Loneliness: Are You Talking Yourself Into It?
The solution to that feeling of loneliness is always re-connection, though the methods and how easily that is done depends very much on the individual, their personality, interests, confidence levels, past experiences and willingness to be vulnerable in meeting and allowing others to get to know them.
The first step to change is always awareness. Awareness of how you are feeling, noticing your self-talk (recognize any of yours on the list below?), your excuses for avoiding social contact and the stories you are telling yourself.
They wouldn’t want to see me. Anyway, it’s been too long.
S/he is too busy, I don’t want to interrupt. I don’t want to be a burden.
I’ve got nothing to say. And even if I did, they wouldn’t be interested.
I’ve nothing in common with them. They are all too loud/old/young/successful/carefree/XYZ.
I’m too tired. I’ll go next time.
Going out is too much trouble. Besides the 10,000th re-run of M*A*S*H is on.
I don’t have anything suitable to wear. I don’t know what to wear.
I feel fat. My hair needs washing.
It costs too much. What a waste of money!
I never liked XYZ anyway. Why would I want to go there/do that/see them?
What if there’s no one there I know?
I’m too shy. I don’t fit in.
My X hurts. It’s going to rain. I don’t know where it is or how to get there. I’ll get lost, be late, and embarrass myself.
If I go, people will think I’m weak, a loser.
They’re busy. I’ll just send a text or quick email.
S/he is so happy/successful/wealthy now, and wouldn’t want to know me.
I wouldn’t fit in. What if I say the wrong thing? What if they ignore me?
They’ll find out the truth about me. (Sad, lonely, abused)
I don’t like driving at night/in the city/when parking is a hassle. I don’t have transport.
What if everyone else knows what to do, and I don’t?
I’m way too busy. No one understands.
Best not get involved. They don’t need me or my help anyway. Someone else would be better.
I’m too old/too young/too XYZ.
I’m useless anyway.
I’m too dumb to learn.
Oh, I could never do that. What if….?
This is quite a long list, and you’ve probably thought of others you could add!
A sense of belonging and connection, a sense of purpose, feeling needed, and meaningful achievable challenges with others are antidotes to loneliness and low self-worth. Solutions start with each of us consciously connecting with others – smile, greet, offers of help, in person contact, reaching out, volunteering. Talk yourself into connecting. Ask for professional help to re-build your confidence and self-esteem if needed.
p.s. Be aware, social media and electronic communication are a poor substitute for face-to- face talking, touching and connecting. They are open to misinterpretation and can increase loneliness if the social media illusions of reality are believed. e.g. everyone else in the world has the most loving partner/family/pet and is deliriously happy with loads of fabulous caring friends. (Trust me, my 1754 facebook ‘friends’ aren’t really.)
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