Being lonely isn’t something I like to talk about too often. I fell like there’s this weird stigma that comes with loneliness where people automatically assume something is wrong with you. They assume you’re depressed, or seem to find ways to make your feelings of being alone seem invalid. I Googled what stigmas existed about loneliness and there are actual psychological studies that have been done that show lonely people are viewed negatively. Lonely people are looked at as weaker, less attractive, and less sincere according to certain studies. Loneliness isn’t something that should be frowned upon or viewed in a negative light. It’s a normal emotion we’ve all experienced at one time or another as human beings.
I remember being particularly lonely my first semester of college, and not wanting to talk about it with anyone, out of fear of being judged or seen as weird. In reality, a lot of other freshman, at the time, were dealing with the same feeling I was. Feelings of loneliness can increase as we get older, and also come about during times of big changes during our lives. Genetics also play a role in loneliness, but many external factors contribute to causing us to feel like we’re alone. Here are a few things in our lives that can trigger feeling lonely and how to combat them.
Like I mentioned earlier, during my freshman year of college, I felt extremely lonely. I didn’t know very many people, I was away from my parents and immediate family and I went through somewhat of a depression because I didn’t knowhow to cope with these feelings. Being far away from what you’re familiar with and getting out of your comfort zone can trigger loneliness. It’s normal to feel this way when these things happen, it’s important to not let these feelings consume you.
How to combat it:
I overcame feeling lonely that year by trying new things and meeting new people. I was in unfamiliar territory, and I knew that I couldn’t simply run away to escape my feelings. I was going to be in this place for the next four years of my life, so I had to make the most of it. By making new friends, getting a part-time job and getting involved on campus, I created a new space I felt comfortable in and my loneliness subsided.
We all go through them and they suck. Whether it was a three month relationship, or three year relationship breakups can leave you feeling lonely af. Even when you try the “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone new” approach, you’re still left feeling empty and lonely because you want the person you were with before.
How to combat it:
Take the time to work on yourself. That saying “time heals all wounds” is one of the most accurate things I’ve heard during my life thus far. While you’re taking the time to heal and getting accustomed to being single once again, throw yourself into your hobbies or even find new ones. Instead of wallowing alone, be productive (which can be hard to do sometimes we all love to be a little lazy) and work on the things that bring you happiness. Before you know it, you’ll be back to yourself pre-breakup.
Ah, our old friends Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. They allow us to see what everyone in our social circles are up to, and can sometimes leave us feeling inadequate. We get so caught up on life in the digital realm, we forget to feed our actual social lives which can leave us feeling empty at times. Our generation has the highest levels of anxiety and depression, and I feel like social media has a lot to do with it.
How to combat it:
Get off of it. Plain and simple. Take a break from social media and engage in real-life activities. Spend time physically with family and friends doing activities you enjoy.
Loneliness is something we all experience at point in our lives or another. It’s important to remember that it’s a normal feeling and it won’t last forever. Take the time to learn more about yourself, find ways to build yourself up, and doing things you enjoy so that you don’t become consumed by your feelings. Take a deep breath and remember everything is temporary. You won’t feel alone forever.