There are lots of situations where a person could feel lonely, especially during the holidays. You could feel lonely as a “singleton” in a room full of couples, or when you’re sick and alone, or on a “special” day that not even your best friend remembers. You could feel lonely in a crowd when you don’t get the jokes or when no one seems to be paying you any attention.
Particularly vulnerable to loneliness are those who are no longer partnered due to a death or divorce, those whose friends and family have been “dying off” or moving away, and those suffering from a painful disease or disability.
Your question is simple: how can you stop feeling so lonely?!? How can YOU make it through another holiday season WITHOUT being so lonely or maybe not lonely at all?
- Begin by creating the intention to feel satisfied with the things that are showing up for you this holiday season — whatever form they take: cards, emails, phone calls, visits, food, gifts, acts of love and support — these are all things you can appreciate and enjoy fully. Focus on what and who’s appeared this year, not what’s missing.
Beyond that, for even less loneliness, at those moments, bring out your holiday “gifts” to consider and enjoy them, say “thank you” in a special way to the giver and reciprocate when it’s appropriate.
- Interrupt yourself immediately when you notice you’re feeling lonely and ask yourself: Am I making comparisons that are hurting me, whether consciously or not? If you can actually see yourself comparing what you’re doing to what you imagine happier people are doing or to yourself when you were happier on the holidays, STOP IT!!! You can regain control over your the very thoughts that are likely to have been pulling you down. By noticing and identifying them and even disputing those comparisons, you can break their “spell” over you.
Beyond that, for even less loneliness, replace those dangerous comparisons with different, uplifting thoughts — of gratitude for your present day — and make new plans, ones that allow you to make this holiday season less lonely for yourself and those around you.
- Take time to compose and contemplate your own daily list of the things and people for whom you feel grateful. This may sound Pollyanna-like, but science backs up this suggestions. Gratitude thoughts bring different and healing energy to our minds and bodies. You can discover gratitude for “big” and “smaller” things, like your breath, your warm home, your freedom to express yourself. Notice on how enlivened and better you feel by reviewing your gratitude list.
Beyond that, for even less loneliness, tell the people you’re grateful for how you feel about them.
- Re-discover what brings you true contentment and then aim to give that to yourself. You already know what pleases you and you can decide to do those things as part of your “practice” of loving yourself and your life. Focusing your attention on having what brings you contentment will undermine your loneliness and help you feel in greater control. Try this with something simple, like savoring your favorite tea and notice it warming your insides on a brisk winter’s day. If you find contentment talking with an old friend, set up a Skype call or cook up a batch of your world-famous chicken soup for a sick neighbor.
Beyond that, for even less loneliness, remember how good you feel when you make a genuine connection with another person and find ways to give yourself more of that.
Let us know how much this helps and what else you do.
If you like what you’ve read here and are interested in reading more, buy the book, “Oh My God! We’re Parenting Our Parents: How To Transform This Remarkable Challenge Into A Journey of Love.”