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‘A season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings. Remember that next time you feel alone.’ Mandy Hale

What is loneliness?

Loneliness is the feeling of dissatisfaction and sadness that occurs when one feels a discrepancy between their connection expectations and their reality. This feeling is common, and a lot of people have encountered this feeling at a certain point in their lives. Peplau and Perlman (1982) described it as a feeling of disconnection from everyone and everything else. Therefore, you can have a lot of people around you, but you still feel alone. This illustrates why so many individuals still feel alone even though they have a lot of followers and friends on social media. Loneliness deserves our attention to avoid the serious threats that loneliness poses to our overall wellbeing. Apart from the physical and mental consequences of loneliness, there are also social consequences. When people experience loneliness, they tend to shift their perception of the relationships that they have. Usually, people who feel this way are more likely to perceive their existing social relationships in a negative way.

Due to the current circumstances of social isolation, it is easier to feel as though you are alone. One needs to recall that in this time we are getting our wings and preparing to fly in innovative ways as the future unfolds.

Friendly Advice on Coping with loneliness:

  1. Open up about it: It may be difficult to accept that you feel this way, but once you speak up you might find that a lot of people feel the same way that you do.
  2. Make new connections: Do not be afraid of meeting new people.
  3. Do not compare yourself to others.
  4. Treat yourself – One can plans for the weekend for example, for something that they will look forward to. One can go for a walk. It all depends on the individual and what he/she likes doing.
  5. Find ways that can overcome your loneliness – for example: journaling, meditating, and walking.
  6. Positive affirmations – For example: ‘I am blessed’, ‘I am important’ – Positive affirmations that you say to yourself to enhance your self-esteem.
  7. Ask yourself ‘What would you say to a friend that is experiencing loneliness?’ – Sometimes you need to stick to your own advice.

Things to Remember:

Remember that it is perfectly normal to feel alone. You are not defined by your loneliness. These emotions demonstrate that you are a human being. Loneliness means that you have an opportunity. An opportunity to encounter new individuals. An occasion to rediscover yourself and your identity. To rekindle your inner spirit. An opportunity to discover what makes you passionate and motivated. You will come to realize that loneliness is a power that you can utilize. Not everybody is aware of how to make use of it. So, believe me when I say this: Do not let loneliness win. Utilize it and flourish in it. Ultimately, you will find your wings.

‘If you are feeling lonely know that you’ll always have:

Books to nurture your mind.

Hands to create and explore.

Wind to calm your soul.

Breathes to soothe your nerves.

Nature to soak your worries away.

Stars to decorate your dreams’.

Emma Xu

Remember that these are friendly tips and suggestions, if you are struggling with loneliness, or your mental health, help is possible. Seek the help of a psychologist or therapist.

Jessica Lynn Agius is a Psychology graduate from the University of Malta and a volunteer with Willingness Team.

References:

Brennan, T., & Auslander, N. (1979). Adolescent loneliness: An exploratory study of social and psychological predisposition and theory. (National Institute of Mental Health, Juvenile Problems Division, Grant No. ROI-MH 289 12–01 ). Boulder, CO.: Behavioral Research Institute.

Rokach, A. (2001). Strategies of coping with loneliness throughout the lifespan. Current Psychology:  Developmental, Learning, Personality, Social, 20(1), 3-18.

Jones, W . (1982). Loneliness and social behavior. In L. A. Peplau & D. Perlman (Eds.), Loneliness: A sourcebook of current theory, research and therapy. New York: Wiley-Interscience.

Hale, M. (2013). The single woman