“Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness. Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for.” —Dag Hammarskjold
How to understand loneliness
In our previous post, we recognized loneliness as an unpleasant emotional response to isolation. Loneliness does not depend on how many friends or relationships you have. But it may be difficult to see the isolation of loneliness as a “mental” isolation, not 8′ x 6′ physical prison cell isolation. To illustrate, please read Stanley’s story:
“I was a “happy loner” before I met my wife. We were one of those “odd couples” from the start: Roxanne loved to socialize, and most often preferred going out instead of spending a quiet night at home. I was the opposite, but at first greatly appreciated my wife’s “nudge” into social interaction, numerous friends and acquaintances, and countless “couples activities.” I made some good friends, and did my best at “networking.” But despite all the social activity, I felt empty. I felt lonely. I missed just hanging out with my old friends. Worse yet, with the upcoming holidays, I was facing endless parties and holiday activities, all while feeling isolated and alone.” —Stanley Burns
Stanley’s story illustrates what many believe is a primary cause of loneliness: A disconnect. When we feel disconnected from friends, from the things we enjoy…our passions in life, we often become lonely. Delving a bit deeper into this debilitating emotion, studies have revealed that the disconnect that triggers loneliness is the gap between what we expect and desire, compared to what we feel we have.
For instance, television ads promote the giving of lavish jewelry to our loved ones during the holidays. (Marketing departments have spent years studying how to make us feel like we should have a particular product or lifestyle, or should look a certain way, or should be surrounded by friends in huge pool parties.) The gap between the realization of the “norm” as presented by Madison Avenue, and our perceived reality (“I don’t have enough money for jewelry; I don’t even have anyone to give jewelry to!”) is the poison seed of loneliness we plant and let flourish in our minds.
In Stanley’s case, his loneliness was due to his perceived disconnect from his old friends and his old lifestyle. What Stanley needed was a change in MINDSET, and a path to connect or even re-connect with the things causing his loneliness.
Loneliness depends entirely on the subjective quality of your relationships–on whether you FEEL emotionally and/or socially disconnected from those around you. Are you feeling disconnected from your loved ones?
Find out how to beat loneliness and transform your life by reading James Justin’s newest book, MINDSET, available at CoachJamesJustin.com, Amazon, or wherever books are sold.
Research, backed by the experience of many psychologists, scholars and counselors suggests that “proactive coping” is an effective technique for decreasing or eliminating loneliness. What this means is that you actually have to do something…ANYTHING! Just start.
You’re empowered to achieve your heart desires. However, you must first take the first step. Get moving and take action toward your goals and your life will be transformed forever!
Top 3 Action Items to Crush Loneliness DURING the Holidays
1. DON’T WAIT for the New Year to organize, de-clutter, or any of the other productive things we put off doing until after the New Year. Keep your mind occupied constructively. Get a jump start. Be organized and get ready to take 2018 by storm ON January 1! Remember, be proactive in your increased sense of connection to everything (people, hobbies, volunteer service…everything) during the holidays. Fill emptiness with connection.
2. MOVE! Again, don’t wait until January, when the gyms and fitness centers will be jammed with “new” fitness fanatics, to start your exercise program. Start walking. It’s seldom too cold to go for a walk if you’re dressed appropriately. Be open to CONNECTIONS with neighbors you encounter.
3. Read! Cognitive reappraisal is recognized as a consistently helpful strategy for mental health. It is basically a way to change the way you think about something, or changing your MINDSET. If your MINDSET triggers negative thoughts such as, “Nobody will invite me over for Christmas,” it will likely be a lonely day. If you change your MINDSET to, “Christmas is a perfect day to avoid crowds downtown,” Your Christmas may not only be NOT lonely, but possibly even productive. Your success, joy and fulfillment begin with developing a growth MINDSET. Find out how by reading MINDSET (available on our website, Amazon or wherever books are sold). Also, visit CoachJamesJustin.com to request a FREE results coaching session today! To help you jump-start your journey to lasting success, joy and fulfillment.