Loneliness – Trying Something New – Part 2
In the last post, we looked at an overview of loneliness and began the discussion around asking ourselves “where am I in terms of feeling lonely?” The answer may have come easily to you or it may have taken a great amount of soul-searching and stepping back to see if in your busyness there is an authentic, felt connection with yourself and with others. My guess is the answer each person found is a bit different and carries the nuances of the lives we each lead.
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If going internally is still on the table for you and you are wondering where you land with your connection to self and others, one of the big things I would suggest before deep diving internally, is to enact a stance towards yourself of compassionate curiosity. It can be so easy to start nit-picking and comparing ourselves to friends, family members, and all those people on social media. The “shoulding” and “supposed to’s” can inhabit a major place in our thinking and then dominate our emotions toward ourselves.
Feeling of stuckness
Frequently, we are inhibited by these self-deprecating thoughts to the point that they become a feeling of stuckness or like a barrier between where I am and where I want to be. By allowing a non-judgmental, compassionate outlook on yourself and where you are, it may be the key to getting to the heart of what you are truly experiencing in your internal world. (Kristin Neff is a phenomenal resource to explore self-compassion more deeply). What might it look like for you to accept your individual process and allow some areas of “grey” to exist?
The Roots of Loneliness Project
As an easy-to-access resource, this post from The Roots of Loneliness Project provides more detail on signs and symptoms of loneliness. Some of those listed are “feeling annoyed over minor inconveniences, increased social media use, low self-esteem, sleeping more often and feeling as if you can’t rely on your partner”. Although these symptoms and others listed on the The Roots of Loneliness Project may reveal something else going on, they may also indicate something going on for you in the realm of loneliness. One point, I really appreciate from this site, is how it is described that we can experience loneliness in particular areas of our lives as opposed to all-encompassing loneliness.
Once, you know where you are internally and what you may need, there are ways to begin alleviating the loneliness. The Root of Loneliness Project lists out some of the common, accessible ways to begin this process. I tend to err on the side of ‘helpful tips and answers may not work or be right for everyone’, but at least trying a few that fit your lifestyle and personality in order to understand yourself better may be really helpful as starting point in this journey. One of the suggestions is to “get a pet” which of course may be out of the range of options for some people, however “reach out to old friends” and “take a break from social media” may each require a new level of discomfort at first, but possibly in the trying of these behaviors, you may realize something new about yourself and restart an old connection.
Past, present and future
It can be a quick, yet inaccurate, assumption that the other people in our past, present and future are fulfilled and connected with other. Yet in reality, many people are also in the boat of searching for authentic connections with other people and experiences. I encourage each of us to try something new in the coming month to connect with ourselves or someone around us – and hopefully, we will be pleasantly surprised on what happens.
Here’s to trying something new!