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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Overcoming loneliness



Overcoming loneliness

To feel lonely is to be overwhelmed by an unbearable feeling of separateness, at a very deep level.

From our earliest childhood, as awareness of our separateness dawns on us, the need to seek relationships begins. We need other people throughout our lives. And all of us, at various times, may feel anxious, abandoned, unloved and insecure. In other words, when we feel lonely. It's possible to overcome loneliness, if you really want to. But it will take time and energy. You will need to think about why you feel this way and what steps you can take to overcome it.


Learning to be alone

Are you someone who panics when left alone? Do you feel an overwhelming need to seek others out just to avoid inner loneliness? Then, you might need to spend sometime learning to feel relaxed in your own company. But it will mean facing difficult feelings that you've been trying to avoid. You may need to focus to on what kind of person you really are, and what you really want to do in life.

Techniques like yoga, meditation, and even just keeping a journal, can help you to relax and develop a calmer sense of yourself. It helps,as well, to spend time on something that really interests you. Focus carefully on the pleasure it gives you and feel how time spent alone can be rewarding. Writing about the experience in your journal can help to strengthen the feelings of reward you are getting from that time spent alone

Once you can be alone with yourself, you will probably find that your relationships with other people start improve. You will come across as much less overwhelming and you will find you can reach out to others in a much calmer way. You can begin to take a genuine interest in them and what is going on around you and them in the world. In turn, that will make you more interesting to them.

Learning to be with others

Do you spend a lot of time alone because you feel uncomfortable in the company of others? If so, you may need to learn a little more about forming relationships.

If your difficulties in relating to other people are to do with setting boundaries, saying 'no' and expressing your feelings, you may find assertiveness training helpful. Social skills training might also help. You should be able to find local coaches and courses to help you through an internet search or at your local library.

Take small steps at first and try not get too involved with just one person too quickly. Take the opportunities around you to meet and have contact with lots of people. Strike up that conversation in the bus queue, talk to shopkeepers. Just don't ignore an opportunity to talk to someone new. Don't be afraid to ask questions and be curious about other people.

Joining clubs and societies can help because you have a shared interest. Think about what you most enjoy doing. It could be reading, going for walks, going to the theatre or the cinema or playing music. You will probably find a group somewhere not too far away that caters for people who share your interest.

You could think about joining a class and learning a new skill. Joining a class at the right level for you will mean you can get to know new people, as you learn something new.

What about spending time as a volunteer? Is there a group of people whose interests you feel you would like to support? Or is there a political cause you would like to become involved in? Again you will be able to find lots of different opportunities for volunteering on line or at your local library.

When you need more support!

We all feel lonely sometimes. But for some of us the causes of our loneliness are deeply rooted in our past experiences and the suggestions above are not enough to overcome them. Talking to a life coach or counsellor can help you explore and understand your problems safely. It can help you find the courage and strength to face and change how you feel. You can gain a sense of self-acceptance, and begin to find relating to others enjoyable

If you have been lonely and found a way to overcome it, please share your experiences here to help others.

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com


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