Many of us have had to navigate feelings of loneliness at one point or another. This loneliness may materialise as a small tug when you’re sitting by yourself, or it could be more of an overwhelming feeling that never quite leaves you. Either way, it’s important to acknowledge and address these feelings of loneliness in healthy ways. And what better way to deal with these feelings than to ask a professional how they do it.
Sitting with loneliness
Many of us may find it difficult to navigate loneliness, especially with the rise of dating apps, social media and living increasingly isolated lives.
There are people in relationships feeling lonely and longing for more. There are people out of relationships who are aching for connection, for companionship, for touch, for someone to share experiences with. There are people who have friends, who are choosing to stay home alone, frozen, all the while feeling like there must be more to life than this.
If you take a moment to be deeply honest with yourself, when the ache of loneliness arrives at your door, (hey, maybe it never left) – what is it that you first want to reach for?
The mind’s kneejerk reaction to feeling lonely can come in many forms – seeking connection through dating apps, pouring one too many a drink, messaging an ex-partner, or falling into escapism and spiked serotonin boosts through guilty pastimes – however, in these moments there is an opportunity to reconnect with a former part of yourself that can be missed if the pang of loneliness is quickly suppressed and wiped over.
Perhaps, if one can lean on Greek mythology, the answer to loneliness lies in the concept of wholeness within oneself, and a reconnecting to the original self. Simply put, loneliness can be an opportunity to welcome in wholeness and connection without having to leave the room, your relationship, or your self-esteem in tatters behind you. This means doing things that will bring you home and centre your mind.
Surrender to your feelings
What would happen if – instead of giving in to distraction, you instead allowed the feelings to wash over you and through you? – Would there be no overspill, no further feelings to draw out or to endure night after night? No ongoing longing or pain once you truly gave loneliness and all its aches and pains a seat at the table? Surrendering to emotion and letting it undulate through your body can be an empowering experience. This process of embracing what is, allows the feelings to subside more quickly, by flowing through the open path of least resistance.
Coming back home to yourself looks different depending on who you are, what you value, and what makes you feel good and full.
Some thought starters include:
- Surround yourself in nature, go to a certain place that is healing or meaningful for you
- Call a good friend, who makes you laugh, smile, feel understood
- Read an inspiring, moving, or interesting book
- Watch a series, movie or documentary that interests you
- Listen to a great podcast that makes you feel like you are a part of the conversation
- Get embodied and dance to your favourite music
- Join an online workshop or go to an in-person event where you don’t know anyone
- Workout with a trainer or join a group class either online or in-person
- Call friends and or family overseas
- Lastly, there is a powerful way to reconnect with the original self, and that is via therapeutic work and in particular inner child work, available via some counsellors, psychotherapists, and life coaches.
The relationship you have with yourself is arguably the most important relationship that you will ever have in your life. It is certainly the longest relationship you will ever have, and just like any great relationship, the more you invest into it, the more you will get out of it.
This article was written by Bree Nicholls, Founder and Director of The Being Way, a consciously curated coaching method that blends the world of coaching, counselling, psychotherapy and mindfulness.