Welcome to our Learning to Love Me series for women on building self-love and self-care. I am so glad you are here! Today we are talking about how to deal with loneliness and I’ll be sharing ways you can rise above it to feel real inner joy and peace.
I began our Learning to Love Me program because it became very apparent that the underlying cause for most of the struggles and challenge we face as women can be linked to low levels of self-worth, self-love and self-care.
(click the link here to sign up for our Free Learning to Love Me program)
Common Types of Loneliness
While there are many kinds of loneliness, the often these are the most common forms that most women relate to.
Chosen Path Loneliness:
This form of loneliness arrives when we’ve made a big decision about the path we’ve decided was best for us to take and we were unprepared for the lack of support, isolation and coldness on that path.
Examples of this are:
Deciding to be a stay at home mother
Re-entering the workforce after time away
Moving to a new city/location
Taking on a new position at a new company or a higher position (with a different crowd)
Joining a new community, program or service (like a new church or volunteer group)
We go in with high hopes, expectations and excitement, only to find that bubble bursting a few months or years later. We are new to the whole experience and environment and likely don’t know anyone or know who we can reach out to or how.
With Chosen Path Loneliness, we find that we were living with unrealistic expectations. We lacked the internal wisdom and ability to be confident, content (with ourselves) and the social skills we didn’t realize we would want and need to build new relationships faster. This loneliness arrives from having high expectations for the future and the inability to adapt in the present.
We consider this one to be a season of loss, we no longer have a special someone in our daily life who previously played a big role on our support team.
Illness or death of a loved one
Loved one has moved away
The end of a relationship with a loved one
This loneliness stems from heartache, strong and deep emotions swirl and whether you knew this loss was coming or not, it burns a smoldering emptiness at the soul level.
Those who really struggle to find healing and peace with attachment loss were often co-dependent on the one they’ve lost. They gave their happiness and ability to function to external sources (people in this case) and now that external source is no longer there, the despair and anxiety is very real. Attachment loneliness is difficult because it locks us into living in the past and unable to breathe and function in the present.
With this loneliness, you haven’t really lost anyone or done anything new. This kind of loneliness is directly growing from lack of self-worth, self-love and self-care.
When we stop believing that we are worthy of good, joy and love, essentially, we are walking ourselves into quicksand. We when begin to put ourselves on the back burner and place everyone else’s needs and desires above our own, we start to lose ourselves in the roles we wear.
This kind of loneliness is better known as the feeling of losing yourself, your identity, your spirit and your desire to believe it can ever get better. Masked loneliness sneaks up on us, as we start adding the many hats (roles) we wear every day. We want to be so good at each of the roles that we find ourselves competing with unrealistic expectations, rules and people who have no real value in our life. The more we try to meet these expectations (that are not based on our real values), the more exhausted and frustrated we become and then that loneliness creeps in. You feel alone, isolated and afraid to start taking your masks off.
Perhaps I should call this one: Unauthentic Living Loneliness à You are living for everyone else but you and you may not have any idea where the real you is hiding at. (For your sake, I hope she’s hiding out on a tropical sunny beach with a fruity drink in hand.)
Invisible Man Loneliness
When you read that it kind of makes you want to giggle, but the truth is this loneliness is really painful, at times I think it can be almost as hard as losing your immediate loved one. Invisible Man Loneliness basically is when you hold onto the belief that you simply can’t be happy, healthy and feel fulfilled without a ‘Man’ in your life.
You’ve placed your identity (not to mention peace and joy) on having someone there who isn’t there. They just aren’t there. You look at your friends and family and they all have the someone special to love, hug and get through the day with and you long for a someone special. It’s a heartache at the soul level too.
This Invisible Man loneliness also comes from low levels of self-worth and love.
Well, now that we have peeled back a few layers of truth, it is time to be honest with yourself. If you want to start feeling joy, peace, respect and support (love) again, both from yourself and others, we have to get real.
This isn’t a time to be judging yourself or for berating yourself for maybe not having been prepared (chosen path loneliness), for allowing your happiness to rely on a certain person so much (attachment loneliness and invisible man loneliness) or trying to make people happy and do your roles well (masked loneliness).
This is a very important time to hold yourself tight and fill that hug with warmth, love and acceptance.
This is where you are and who you are here and now. Now that we can take a moment and look at the you here and now, you can begin to see areas in your life (in your self-love and care) for growth and improvement.
To create positive changes, we have to look at reality, the reality of just who and where we are today.
Rising Above That Loneliness
In truth, if you take an hour and poke around my blog, you will find just about every article will contain elements that will help you begin living intentionally and get you creating a life filled with passion and purpose.
I want to unveil the reality of what loneliness is. Loneliness can only occur if you approach life with an external locus of control. Loneliness simply doesn’t happen when you have an internal locus of control approach for living.
Let’s talk about this for a minute.
External Locus of Control is when we place our lives into the hands of everything and everyone else. It’s the belief that we have little to no power in what happens to us or how our life will unfold. We place ridiculous amounts of authority into other people’s hand. When it comes to relationships some people will do this instantly, without any care or concern for who that person really is (like skipping a character pass test).
Internal Locus of Control is when we know and believe that we have quite the ability to directly influence almost everything in our lives. It’s total ownership of the self and one’s life. Any authority that is placed into another person’s hands is done so only after care, caution and scrutiny of that person, and is given in incremental amounts over time.
With loneliness, you can see the difference in how some people (those with external locus approach to life) are more likely to experience loneliness and for longer durations. Loneliness most of the time is when you literally have given your joy and happiness and inner peace away to external conditions and people. It stems from those low levels of self-love and self-worth and from having unhealthy relationship boundaries.
