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Are you alone or are you lonely?

Kelley McElreath Alone Depression Isolation Loneliness Lonely Sad Sadness Solitude

LONELINESS

“If you learn to really sit with loneliness and embrace it for the gift that it is…an opportunity to get to know YOU, to learn how strong you really are, to depend on no one but YOU for your happiness…you will realize that a little loneliness goes a LONG way in creating a richer, deeper, more vibrant and colorful YOU.” 
 Mandy Hale
Today's Manic Monday was on a topic someone sent to me. I love it when you all send me questions or topics you'd like for me to talk about because I want to talk about what is helpful to you and sometimes what you deal with may be something I haven't ever thought about discussing! If you are thinking about it, most likely, so are a ton of other people.
When the topic of Loneliness was brought up to me, I wasn't sure what to say about it. The first question that popped up in my mind is hmmmmm.....lonely when you are alone or lonely when you're with someone or many people? I realized that I never deal with loneliness. That is something that I have never struggled with. I love researching. So I got busy doing research on the topic. 
Also, as a life coach, I wondered what I would say if I was posed the same question by a client. I think that personal responsibility is huge and has a great impact on our lives. In other words, I am the only one who is in control of my feelings, actions, behaviour. Someone else might have contributed, but all in all, I have no one else to blame for how I myself am feeling. 
If you are lonely (feel alone):
  • Make connections. If you are feeling distance between yourself and an acquaintance, this can only heighten how isolated you are feeling.
  • Keep in mind that some people might just not know you well enough and therefore, the close connection is missing.
  • Whatever you do, if you are lonely, don't spend a lot of time with people who are emotionally unavailable. 
  • Get lost in a great fictional book.
  • Ask yourself if you have any guards up. Could you be sending a message or projecting that you yourself are not open to strong bonds in relationships?
  • Go over your expectations of others. Is it possible that you set the expectations too high? If you haven't discussed expectations, then it isn't really fair to be upset with the other person when they have no idea what they have done. 

If you are lonely in a relationship:

If you are in a relationship and are lonely, chances are, so is your partner/spouse. They too probably feel trapped in a cycle of emotional disconnection. Most likely, you both feel helpless in breaking this cycle or knowing how to even approach it.

  • Be the bigger person and initiate conversations. Don't set high expectations. Just go in with an open mind knowing this is a baby step towards your goal. Remember to not have the conversation be about trivial details in life. 
  • Take a walk together.
  • Go on a date.
  • Go to the movies.
  • Plan a picnic for absolutely no reason.
  • Cook a meal together.
  • Go to your favorite restaurant or any place that you two used to love going to together.

Jumpstart questions...

  • What is the absolute happiest memory you have of us?
  • What is the funniest memory?
  • Our kid's would be shocked if they ever knew that we_________.
  • If I could spend 24 hours doing anything in the world with you, it would be?
  • If I could eat anything and it not affect my health, I would eat_____________.
  • It cracks me up every time I think of you doing...
  • I feel you love me the most when you…
  • Tell me about a time recently when I’ve made you feel great about yourself? How can I do that more often?
  • What are some things you want to be remembered for. How can I help you develop those?
  • What is something you used to really enjoy doing when you were younger that you don’t do anymore–but you’d likely enjoy if you started again. Do you think we could/should add it to our lives now?
  • What is the one thing you admire about me?
  • Wanna take a trip down memory lane? (Look at old photos and discuss those times together, enjoy reminiscing.)

Take an internal look:

  • What is going on when you do NOT feel lonely?
  • What are you "feeling" when you are NOT lonely?
  • What are you doing and who are you with when you are feeling great?
  • What are some times that you never feel lonely? DO MORE OF THAT!
  • By really thinking about the above questions, you can discover the root cause of your loneliness. 

Lastly, for absolutely anyone, watch inspiring videos. You can find countless videos long or short on YouTube about any subject you can possibly think of. If I am feeling a certain way, I almost always turn to TedTalks first. I know they are always going to be awesome and you can find them anywhere from 3 - 15 minutes or so. See below for a couple of links for you.

Guy Winch: Emotional Hygiene http://bit.ly/2cz8kXc 

Eric Whitacre: 2,000 Voices Strong http://bit.ly/2cpOoRu

 

"Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone."

-Paul Tillich

 



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