“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” ~Mother Teresa
EDITORS NOTE: The following is a guest post written by Nelu Mbingu.
If you are lonely, then you need to know that you are definitely not alone.
Our world is more connected than ever before thanks to technology. We have more ways of interacting with people than we know how to use well.
Yet, more and more of us find ourselves having to endure the quiet pain of loneliness.
According to the Huffington Post, loneliness might be one of the biggest public health concerns of this age and it is actually linked to an increased chance of mortality.
Indeed, it is becoming increasingly important that we all learn how to deal with this painful feeling.
7 Ways to Put a Stop to Loneliness
1. Be determined to actively end your loneliness
It’s sometimes easy to feel powerless when it comes to loneliness, and we often end up passively waiting for someone else to make us feel less lonely. You may feel that your loneliness indicates that nobody is willing to connect with you and there is nothing you can do about.
But that is far from the truth. Ending loneliness and becoming connected to your world is something that you can and should pursue actively. You need to make a decision to consciously work towards becoming less lonely.
2. Identify reasons why you are lonely
We all feel lonely for different reasons. Some of us have no one to interact with on a consistent basis and that’s why we feel lonely. And some of us are constantly surrounded by people but we don’t feel connected to them so loneliness lingers in our hearts.
You may feel that the people in your life don’t share your thoughts and ideas, or that they don’t understand you. You may be lonely because you feel that nobody cares about your specific needs and desires.
Whatever the reason, you need to identify it so you know exactly how to handle your loneliness and what to focus your attention as you work to improve that part of your life.
3. Be interested in people
Start to cultivate an interest in the people around you and they may reciprocate that interest. When you talk to people, be fully present in the conversation, try to listen and understand the other person’s thoughts and ideas.
Forget your own fear that people are not interested in you and be fully present in the moment at each one of your interactions with other people.
Even if the level of interest is not reciprocated, you will walk away feeling more satisfied with the interaction, because you will have connected with another human being.
4. Take Initiative in your existing relationships
You don’t always have to wait for somebody else to invite you somewhere. You can be the one that initiates the dinner or the movie plans. Try to create situations in which you can spend quality time with the people already in your life so you enhance your closeness with them.
In other words, work with what you already have.
5. Be open about your thoughts, ideas, and desires
People who are chronically lonely tend to fall into destructive mental habits and one of them is being overly withdrawn. They try to avoid the pain of not being understood and being disconnected by not giving people an opportunity to understand and connect with them.
It’s an ironic situation where you desire connection but you’re also unconsciously preventing it from happening by not reaching out and communicating with others.
So the solution is to share your thoughts and feelings with others and to do so openly and fearlessly. Make people understand you instead of passively waiting for them to do so.
6. Be a pleasant presence
When you engage with others, try your best to be as positive as you can and to make people enjoy your company. Don’t be overly critical and judgmental, but try to be vibrant and open instead.
If people enjoy your company, they will seek it more often, so by being a pleasant presence, you set the foundation for long, enduring relationships.
7. Find people who share your interests
Whether it’s coin collecting or video games, everybody is interested in something. And just as there are many interests, there are many people who share those interests. Find what interests you and connect with others on that basis.
Luckily, with the internet available to us, the search will be much easier for you.
Ultimately, relationships are everything. The people in your life matter more than wealth and success. Don’t hesitate to work on your relationships and your connection with others if you feel they need work. Loneliness is a painful feeling.
But like any pain, the earlier you take steps to correct the cause, the earlier you will be able to replace the gray fog of loneliness with the bright sunlight of happiness.
Nelu Mbingu is a self-improvement blogger, the founder of Lessons From Everyday Life. She writes thought-provoking articles on a variety of topics relating to personal growth and social success. Visit her blog and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.