What. a. pest.
Whether in the middle of a social gathering or at night when your head hits the pillow. This ugly feeling of loneliness just crawls its way into your life.
And maybe it’s already plagued you A LOT just this past month. Maybe you were gentle the first time, decent the fifth time. But this can’t keep happening.
Maybe you turn on your Spotify, maybe you move to be alone in this group of people that don’t seem to be enough to ease the loneliness. Or maybe they make you feel even more lonely.
You don’t want to ruin anyone’s mood or attract any pity, but you don’t have the energy to fake a smile either. Everything just feels a bit sadder, a bit more meaningless. Everyone seems to have their own people, how are they doing it?
Let’s figure out these feelings of loneliness.
Your Loneliness is Normal
Maybe it starts something like this, when you get lonely you might start evaluating yourself, just like when you, when all of us, get ghosted. Thoughts might pop into your head like: Why am I so lonely? What about me is different? What can I do?
Some of you might be wondering what have I not done at this point? I’ve done literally everything you’re supposed to do to get unlonely! What lesson am I missing?
So I want to remind you that you’re definitely not alone in your loneliness. And you’re not unique in some negative way for not having those big friend groups you can’t seem to miss. No scratch that. You’re not uniquely messed up no matter how lonely you think you are. We’re almost all looking for someone who understands. Someone to play some role in our life that is going unplayed right now.
And that’s not just sweet stuff to make your ears and heart happy, that’s facts. According to a survey released in 2020 by Cigna Health Insurance, “three in five Americans are lonely” (npr.org). Even crazier, “Gen Z — people who were 18 to 22 years old when surveyed — had the highest average loneliness score on the 80-point scale (about 50)” (npr.org). I don’t know who told them Gen Z is 18-22. But just don’t think people mainly get lonelier as they get older, it’s normal to be young and lonely.
The point? Loneliness doesn’t define you. Don’t judge yourself. It’s a need as much as food is a need. Something that needs to be met or else your health (whether it be emotional/mental or physical) suffers and your body sends you signals (or feelings).
I don’t know how lonely some of you are feeling, but I understand if a lot of you reading this don’t want any silver lining or solutions yet.
So I’ll give you a safe space. You can take a minute or more to continue your lonely vibes by stopping here and not scrolling yet. It’s a judgement free zone here :). And when you’re ready to let go of your loneliness, scroll down a lot (I put a whole bunch of space so you don’t see it yet).
You made it. Are you ready?
Sooo I made a list of things to do that might possibly make you feel less lonely!
What to Do About Loneliness:
- First, let’s have God talk with you :). Check out these Bible verses:
- Psalm 27:10 – when family doesn’t heal loneliness
- John 16:32-33 – Jesus’ loneliness
- Psalm 68:6 – just beautiful
- Matthew 28:20
- Deuteronomy 31:6
- Wallow for a limited amount of time in your sadness and full on pity yourself. Pull out the ice cream, let the tears flow, or just.. Scream. When was the last time you fully let yourself feel what you wanted to? (stay safe tho!)
- Stop seeing/hearing romantic movies, animes, songs, and/or social media posts (they honestly emphasize loneliness like nothing else, ok except maybe third wheeling).
- Limit or stop using social media. Digital minimalism: define your values and intentionally shape your social media uses to serve those, even if that means a few inconveniences. Less can be more. And if you do want to keep using social media, don’t just consume. Be sure to create content and interact with others!
- Only watch movies or series with others. Netflix party (not sponsored lol) instead of going it alone, or force a family member (since that honestly all the social connection most of us have at this point) to watch with you.
- Try finding others that are lonely right now. 2 warnings with this:
- This is a hit or miss because it can be a form of wallowing if the people you find are only negative and stuck wallowing. Remember, wallowing can be bad if unlimited and unrestrained.
- Being vulnerable online is RISKY so be careful with what you say if you do find these people.
- Talk about it. Be vulnerable with someone wiser than you and that wants the best for you. And make sure they’re actually wise, that they don’t just sound wise. A good test is how much their knowledge is in line with the Bible. (Yup! Proverbs 9:10)
- Create. Filling your time with doing what you love may increase your happiness in a different area of life, but it still helps! Bonus: hobbies and passions also have communities you can join. So when you create you have a higher chance of finding and joining those.
- Start a project with someone. Usually projects require routine meetups and working with others sometimes bonds people more naturally than just hanging out with nothing to do.
- Journal. I- Ok, I literally don’t know how people process their feelings without journaling. Anywayssss, write down all your ugly feelings and figure out what’s making you feel lonely (it will be something along the lines of a social need/expectation unmet). And then journal your hopes and journal through suggestion 11 too!
- Practice gratitude/List positive memories. Count them blessings!
- Smile. When you’re not doing this with the intention of fake smiling, smiling can actually make you happier. It’s like a body trick on your brain. I’ve done this, it’s funnily hard to make yourself smile when you don’t want to let go of bad feelings though. Just say bubbles, you can’t stay mad at that. 🙂
- Set work/school boundaries. You need time for life!
- Serve. Unwilling/begrudging service doesn’t count! Find something you actually want to do for someone/something outside yourself.
- Reconnect with your purpose. I’m not sure how this works but it makes the sting of loneliness less sharp, I’ve used this (well this whole list) but specifically this before.
- Heal your broken relationships. You may also be feeling lonely if a large part of your support system broke. This happens when someone that matters to you isn’t on good terms with you anymore. If you believe it’s a relationship worth saving, pray then go and talk with them about it!
- Count your good relationships/social interactions. There will almost always be more than you think there are.
- DON’T ISOLATE. I put that one last so you’d remember it.
And that’s a wrap! Take or leave what you want and whatever works for you.
And hey 🙂 we figured this out together so you’re not alone.