*Now mind you, I’m not saying if your spouse or family member passes away that you are not to grieve. Grieving is a natural part of the healing process when we experience this type of loss. Recognizing how much you relied on that relationship for your joy, can help you establish higher levels of empowerment and higher quality of relationship boundaries in the future.
I also want to mention that our emotions are not something as temperamental as the weather. We can become almost 100% in control and decisive about the emotions we feel. The only reason why you don’t realize this is because you’ve never owned up to your life and the way you’ve been living it. You don’t have to live a single day in despair, feeling extreme levels of sadness and loneliness. You really don’t.
Emotions are Decisions you make about how you are going to interpret life as you experience it.
Even the passing of a loved one can be interpreted as a time to reflect on one’s blessings, strengths and realizing that having had the opportunity to know that loved one has enabled you to evolve into the amazing person you are today and that you can carry forward your loved one’s gifts and share them with the world.
I want you to embrace how you feel, then really look at it. Peel back the layers and see what’s really behind those feelings. If those feelings are good for you, if they are healthy and will contribute to your joy and peace – then decide to continue feeling them.
If those feelings take away from your joy and peace, decide to replace those emotions with more positive ones. This means you’ll have to try and switch perspectives and come up with a better approach to how you have been handling things. (This process gets easier I promise!) It does take a little practice but you will find that if you adjust your beliefs from external locus of control over to internal locus and owning your personal power – life will get easier much faster and you will start feeling better right away.
A Lit Path for Healing Loneliness
Step One: Recognize What You Are Experiencing
This is where you identify your type of loneliness, without judgement. It is where you observe yourself. You want to do your best to not attach emotions or attacks as you simply observe.
Step Two: Apply Self-Love & Self-Care
In this step, we are putting what we observed in step one off to the side and we are applying as much self-love and self-worth boosting as we can muster.
You can do any of the following to reflect and acknowledge you are a wonderful person who it totally capable!
Truly, use those resources they are awesome tools that we use over and over when life gets tough.
With Self-Love, you are establishing healthier beliefs about yourself and your life. This is where you question those beliefs (what led to your loneliness – the varying kinds of loneliness) and replace limiting beliefs with healthy ones that serve you.
Step Three: Just Own It – For Today
Most people will live in subpar circumstances because they fear the unknown, thus they become indecisive or deny the reality of how they are living and experiencing life. I am not going to ask you to put on another fake mask and pretend everything is okay.
What I do want to encourage you to do, for just One Day, is to own it. For the rest of today, own your loneliness, own what led up to, own your response to it. If you wake up tomorrow and you feel good about how you owned it, then be willing to try that approach again.
While you are owning your loneliness today, once an hour for the rest of the day, repeat this affirmation (and life truth) to yourself. Write it down, tape it somewhere, carry it with you, say it out loud.
Emotions are Decisions you make about how you are going to interpret life as you experience it.
Owning your life today means you will be decisive about how you will feel about things and life today.
When the pangs of loneliness creep in, recognize it, then say that affirmation above and follow it with:
I am deciding to focus on joy, peace and self-love today.
Try this. Do it every day. Soon you won’t have to remind yourself to question your emotions for you will be proactively deciding how you will feel (and interpret life) instead of reacting (giving away your power).
Step Four: Utilize Internal Locus of Control
If you went through that Healthy Boundaries post and did the exercises, you will be able to recognize the relationships in your life in which you’ve been giving away your power and using external locus of control.
When women begin working on healing their relationship with themselves, they will find themselves also improving their boundaries with others and this healing is actually the shifting from having an external locus approach to life into building an internal locus approach.
Instead of thinking, “Oh sh*t, here I am feeling awful and lonely again,” as you are observing yourself, switch it over to something like, “Hmm there’s that negative feeling again. Time to shift into my higher self. My higher self says I don’t have to feel that way. My higher self says I can decide to feel better now. I am going to feel a little bit of joy and peace right here and now.”
Think of gaining personal power and ownership over yourself and your life as a shift, like a big lever inside of your power center that you can just switch at any time. Eventually you will end up disabling the lever’s ability to be in the external locus position.
Step Five: Create Better Goals
If you are not a goal setter, it is time to start. If you do set goals, take a good look at the ones you have.
When we create goals that are centered on creating positive, long term, healthy changes in our lives, we are more likely to stick with them and actually change into the person capable of maintaining those desired results.
A goal for reducing loneliness and improving joy might look something like this:
I am going to become more self-aware, learn to observe myself justly (without harsh criticism), allow myself to create healthier beliefs (improve self-love and care) and an empowered approach to life (building internal locus of control).
That is a big goal, with lots of little steps that can be broken down.
You might start off with a smaller goal over the duration of two months in which you focus on self-awareness and observing how you go about life and what your actual beliefs are that define the results you experience.
Then you might spend another two months identifying the beliefs you have had that have been contributing to your loneliness and work on replacing them with healthier beliefs that empower you. (Ones about relationships that relate to your loneliness.) Then you can create positive affirmations that confirm your new beliefs you want to maintain.
You could create a 6-month goal in which you learn about and practice better self-love and care, actively taking 2 hours a week doing activities that contribute to caring for yourself better.
Does that make sense?
I know this was a really in depth topic, and obviously, it expands much deeper into relating topics. This gives a good place to start healing your loneliness. I encourage you to read the tagged articles as well, for they include wonderful insight and tips that will give you a boost.
Be sure to sign up for our Learning to Love Me program,
it is Free and will guide you through greater self-love and care steps.
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