Dealing With Loneliness (& How I Am Working to Overcome It)
Loneliness in My Life
I think we can all go through bouts of loneliness in our lives, some will last for a few moments in a particularly isolating situation and others can last years when you feel you have no one to turn to. I think more people than we realise are dealing with loneliness and it is something that needs to be spoken about. It isn't a nice feeling at all and could possibly lead to depression, which is not a good mix when you feel so alone.
I have felt pretty lonely for a good chunk of my life. Even though I have a wonderful boyfriend (ahem, fiance - I can't get used to that word) I still can't help but crave some friendships elsewhere, mainly a group of girlfriends I can gossip and just do girly things with. I know I am not the only one who thinks this so wanted to broach this subject and what I am doing to try and combat it.
The main thing triggering my loneliness is seeing Social Media posts of girls I used to be friends with meeting up together and no longer being a part of it. It is probably one of the most isolating feelings in the world. Especially when you are not quite sure how isolated you had become in the first place. Now I know I distanced myself from these people in the past because of my mental health issues but I have got to the point that I am no longer blaming myself, and you shouldn't either. These particular people are not in my life for a reason and I don't long to have them back, it is just the thought of having my very own friendship group that makes me want what they have.
I also have always felt a little weird. Kind of like people didn't really get me or that they judged me. I never seemed to find anyone other than my boyfriend who truly is into the same things as me and shares the same values and can joke about the same things. This can feel isolating because I do struggle to be myself around people. I can start talking about something that I am interested in but instantly feel stupid because the other person just is not into it at all. It can make me withdraw into myself a bit more.
This year I wanted to stop feeling lonely and start building a network around me. Like I have said I do struggle to connect with people in the first instance and it takes a while for me to become myself but it is something I am working on. There are also a few people that I have lost touch with that I want to reach out to again.
So I am challenging myself this year. I want to reach out to at least one person a month that I haven't spoken to in a while and reconnect. Meet up and have a real catch up and hopefully stay in touch (something I have been awful at in the past). I want to build up these relationships and ensure that we remain friends. This is something that I am selective with though, I am not interested in reconnecting with people that I fell out of touch with for a good reason, these are just those that have drifted away.
I also want to make new friends, now this to me is the scariest thing ever, like how do you just go up to someone and create a relationship with that person? It's not like nursery any more, I can't go around asking people if they will be my friend. So this is something I am still working on and building myself up for. Any tips will be welcomed below! I am hoping to start a new job this year so I think that will help me a lot to meet new people I can build relationships with so that's a good start.
Having a Different Mindset
I also want to give myself a different mindset, and realise that just because I am seeing other people happy in these situations doesn't mean that it should be my cup of tea. Maybe I am meant to have a smaller group of friends, maybe I am the person that helps others seperately from their main group. I do beleive we all have different purposes in this world, not just for the world as a whole but the people around us. There are always different types of friends and maybe we just fall under this certain category and I should be happy about that.
Again, comparison is something really hard to beat but I am going to keep working on this and making sure that I don't have to be envious of other people. I just want to focus on myself and what truly makes me happy and not what I think should make me happy.
Quality and Not Quantity
I also need to focus on quality and not quantity. There is no point having a load of friends that don't bring out the best in you or you dread meeting up with. Luckily I have already distanced myself from those people in my life. Those negative people that just kill your vibe or even those that are a little mean to you - sometimes they do it without realising. But if they are lowering your vibration and not making you feel good, they are only going to make you feel worse. You are better off without them and focusing on getting some true friends that you really vibe with.
Focus on quality friends, even though it will mean having less of them. These are the people that you can truely be yourself around, you can tell them your mistakes and they won't judge you and they will bring out the best in you and vice versa.
Understanding I am seeing their highlight reel
A lot of loneliness is stemmed from social media. When you see others having fun and living their best life, it can make you feel really isolated and like you are the only one not doing these cool things with cool people. What we have to remind ourselves is that we are just seeing their highlight reel. We don't know what happens in their private life, we don't know what they are struggling with. We are just shown the best bits, everything is carefully orchestrated to show the best possible version of ourselves on social media.
Remember that they may have the same struggles as you, they could look at what you put online and think you have everything together. A lot of content on the internet can be such a facade and we just have to remember this. Also people lie, I have seen people I know put things on social media that are just completely false. So just focus on you and what you are doing and don't take the content of other people's social media too seriously.
I'm Working On It
With all these things in mind I am really taking action on making myself feel better and know that I can make a difference as long as I keep taking notice of the above.
This time next year I hope to have become more confident in meeting new people. I hope to still be in touch with the people I am reaching out to and I hope to have improved how I feel about others I see on social media.
I would love to hear from you about your experiences with this and what you have done or are trying to do to combat it.