposeful, thoughtful, and make sure there is some reciprocity in the mix too.
Brandlyn Owens is passionate about exploring and educating herself and others about mental health topics. She's a momma of 2 kiddos and she resides in Durham, NC.