“The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we are alone.”- Mitch Albom
Feeling lonely when you spend time by yourself is normal. Being alone is not the same as being lonely. You can be lonely anywhere. It is possible to feel lonely even when you are surrounded by people you know and love. If we take no action to address our feelings and remain in that state of mind, thosefeelings can start to have a negative impact on our well-being.
Solitude is better than loneliness
Everyone needs to have their own space and to feel connected. People are happy and enjoy their own company when they are in the state of solitude. When you spend time to understand yourself, you will have a greater awareness about yourself. Solitude is self-chosen. Great ideas, innovations, and creativity are a result of solitary minds.
Feeling lonely and abandoned can lead to depression. Loneliness is feeling isolated and abandoned even when you are surrounded by people at home, work, and social gatherings. It makes you long for the company of others. Loneliness is never a good feeling and is the total opposite of solitude.
Transform Loneliness into Solitude
If you make a conscious effort, you can find a way to convert your loneliness into solitude. Making connections and developing closeness are some ways you can overcome loneliness.
Kira Asatryan advocates developing closeness in our relationships with others and ourselves. This closeness works as an antidote to loneliness.
Likewise, Kory Floyd believes in overcoming loneliness by making meaningful connections with others. In The Loneliness Cure, he proposes that it is the absence of being connected that makes us feel lonely and shares 6 strategies to overcome loneliness.
Tips to Combat Loneliness
1. Be open to intimacy. Express yourself to encourage more affection from others.
2. Invite, rather than demand. If you are seen showing affection and make others
feel it is natural, they will be encouraged to follow you.
3. Acknowledge the affection you have already received.
4. Nurture affection from a variety of sources. Open yourself to a wider range of
close connections rather than depending only on one person.
5. Avoid toxic affection. Refuse offers of affection that come with unacceptable
behaviour or unwanted obligations.
Lastly, keep your expectations optimistic but realistic. Change is possible, but also
be realistic and do not expect loneliness to be resolved overnight.
Text: Meenakshi Nandivada
The Loneliness Cure: Six Strategies for Finding Real Connections in Your Life
Call no.: 158.2 FLO
All rights reserved. Avon, Massachusetts: Adams Media, 2015.
Stop Being Lonely: Three Simple Steps to Developing Close Friendships and Deep Relationships
Call no.: 158.2 ASA
All rights reserved. Novato, California: New World Library, 2016.
The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone
Call no.: 700.19 LAI -[ART]
All rights reserved. New York: Picador, 2016.
How to be Alone
Call no.: 155.92 MAI
All rights reserved. New York: Picador, 2014.
This article is first published on Time of Your Life: Good Reads for the 50plus magazine, published by the National Library Board (NLB). Read the magazine here.
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