As the weather changes for the worse outside and loneliness can creep in while you’re cooped up in your home in front of the television at 7 p.m., you begin casually perusing online. After reading the latest celebrity gossip and checking your email for the umpteenth time, you find yourself on social media, quietly stalking your “friends’” profiles.
It begins innocently enough with checking out new status updates and scanning through the latest photos and posts, such as, backyard barbecues, tailgates at the local football game, photos of birthday parties, and holiday festivities shared with family and friends.
You see the genuine happiness upon your friends’ faces and realize that they are truly enjoying the company of others. You see their spirit and recognize their contentment and secretly wish that you could experience the same. And in this process, you start to wonder.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
It’s easy to look at someone else life and ask questions, like “Why Do THEY Get to Be So Happy?” or “Why do THEY get to enjoy life and experience the pleasure of being with others?” Meanwhile, you’re stuck alone peering into the world from the outside perspective of your computer. “What did I do wrong?” You start to consider yourself as less than, such as less important, less esteemed, and less privileged. You question why everything in your world leaves you with loneliness.
First Off, Don’t Believe Everything You See
Those photos are little moments of time wrapped in glossy paper and adorned in perfect little bows. Moments that were specifically chosen to be shared because they represent some aspect of the public persona in which your friends wish to create. A moment that they hope will influence your perception as to who they are as a person.
Secondly, You Can Find Happiness on Your Own
Everyone has the opportunity to create rich relationships in their lives, however some people don’t chose to invest in people to create those rich relationships. Consequently, they are not active and present. If we all took the time to call that friend to say hello each time they came to mind, or dropped off those extra cookies next door for the elderly neighbor next door, we could have these bonds. We could have these rich relationships that lead to a satisfying and fulfilling lives. The lives that many of us yearn for.
Find People Like This to Combat Loneliness
Finding ways to stay mentally healthy isn’t hard to do if you have the right support system in place to combat it.
Find Someone with Similar Experiences
See if there are others who have experienced a similar past to you. Maybe you grew up in an urban area, or a farming community. Maybe you grew up surrounded by the arts, or maybe you grew up in the church. There are so many different types of families and upbringings that you are certain to find someone somewhere that you can connect to in some way. You just have to put yourself out there.
Find Someone Who has Similar Interests
Start by looking for a community group that matches your hobbies. There are book clubs, art classes, intramural sports and other activities where you can unite with someone over a common passion.
Find Someone You Can Trust
Set a time to meet with a dear friend or close family member, someone who you can speak to in confidence and who is willing to listen to you as you process the feelings of isolation and doubt.
Find Someone Who Supports You
Identify informal supports first. These are individuals who choose to be in your life and would remain in your life without pay. Examples include family members, neighbors, church friends, and so on. If you feel that you may need additional support, consider looking for a therapist or support group to assist you. Seeking out the aid from a member of the clergy may be beneficial as well depending on your belief system.
Find Someone You Aspire to Become
Take the time to consider someone in your life that you look up to. Someone you admire. Maybe a fellow mama if you are an expectant parent, a coworker who displays leadership skills, or a neighbor that can teach you the art of contentment. Finding someone to aspire to means that you have considered their wisdom and feel that you would benefit from their influence in your life.
Find Someone with Similar Beliefs
If you are one with a religious affiliation, seek out others who share the same. Attend a church service, join a bible study, or visit a praise and worship night. Be confident in knowing that you already have a common thread with these individuals and not only can you improve your faith, but also these relationships as well.
When considering who to have enter your life, keep in mind that you should only accept those who would be positive influences. When you are living in a dark place, inviting more darkness is only going to make that isolation more pervasive. Allow light to enter through the joy of others, through the hope of others, and through the faith of others. These individuals cannot make you change, however, they can provide you with the motivation to end your loneliness and become more social.
Be bold and put yourself out there! Allow others to see who you really are and should off that magnificent, amazing, and lovable you.
Are you still struggling to stop your loneliness on your own? Please, visit our Mental Health Therapists to find out how to get help.
Tracy Glantz, MS, is an Educational Therapist at CHI Health.