how-to-deal-with-loneliness

How to Deal with Loneliness

The Good News is, it’s All in Your Head

Lots of people have been feeling mighty lonely lately.  Even those who are sheltering in place with someone else or several someone elses may still miss the company of others outside their home.  But nowhere is the loneliness felt more acutely than for single people who are living alone and struggling with that.  If you thought you were lonely two months ago simply because you didn’t have a romantic partner, at least you had friends and coworkers and the people at the MAC counter to interact with.  Now it’s just you on a daily basis and that’s really isolating.  There’s a way to fix loneliness, though, and it’s by using your head.  Our thoughts make up everything about who we are.  If we’re sad, it’s due to our thoughts.  If we’re happy, that’s also due to our thoughts.  Our thoughts about ourselves determine how we feel about ourselves.  Our feelings about ourselves determine what actions we take in life and how we interact with the world.  And our actions determine how our lives actually play out.  But it all starts with our thoughts and that’s why it’s super important to focus on them when addressing any emotional issue like loneliness.

Get your mind right, get your life right

The first step to getting your mindset right about loneliness is to take stock of what you believe about yourself today.  Our beliefs are made up of the thoughts that we’ve thought over and over again.  If you’ve thought to yourself every day for the past twenty years, “Being alone means being lonely,” then by now that’s not just a fleeting thought you’re having, it has become a belief for you.  No matter what anyone else says or what your own behavior may have proven to the contrary, you believe that you must be lonely if you’re alone and that’s that, dammit!  Your current thoughts and beliefs are made up of everything that you’ve experienced up until now.  If your parents told you over and over again that you were a terrible singer and they laughed when you said you wanted to join the school choir, then no matter how good you think you sound belting out “Jesse’s Girl” in your car, you’re not likely to do it in public unless you’re super drunk at a karaoke bar in another town.  The thought, “I’m a terrible singer,” has become a belief for you and you don’t even have to consciously think it for you to know that it’s “true.”

What makes these beliefs so dangerous, other than making you feel bad and being crappy things to think about yourself, is that you take action in your life based on these beliefs and those actions you take create your very existence!  In other words, negative beliefs about yourself cause you to feel bad about yourself, which causes you to take faulty action in your life, which in turn causes you to lead a less-than-happy life.  For example, if you believe that people think you’re sad and lonely because you’re not in a relationship, how does that make you feel?  Well, it makes you feel inferior to everyone else.  And what does feeling inferior cause you to do?  It causes you to jump into any relationship you can possibly get just so that you can start feeling not sad and lonely.  And where does that action get you?  It gets you into a hell of a lot of relationships that should’ve ended after the first date!  To elaborate on this, it gets you into bad relationship after bad relationship, which kills your self-esteem and your self-worth, you get treated poorly, you put up with things you know you shouldn’t, you go through breakup after breakup, and what are you left with?  A whole lotta nuthin’.  And now you really are sad and lonely! Do you see the vicious cycle that negative beliefs get you stuck in?  Our thoughts influence everything in our lives.

The ah-ha moment

Realizing that you have the power to change your thinking and thus change your beliefs about yourself is one of the most eye-opening things you’ll ever learn in life.  And the subsequent feelings you have about yourself and the actions you take because of those feelings can completely change your life.  Did you know that you can think anything you want?  Let that sink in.  You have the option of believing anything you want to believe, no matter what your parents taught you.  No matter what society tries to influence you to believe.  No matter what you have believed for most of your life.  No matter what has happened to you or what you have done.  This seems like a no-brainer, right?  But it’s almost like we need permission to change our thoughts.  Especially when a negative thought is so ingrained in us that it becomes a negative belief for us.  It feels like we need a crow-bar to get it out of our brains.  Well, I’m here to be that crow-bar for you, single girl!  I grant you permission to change your thinking and I’m going to show you how to do it.

Step one

It’s easy to blame your current situation on something outside of your control.  For example, it’s easy to say, “I’m lonely because I’m alone.”  However, as soon as you start blaming circumstances, you give up your power to change your life.  It’s much more empowering to understand why you are where you are today, accept that you and only you got you here, and start making the necessary changes to live a happier life.  So, how can you stop feeling lonely just by changing your thinking?  Remember that the actions we take in our lives are based on feelings that we have.  Feelings are not optional.  Feelings happen involuntarily as a result of the thoughts we think and beliefs we have.  And our actions are a result of our feelings.  So, if we change our thoughts, we create new feelings, which in turn causes us to take different actions in our lives.  In other words, our thoughts lead to what we create in our lives.  While this may sound scary, it’s actually brilliant!  Since thoughts are a choice and can be changed to whatever we want them to be, so can our lives.  Woo-hoo!

For example, instead of thinking, “I’m lonely because I’m alone,” think, “Lots of people are alone and they’re not all lonely.  If they can do it, so can I.  I’m going to have an hour-long Facetime call with my bff, then write in my journal about all the great things in my life, then lose myself in that great new novel I’ve been meaning to read.  And tomorrow I’m going to adopt a new puppy.  Thank God I’m alone so I can do whatever I want!”  A lot of times we think that the things that have happened to us in our lives or the things that are just a certain way and can’t be changed (circumstances) are the things that dictate our lives.  But what’s really going on here are the thoughts and feelings we have about these circumstances.  It’s not the circumstance, it’s the thoughts we have about that circumstance.  Once we understand that we have the power to change our thoughts, we also realize that we have the power to change our lives.  No situation can MAKE you feel lonely.  This means that even if you’re alone for the rest of your life, you don’t have to feel lonely ever again.  Whew!  Right?

Leslie Kaz, coach for single women

I help single women get from where they are to where they want to be by overcoming their sadness and starting to live their best lives through mindset and lifestyle changes. Contact me to learn how it’s possible to live a single, blissful life.

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