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Loneliness is not one single, simple thing. There are both different degrees and causes. Loneliness may come about due to a change in circumstances; for example changing your job or moving to a new country. Even though this might be a positive change for the person, the reality of having to start all over again in a new environment may be very hard and may cause loneliness. The death of a close person, separation and retirement are also common causes for loneliness. People who care for older family members or members of the family who have a disability or an illness may also feel lonely if they do not have the time or the energy to meet people and to seek support. For some people, feelings of loneliness are more constant and appear unrelated to external events. It is hard to generalise about why a person might always seem to feel lonely. Sometimes, one might find it difficult to spend time with others because of anxiety, issues related to self-esteem or because they find it difficult to trust others. The roots of profound loneliness may come from having been unloved or abandoned as a child, and this feeling of being unlovable may then be carried throughout adulthood. Sometimes people also cut themselves from others because they are afraid of getting hurt. So how can someone overcome this feeling of loneliness? This shall be discussed in the third and final part of this blog.

Claire is a gestalt psychotherapist at Willingness. She works with adolescents and adults. She has a special interest in mental health. She can be contacted on claire@willingness.com.mt.