10 Ways to Cope with Loneliness
Know that Loneliness is a State of Mind, Not a Life Sentence
Loneliness is depression resulting from an inability to cope with the fact of life that this side of heaven every one of us has times when our yearnings to be heard and understood and appreciated by another human are not met.
Realizing the loneliness is normal and accepting the fact that you can’t feel love and fulfilled all the time, can make periods of loneliness more tolerable.
Learn How to Like Yourself
It is usual for people who dislike themselves to wrongly imagine that other people will also dislike them. Expecting to be disliked and rejected, they tend to withdraw from people, thus perpetuating their loneliness.
Work to break the bondage of chronic loneliness by remembering your worth is not found in the perception of others but in your Heavenly Father’s unending love for you.
Avoid Dependency on Another Human for Your Own Happiness
To put responsibility for your happiness in someone else’s hand is a scary thought, unless that person happens to be always available, never fails, never changing yet never boring, all-wise, all-powerful, immortal, and is always unselfishly devoted to maximizing your long-term happiness. People, not matter how well intentioned and loving they are, can disappoint and fail to meet our every need.
Much of the pain of loneliness is nothing more than pining for things that only God can ever give. Hoping to find these qualities in a human, rather than in God, is like hoping to find refreshment in a mirage.
Instead of craving for substitutes, go for your best and always faithful friend, God.
Exercise & Take Care of Yourself
A good, brisk walk several times a week can be surprisingly effective in picking up your spirits and making your world a whole lot brighter. It produces chemicals in the body which are natural antidepressants.
Fake It Until You Make It
No matter how unhappy you are, the very act of smiling triggers the brain to release chemicals that make you feel better. A smile also brightens your face, improving your looks better than almost any makeover. Moreover, smiling is a magnet that attracts people to you.
People instinctively sidestep a person whose unsmiling face suggests he or she might be grumpy or angry or preoccupied. It makes them wary, heightening their own fear of rejection.
Maximize the Advantages of Solitude
Even Jesus needed time alone. Follow His example and make the most of your time alone. Make it time for you to exercise your spiritual disciplines and as devotional time spent praying to and listening to Lord.
Avoid the “Poor me” Syndrome
It is alright to feel lonely. We were divinely created with a need for human companionship that can be satisfied by nothing else. Just as God could miraculously eliminate our need for oxygen, he could eliminate our need for human companionship, but he rarely does, because we can bring eternal glory to ourselves by the way we respond to this longing.
Use your loneliness as a motivation to serve others in a ministry that gives God the glory.
Focus on Giving, not Receiving
In our desperation to fill the emptiness inside us we can fall into the hole of subconsciously becoming obsessed with our needs and discounting the needs of those around us. Be like Jesus who looked with deep compassion upon the crowds who thronged to Him.
We reap what we sow. So seek to give to others what you would like someone special to give to you. It is in giving that you receive.
Don’t Give in to Desperation
It is terrifyingly easy to sell your soul in a crazed attempt to find a quick fix for loneliness. Your actions decide whether loneliness leads to honor or shame. To become entangled in unwise relationships is to sentence oneself to life-long regret. Not only is loneliness a test of character, it is a challenge in which there could be no higher stakes.
Act in haste and you could move from temporary loneliness to permanent remorse. Take time, pray and let God lead you into relationships that will be meaningful, fulfilling and productive.
Turn Being Alone into a Blessing
Let God use your life situation to shape you into the image of his Son (Romans 8:28). All that happens to us, good and bad, God can use for good and to His glory.
Written by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT author of the grief survival guide “Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise”