Are you feeling alone in life?
Does it seem like you have no one to talk to but yourself?
Is it impossible for you to make friends, while everyone else is having a good time?
The loneliest time in my life was after my divorce. Not only did I withdraw from my social circles and professional colleagues, I withdrew from my family as well.
I kept to myself, hurting and lonely.
This went on for a couple of years. Then I got tired of being lonely.
You, too, may be experiencing loneliness in your life.
Maybe a rocky event has left you isolated and alone.
Or maybe you’ve always been a quiet and reserved person who enjoys spending time by yourself, but now you’re thinking that you’ve had too much alone time.
It’s time to start meeting people and letting others into your life.
Yes, you can still enjoy your alone time, but if you’d like to feel a little less isolated, here are 10 ways to overcome loneliness:
1. Learn to enjoy your alone time.
“There is a very secret sweetness about being alone that you will miss if you fear it so much.” – Iyanla Vanzant
Before you can be comfortable with other people, you must be comfortable with yourself.
How are you doing on your own?
Yes, you’re lonely, but are you enjoying the loneliness?
“How do I enjoy loneliness?” you ask.
Find activities you enjoy doing by yourself. Visit places you want to see. Attend cultural events or the museum on your own.
Can you enjoy the experience by yourself? Can you do something you’re passionate about and have a good time doing so?
If don’t enjoy alone time, take part—by yourself—in activities that interest you. Try to enjoy yourself.
Get excited about and wrapped up in topics and activities you like.
Before you bring others into your life, find ways to appreciate your alone time.
2. Be comfortable with your thoughts and feelings.
Take note of the thoughts you have and the emotions you experience when you’re alone.
Are you comfortable sitting with them? Do they overwhelm you?
To observe your thoughts, create down time during which you do nothing. Practice silence. Become mindful of your thoughts and emotions.
Watch them wash over you like waves in an ocean. You don’t need to attach yourself to these thoughts or become a prisoner of your emotions. Let them pass. Be a silent observer.
If either your thoughts or your emotions overwhelms you, write them down or talk to someone about what you’re experiencing. Learn to manage your thoughts and emotions when you’re alone.
Acknowledge them. Feel them. Embrace them. And be at peace with them.
3. Confront your mindset.
You are worthy and people want to know you.
Before you try to meet people and cure your loneliness, know that you have a couple of mental hurdles to get past first.
If for any reason you believe you’re not good enough or worthy enough or lovable enough, you have a dilemma.
If you’re not okay with yourself, work on that issue before you meet others. No one else will complete you, fulfill you or make you whole.
No friendship or relationship will be enough for you if you’re not enough for yourself.
Remind yourself about your good qualities. Tell yourself the reasons you’re a good person and you’re worthy of forming relationships with others.
Take steps to improve your relationship with yourself. Check out the free ebook I wrote about this very topic.
Throughout your life, others have valued your personality, uniqueness and friendship. Today, people will want to know you because you’ll be there for them. You’ll give others your time, your interest, your companionship and your friendship.
You do have something to give others and people do want to know you.
Anyone will want to meet someone who is kind, giving and compassionate.
4. Everyone is connected.
Another way to shift your mindset and meet new people is to realize that our egos have built walls around us and separated us from others.
If you believe that we are all one people and that we are all connected in this world, you will have an easier time talking to others.
If you look at the connectedness of nature, you know that we are all one in nature.
Your attempts to form relationships are simply acts of reaching out to another spirit—another human just like you, someone who lives in the same world you do.
My point here is that other people are not strangers – they’re neighbors, they’re friends and they’re people traveling on the same journey you are.
Find a way to step out of your comfort zone and meet someone new.
5. Do what you enjoy. Look for others to enjoy it with.
If you enjoy a particular sport or hobby, continue participating in it or, if you’ve stopped doing it, take it up again.
Instead of doing it alone, look for groups of people who are doing it together.
There’s no easier way to break the ice than by participating in something you’re passionate about.
Even if you’re not enjoying the company of others, or if you’re feeling awkward about being there, at least you’ll enjoy the activity.
You can find people who enjoy your passion in Meetup groups, in Facebook groups, or at the local community center. You can also look for notices on library bulletin boards or other community announcement boards.
6. Say “yes” when your mind defaults to “no.”
If you’re open to meeting other people, be prepared to say “yes” when you receive an invitation to an event.
Be prepared to go to events you normally wouldn’t attend.
Be prepared to go to events where you might not know any of the other guests.
Attend events you normally wouldn’t.
Get out of your house even if your every thought throbs with the word “no.”
Attend events with an open heart and an open mind. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll never go back. The best thing that can happen is that you’ll meet new people and form a new group of friends.
Taking a risk will pay off with less loneliness in your life.
7. Go where the people are.
Look for lectures, community gatherings, parades and talks.
Look for topics and speakers that interest you.
There’s always time before and after an event to meet new people.
Be more proactive in searching for community gatherings. Once you find them, attend them. Once again, look for topics that interest you so that you’ll be around a community of people you share interests with.
8. It’s not a popularity contest.
Remember, your goal isn’t to meet as many people as you can.
Unless you’re a politician running for office, your goal should be to have quality conversations with a few people who can become your friends.
Also, large groups of people may intimidate you.
Chat with a small circle of people and attend gatherings or events with the goal of forming quality friendships.
You don’t need to meet 50 people—you just need a connection with one.
9. Spend more time with the people already in your life.
Engage with the people you see on a daily basis.
Every day you encounter—and ignore—countless people in the subway or at work. How about talking to them for a change?
How about reaching out to friends, family and acquaintances and building up those friendships?
You get out of relationships what you put into them.
Make an effort to call, reach out, email and visit people already in your life. Start upping your commitment to people you already know (as long as you enjoy their company, of course!).
10. Don’t play the comparison game.
Focus on your life and your desire to make friends.
Try not to compare yourself to “popular people” who seem to have it all, including lots of friends.
Appearances can be deceiving.
Your friends who are surrounded by other people might have shallow and passing relationships.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter what others are doing. Don’t let their experiences inhibit you or make you feel bad.
In that regard, keep an eye on what your “popular friends” are doing on social media. If their Facebook feeds and Instagram accounts are annoying, hide those feeds so that you don’t have to keep up with their lives.
You don’t need a lot of friends to break the wall of loneliness – you just need a few.
The bottom line on loneliness: you can break out of it by taking action, getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people.
Take the risk of breaking through your mental barriers; a richer and more fulfilling life awaits you.
Vishnu coaches people to transition to more meaningful work and live a more purposeful life. For the ebook, “11 ways to discover your highest purpose and transition out of your profession”, visit www.vishnusvirtues.com