Welcome back to my series on LONELINESS.
Part 3: H
ow to overcome LONELINESS.
LONELINESS like all emotions is telling us something vital. As we have come to learn from the experts, LONELINESS is telling us that we are most likely missing meaningful connections in our life. And the only way to overcome this is to take the steps to connect with others. However, connecting with others can be blocked by our FEAR in doing so.
John Amodeao Ph.D., MFT in his article “How to Heal Our Loneliness” outlined the following FEARS to establishing meaningful connections:
- Fear of taking risks: the fear of failing, the “Not Good Enough” NGE story . This fear keeps us from making the very steps that can help us feel more connected (e.g., going on a date, expressing our feelings to another, etc.)
- Fear of shame and embarrassment: We stop ourselves from connecting with others out of fear others will find out we are deeply flawed and defective. But without the willingness to risk criticism and rejection from another we become increasingly isolated and lonely.
- Fear of being vulnerable: avoidance of sitting with discomfort that comes with building deeper connections – rejection, abandonment, judgement, embarrassment, criticism, hurt, etc. The very discomfort that can help us learn and grow.
So to heal LONELINESS we need to connect, but to connect we need to let go of our fear. Next time you notice LONELINESS take the followin
g steps to help you move in the meaningful direction of CONNECTION:
Present awareness: Notice your emotions as they arise in the moment. Tune in and listen to them. Learn as much about them as possible. How they feel in your body. The different elements (thoughts, sensations, behavioural urges, etc). Tune into your breathe, breathing deeply and slowly to help centre you as your explore your emotions in this moment.
Adopt a non-judgemental/curious attitude: Notice your inner experiences (thoughts, beliefs, images and feelings) for what they are, a feeling, a thought, and not what your mind tells you they are (something that’s bad or sign of weakness, etc.). Let go of judgemental thoughts and instead discover the purpose of your feelings. What is it telling you? Try to be a good friend to yourself at this moment acknowledging the difficulties that come with connecting for you.
Allow/let go of the struggle: Let the emotion come and go in it’s own time. Imagine it being a bit like the weather and you the sky notici
ng it as it rolls in and out again. Just like the weather, your emotions will pass. You may find it helpful to label your feeling (e.g., Fear, Loneliness).
Take action in a meaningful direction: Ask yourself what you need right now, what will be a meaningful move right now, and take that action. Take smaller steps if need be. This could look like initiating a coffee date with a friend from work. As you take these steps remember to breathe deeply and slowly to centre you and connect back to the purpose/meaning behind this action – to connect.
Click on the audio link below to listen to a short meditation helping you explore and respond to your feeling of loneliness so you can take meaningful actions towards CONNECTION.
And if you or someone you know needs further help and guidance with dealing with their LONELINESS please contact our lovely reception staff at Zest Infusion on 07 3822 9983 to make an appointment with myself or one of our other fantastic psychologists today.
Thanks for reading and take care.
Amodeao, John Ph.D., MFT, How to Heal Our Loneliness, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/intimacy-path-toward-spirituality/201809/how-heal-our-loneliness, 3rd September 2018
Lim, Michelle, H. Dr (Aug, 2018). Is Loneliness Australia’s Next Public Health Epidemic? InPsych, Australian Psychology Society (APS), Vol 40 (4).
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