What is LONELINESS? It is not about being on your own. Many people enjoy being on their own and would choose this for themselves for at lest part of the time. They enjoy having their own space. They do not feel the need to have other people around all of the time to validate them or make them feel more comfortable. If someone experiences feelings of LONELINESS; it is usually not influenced solely by where they are or whether other people are around. It is possible to be in a room full of people and still feel very much ALONE. You can be part of a social gathering and feel LONELY as you are on the periphery and not fully involved with what is going on.
This suggests that LONELINESS is a state of mind. It is tied up with how you feel about yourself.When we have a low self esteem, we have a choice about whether to change this or not. The prospect of change can be daunting.The challenge of embracing this is however very worthwhile, with rewards not only in terms of how you feel bout yourself but also in the quality of your life. The first task in changing our self esteem is to alter the way in which we view ourselves.
1. Instead of bombarding ourselves with an onslaught of negative comments, try to focus on the more positive aspects about yourself.This could include, PHYSICAL, PRACTICAL, PERSONAL, EMOTIONAL, ATTRIBUTES or things you are good at, PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENTS.
2. Try asking members of your family, colleagues, friends, how they would describe you. This may reveal a number of POSITIVE statements about you which are surprising and / or uplifting. (Note of caution, choose wisely!)
3. Write down POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS about yourself (Please see article re POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS.)
4. Pay more attention to your thoughts and feelings. When you are aware of these being critical, try challenging them or using THOUGHT STOPPING TECHNIQUES. (Please see article re THOUGHT STOPPING TECHNIQUES.)
5. Practice seeing yourself in particular situations when you feel CONFIDENT and good about who you are and the circumstances you are in. you are feeling comfortable. Feedback from others is POSITIVE. People are paying attention to you. You are maintaining good eye contact.Feed as much information into this exercise as possible. Pay attention to your body language and how you converse. Make sure you CHOOSE clothes to make the most of your physical attributes and feel CONFIDENT in them. Do you feel better wearing make up and perfume? (A question for the girls!) Remember how it feels to have a stronger sense of SELF WORTH, to get POSITIVE FEEDBACK from others and from your own reaction.
6. You can proceed to use the lessons learnt from this exercise to go into the situation for real. You can enter it from a more CONFIDENT and less threatened stance.
7. Try not to leave a situation because of feelings of discomfort or anxiety.This will only increase your fear of a situation at a higher level and give yourself negative feedback. This can be difficult to do.
It may be helpful to remember that if you suffer from any symptoms of anxiety these are only an exaggerated form of how we all feel from time to time.They cause discomfort but are not life threatening. Placed in a difficult situation, your symptoms any increase but it will reach a peak and come down again. Try not to be afraid of this feeling and run away from the situation. If you need to, use BREATHING exercises to take control of the situation. (Please see article re BREATHING RETRAINING TECHNIQUES.)If you manage your situation effectively in this way, you will get POSITIVE feedback from the experience resulting in you being less fearful in the future.
Alternatively, PLAN ahead.
Think of what would make you feel more comfortable by REHEARSING the situation in your head.This may alert you to any possible difficulties. It is then your task to generate ways of overcoming these difficulties. It can be useful to decide beforehand that you are only going to stay somewhere for an hour. Giving yourself a time limit may make it easier for you to relax and stay in a situation.Even if you are enjoying yourself, it still makes sense to leave at the time you promised yourself and when things are going well. This will ensure you achieve POSITIVE feedback.