How to Deal With Loneliness

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When I was 13 years old, my parents decided to move to the other side of town. What that meant for me was leaving all my friends and transferring to a new school. At such an awkward and insecure season of my life, such a change was devastating. For the first couple of months, I spoke to no one but the teachers, and lunch time was spent sitting alone in the cafeteria. In junior high, to be by yourself during lunch is the equivalent to holding up a huge sign that says “Unpopular. Stay Away.”

My story is not uncommon. Many have gone through periods of loneliness during the adolescent years, but it doesn’t necessarily get easier to deal with as an adult. You can even have a good amount of friends, but in the middle of a crowd of familiar people, you can still feel very alone.

“No one talks to me.”

I know this might be a tough pill to swallow, but often we are lonely because we stay alone. For introverts, it can be hard to initiate the conversation. (Believe, I know. I’m an introvert, who is constantly praying for God to give me courage to talk to others.) Start with a “Hello” but don’t stop there. Have some good conversation starters in mind, like “What do you like to do for fun?” or “What are your favorite foods?” or “Tell me about your kids.” Most people are more than happy to talk to someone who is willing to listen.

“No one is in my stage of life.”

I remember feeling lonely when all my friends were getting married, and I longed to wear my own wedding dress rather than another bridesmaid dress. This loneliness can also set in when all your BFF’s are proudly showing their baby bumps, while you are waiting each month for that positive pregnancy test. Or, you’re figuring out how to juggle all the responsibilities as a single mom, while your married friends can always get help from their husbands.

The fact that we don’t all have the same experiences presents us with a unique opportunity to serve one another. A young woman with no kids can offer babysitting services to a single mom. A married woman can invite younger women for some cooking lessons. A single mom can organize a play date at the park to give other moms a chance to hang out together. In other words, stop focusing on yourself and figure out a way to help someone else. You will find that this mindset will begin to break the chains of loneliness.

All the lonely people, where do they all come from?

“No one understands what I’m going through.”

Are you going through a really difficult trial and you feel like no one can really relate? That’s how I’ve felt, having to deal with the challenges of raising a child with special needs. And maybe your friends really can’t completely understand what it’s like to be in your shoes, but we ought not to fault them for that. And the more that you remain closed up, the less they are able to understand. Often, we are looking for someone who can empathize with us when we should be glad there are people who are willing to sympathize.

It is not easy to step out of the prison of loneliness. However, once you realize that the door is unlocked (and has always been so), you can take the first step outside of that cell. And remember this … even in your loneliest time, you are never really alone. God is there. Go to Him!

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4)

What is your advice for someone who is struggling with loneliness?

 

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17 thoughts on “How to Deal With Loneliness

  1. Definitely reach out to others. When I was lonely, I took a huge leap and invited 7 moms from church over to my house for a “mommy-party.”

    All of us were new or expectant moms, and most of them were connections through a friend and not people I’d met.

    Because of my self-pity, it was hard to take the initiative to do this. However, every woman I invited showed up, and all were as hungry for friends as I was!

    That was the day I met my now-best-friend, and I went on to host a weekly playgroup with these women for the next two years.

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Katie! When we start focusing on others, considering their needs more important than our own, we are blessed even more. And you’re right … often we’ll discover that those we reach out to really needed a friend.

  2. Beautiful!!
    “The fact that we don’t all have the same experiences presents us with a unique opportunity to serve one another.” – This is an AWESOME point of view! 😀

    1. Thank you, Valerie! I’m thankful for examples of women, who really put this in action. They didn’t use their circumstances as an excuse to stay away from everyone. Hope you have a great weekend!

  3. Great post! I struggle a lot with loneliness. Being a stay at home, homeschooling mom in a rural area where homeschooling is like having two heads, where I wasn’t raised, without a home church or close family support system…it’s difficult to connect.
    I don’t have trouble talking to people, but can have trouble getting them involved in my life beyond a conversation. I don’t seem to know how to take a conversation into a playdate or anything else, because I don’t want to be pushy or impose on people. It’s just awkward.
    I’m not sure what advice I have. Something I did when I was young and extraordinarily shy was to look around for someone looking as uncomfortable and alone as I felt, and seek them out to talk to and make them smile. It rarely failed to make me forget to be shy, and resulted in some good friendships.

    1. I did the same thing when I was young, and we ended up being friends throughout high school, and even college roommates. I think what’s also helped me was to remember the conversations that I would have with others, so that I can follow up with them next time. I know it always meant a lot to me when people would come back to me at another time and ask about how I was doing in a certain area that I had shared with them before.

  4. This is really good. I love all your posts, though. 🙂 I think one of the best things I’ve done in the last couple years has been to set dates. If I’m talking to someone about getting together I will say, “Ok, so when? Let’s put it on the calender.” That way I’m making sure it happens. I’ve found that if I don’t actually plan on getting together with people on a planned day it generally doesn’t happen which can make me feel lonely. I need girl time!

    1. Good advice! We should be women of our word. Too often, I’ll say, “Let’s get together.” But forget about it.

  5. Beautiful! Its so true that the more you focus on loneliness, the more lonely you will feel. I’ve been through some lonely stages of life, but reaching out and up is the solution. Great suggestions!

    1. It’s not easy to reach out when you feel so overcome with loneliness, but once you do, God blesses it, doesn’t he? Thanks, Rachael! Have a good weekend with your little crew!

  6. I absolutely love your blog and I love this post. I can relate to every single thing you wrote here. I have struggled with loneliness lately. We are in the middle of finding a new church, one of my best friends moved to Texas (and I live in NJ), and I haven’t really felt close to anyone lately, besides my husband (which I’m grateful for). I think that this post helped me to see that I can open myself up more and not immediately count people out because they are not in the same stage of life as me. There is always common ground to be found or ways we can be beneficial to each other. I actually love people, love socializing, and am excited to be finding a church closer to home where I can connect with people. Great post.

    1. Thank you! You’re very sweet. I think I’ve shared with you that we’ve had a similar situation years ago, attending a church that was quite a distance from where we live. When we moved back to our old church (having been gone for a while), everything seemed different. People had their own circle of friends, and we felt like outsiders, even though we knew people. The less we focused on ourselves and more on others, the more blessed we were. Praying God will bring you deep and encouraging friendships wherever He has you.

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