4 Reasons Why You Are Lonely and How to Overcome Them
Why Are You So Lonely?
There are many reasons why someone feels lonely. Trust me, we all have been there and it passes. That's the good thing about it. Loneliness is just a phase or just a passing moment, and there's no reason why you should not be able to overcome it. In my case, I am living abroad far from my friends and family, and I do not speak the language, making it difficult to interact with people. Sometimes I feel lonely and homesick, and I know there are numerous others out there who are in a similar situation and who experience some bouts of loneliness from time to time.
For some people, loneliness becomes very difficult to cope with and may lead to depression (which is when you really need to seek professional help), but for most of us, loneliness is fleeting and can be overcome with the proper mindset and some lifestyle changes.
Why Do We Get Lonely?
There are multiple reasons why a person experiences loneliness at some point. Here are some of them:
1. Losing Someone
This is the most difficult part to cope with. When you lose someone (either a family member, a spouse, a friend, or a pet) you would normally feel so alone and that your world seemed much smaller than it already is. Losing someone can mean a death of a loved one, a relationship break-up, a friend cutting you off, or a loved one moving away.
It is the type of loneliness that really eats at your soul and if you are not able to overcome it, it will most probably lead to depression. What makes it hard is the fact that these people leave you with an emotional void that seems impossible to fill. You always remember how they used to smile, laugh, greet you when you come home and you tend to relive all the good times you shared with the person (or with a pet) and now that they're gone, you have no idea how to continue living without them.
When you are isolated, you feel like you don't belong anywhere. This feeling affects your self-esteem and your fear of rejection kicks in thinking that people may not be interested to listen to anything you have to say. This is very true especially to the younger generations nowadays. People are so addicted to their phones that talking with each other is almost a thing of the past. When you talk to someone and that person doesn't even look at you, it makes you feel unimportant. If you feel unimportant, you feel isolated and that's where loneliness comes in.
When you isolate yourself, you find that you don't have anyone to talk to and you start to think that your life is wasting away while the people around you are busy living their lives and you don't want to ruin that for them. You fear that when you start to open up, they will not be able to understand or they won't have time to listen. Isolation makes you feel alone and when you realize you are alone, you become lonely.
3. Lack of Personal Satisfaction
It happened to me once or twice before. I felt like I was not doing good enough and I wasn't reaching my goals. It made me feel like I wasn't growing as a person. That made me feel frustrated about myself and for a moment, I was lonely.
Today, I know a lot of people are also experiencing the same thing. Maybe, social media is to blame about the utter lack of self-satisfaction especially in today's generation. A lot of people tend to compare their lives with others in their social media accounts and whenever they see that almost everyone seems to have their lives in order, they compare it with theirs and so they feel unaccomplished and frustrated.
When you can't seem to find satisfaction in the things you already have and when you feel you are not as good as everyone else (which by the way is false reality) then you start to question your worth as a person. When you loose touch of reality, you fail to see and appreciate what you have and this makes you lose your self. If you don't believe in yourself, it follows that you also don't feel happy with yourself.
When you leave your family behind to work abroad or some place else, it is normal to feel homesick. You miss the weather, the customs, the language, the food and the songs. I get homesick sometimes but it is not that difficult because I can always communicate with my family and friends, thanks to social media apps on my phone. What I usually struggle with is the food and the flavors I miss from home. Finding alternatives to some tropical ingredients in the Netherlands is not always easy and I don't always find them in Asian stores.
Getting used to the cold and gloomy weather is also difficult for me. But what really makes it challenging is the language. I don't speak good Dutch yet and that's why I am fairly limited as to what I can do and who I meet. Dutch people speak good English, don't get me wrong but they easily switch back to Dutch whenever they talk to each other and that's when I feel left out and that's not their fault. For me, it makes me shy around people knowing that I cannot really understand everything they have to say and that makes me lonely sometimes. But yeah in a few years time, with more practice and exposure, my Dutch will get better but for now, I just have to accept that my opportunities are limited.
I'm sure a lot of people can relate to my situation and it is normal to feel homesick. That's is why it is good to maintain connection with your roots while integrating.
How to Overcome Loneliness
1. Be Involved: When you are new to a place, it will help you tremendously if you join organizations or groups with people who share your interests. Adapting to your new environment is much easier if you do it with people who can share some insights and give sound advice on how you can better adjust. If you love sports, join a sports club in your community, if you have nothing else to do and if you love animals, you can volunteer at a shelter. If you keep yourself busy, not only do you meet new people and make new valuable acquaintances, you also have less time to think about the things that make you miss home. Go out there and be involved. It is difficult at first but you will thank yourself later.
2. Explore your area: Being new to a place is exciting. It gives you plenty of opportunities to explore and discover. Some of the places to check out for are: Familiar brand shops, local markets, stores where you can find local products from home, museums, parks, a beach, a public swimming pool or a sports arena. You can also check for restaurants and bars you'd likely go to either alone or with others.
3. Communicate: The first step to making friends is to communicate. A simple greeting or a genuine smile can go a long way. Learn how to start a conversation. Use social media to your advantage and reach out to your friends and family back home. Constant communication with your loved ones is proven to help ease loneliness and instead helps you gain new inspiration and strength.
4. Surround yourself with positive people: If you are in pain or when you're feeling down because you feel you are not good enough, the people in your life who truly care for you will notice and they will be there for you to listen. Surrounding yourself with positive people makes you see the good in every situation even if it does not look very promising. Positive people uplift and inspire others. If you have negative people around you, their negative energy will rub on you making you feel worse. Loneliness is contagious so avoid people who have a negative mentality when you are feeling lonely.
5. Allow yourself to grieve: When you lose a loved one either a person or a pet, it is always devastating. When your spouse or partner breaks-up with you, it is almost impossible to function normally. You lose a part of yourself when you lose someone important and that's normal. So allow yourself to grieve and accept what happened. It will take time but it will heal. Never ever try to pretend that you are okay because clearly it is not okay. You shouldn't be okay because normal people with normal feelings and attachments don't feel okay when they lose someone. Take your time to grieve and slowly, you will be able to move forward past the loneliness and pain.
6. Learn to appreciate yourself more: If you are happy with yourself, you will not be easily affected by everything you see on social media. You know yourself and you accept you for who you are. You appreciate your friends, family and your life in general. If you know you are loved and cared for by your social circle, you feel content knowing that whatever happens, you are not alone because you have something not everyone has and that's very empowering. As the saying goes "you cannot be lonely if you are happy with the person you are alone with". It means, that if you love yourself, even if you are alone, you are not lonely.
7. Don't dwell on false reality: Social media is good if you use it to connect with people who are important to you but it can also drag you away from the people who are next to you. Learn to let go of your phone and prioritize real connections. Talk to people and look at them while engaging in a conversation. Don't believe everything you see, read or hear on social media. Just because someone looks happy and perfect doesn't mean they are in reality. Some of them don't even exist and are just a product of artificial intelligence. Always remind yourself that you don't need to post everything that is happening in your life (good or bad) on social media. Focus on what's real, because that's what truly affects your life.
8. Make some healthy lifestyle changes: Sometimes, we feel better when we change something about ourselves. If you feel something needs to be done, do it. If you want to look good and be more confident about yourself, go to the gym or change your hairstyle or outfit. If you feel like you are gaining weight, change something in your diet or engage in a different hobby. Whatever it is you want to do to feel good about yourself, as long as it is healthy, do it. You can even adopt a pet if you like. Sometimes, a little change is all it takes to overcome loneliness.
© 2019 Jennifer Gonzales