We all experience it. That feeling of feeling alone. Disconnected. Solitary. Loneliness hits like a bag of bricks. Other times, it creeps up like clouds rolling in for an afternoon rain shower. It can happen when you’re in the midst of a hundred people. In fact, it’s when I’ve felt the most alone – in the presence of others (usually when the event involves watching sports). It’s also felt of course when you are actually alone, with no one in your presence.
I saw this article in my head and wanted to write it out to share with you now. Also, if you are feeling lonely, you can always, always reach out to me. Email, Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn, Instagram … I’m easily accessible and open for good conversation. Here we go:
1. Reach out! Call your friends. Have you been that person that always declines, cancels, flakes out? Or waits to be invited somewhere in order to leave your couch? Take charge of your own life. Turn that ship around, right now. Call your friends and invite them out to dinner. Apologize for your prior flakiness and get on with living your life. Ask questions and listen. Engage in conversation with friends and strangers alike. We are all craving connection. Be the person you want to experience in the world.
2. Facebook Events. Have you noticed the new icon at the bottom of your Facebook screen on your phone? I know you have, You spend hours a day on there, mindlessly scrolling. What are you looking for in that newsfeed anyway? Take five minutes and look through the events in your area that are open to the public. Mark the ones you are interested in and commit to some of them. They’ll integrate into your calendar on your phone and off you GO TO THEM!
3. Meetup.com: What are your hobbies and interests? Have a knack for mentoring others? Sports? Dogs? Spirituality? Witchcraft? Bible study? Live music? LGBTQA? Sign up, sign in and go to some events. Your tribe is waiting for you.
4. Get in your head. Get out of your comfort zone. Why are you feeling lonely? Is it because you are truly lonely and wish to be connecting with other humans? Or is it because you feel you should be out doing things on Saturday night with friends instead of sitting home knitting yourself winter socks? Do you feel lonely because you are bored, or do you feel lonely because you want to be in a relationship with a significant other?
5. Listen. Make eye contact. Engage with others. Maintain awareness of your body language and take note of how interesting people conduct their bodies in conversation and engagement with others. Practice listening for the sake of hearing what others have to say, not for the sake of responding. At the core of loneliness, in my experience, is a lack of genuine conversation due to myself being closed off to others.
6. Smile at strangers. Talk to strangers. Every stranger is a new friend you’ve not yet bonded with on a human level. “Your shoes are awesome! What kind are those?” “That bag is amazing, did you make that?” Compliments go a very long way. “Your smile lights up this entire place!” “I love your hair!” It’s essentially a verbal hug, which is what most people are more comfortable with receiving at first. I don’t recommend hugging strangers in most social settings … it weirds them out. Start with a smile and a compliment, strike up a conversation while you wait in line at Starbucks. Ask for help.
7. Start social circles – there are many people out there, in your own neighborhood, town, county, place of work, church, spiritual center, mom-group … they want to connect. It’s why we are all here. You’re not the only one that’s lonely. People get caught up in marriage and parenthood and lose themselves, it’s life, for millions of beautiful souls. Take charge and invite others out for drinks and talking.
8. Talk to at least one new person a day. Most people will be a single interaction and that’s okay! Improve their lives with your interaction, in the smaller of ways. It could be the only pleasant interaction they have that day. Some conversations will lead to an exchange of contact information and those might lead to business relationships, friendships, dates and the like. Keep an open mind and power through the awkwardness.
9. Meditate & dive into your soul. Do you WANT to be alone? Are you manifesting the alone time for reasons of working on your business or hobbies? Have you analyzed your life from a place of self-love, to determine why you are feeling lonely and if it’s important for this part of your journey? Get off your phone and sit with yourself. Turn off the TV. Take yourself on a date to the park and lay under the stars. Listen to your thoughts, observe what comes into your awareness. Journal it and subsequently, change your thought patterns by catching the ones that don’t feel great & toss those back out. Thank them for their service and release them. This takes consistent effort, especially in the beginning, as it’s changing your thinking patterns. After a few weeks of this, it comes natural and most of the deprecating, negative, unhealthy patterns will be long gone. Loving, happy, healthy, soul-nutritious thoughts and feelings will fill your mind.
A short story on my journey to leaving my comfort zone behind: A kind couple struck up a conversation with me Friday night at a community event I went to, alone. Two major things happened in our conversation: They invited me to church about two minutes in, and half an hour into the conversation, laughed about having traps in their yards for the bunnies that are eating their expensive landscaping. It took immense self-control to keep my composure and not ask “but what about all of God’s creatures? Do you celebrate Easter?” … needless to say, I did not feel connected to them on a spiritual level. But, did offer a summer mentorship/internship/part-time job to their daughter. We can only control our own thoughts, words, actions, tone, body language, beliefs.
C’est la vie.
Live Good, Live Well
This post was originally published on the Shft Blog and is republished here with permission.