Overcoming Loneliness – Looking Inward

Learning to be at peace with ourselves in our present circumstances is the key to overcoming loneliness.

I have had the mindset that loneliness is when a person doesn’t have friends or a companion.  After observing the state of loneliness a bit closer, I have changed my views about the subject of overcoming loneliness.

Loneliness goes deeper than being alone

I have come to believe loneliness is caused by voids within.  I have met many people who feel alone although they have a companion.  I have also met plenty of people who are busy, successful, or have lots of friends but still feel lonely.  This realization brought me to the conclusion that the root problem of overcoming loneliness goes deeper than being alone.

Content being alone

There are people who spend hours alone reading or creating a song, story, or piece of art that are content when they are alone.  It seems people who are content being alone are at peace with themselves even though they spend a lot of time alone.

If one cannot be alone to:

  • meditate
  • pray
  • read
  • create
  • listen to good music
  • think

then distractions are being used to avoid looking inward. I would like to elaborate a bit more about distractions.

Distractions prevent overcoming loneliness

It is common when feeling lonely to engage in various activities as a distraction from thinking about feelings of loneliness. Distractions keep our minds from focusing on our own inner thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are key to overcoming loneliness. Below are a few common distractions that are sometimes engaged in to escape loneliness/emptiness.

  • Going shopping – If you think you need to buy things you cannot afford, this is a sign of a “void”, a “lack”, an “emptiness”.
  • Working more to make more money – If you believe you need to have a successful career in order to be happy, this creates feelings of lack if you think your career isn’t a successful one creating “a void” causing feelings of emptiness/loneliness.
  • Having sex with someone willing who is also lonely – Having a one night stand may take away feelings of loneliness temporarily but once the encounter is over, they quickly resurface.
  • Watching a movie to escape or fantasize- It is nice to escape but loneliness does not disappear as you leave the movie theatre.
  • Playing video games- Engaging in video gaming is only a temporary “buzz” not a cure for the pain of loneliness.
  • Dancing, exercising, or playing a sport to release dopamine and other positive endorphins- Although these are all positive activities, they can be used as an escape to avoid looking inward to the root cause of loneliness.
  • Engaging in texting, emailing, Facebook, Twitter, TV, eating, drinking, etc., etc.

More Distractions

I also believe sometimes a romantic partner or friends are used as a distraction from facing “empty holes” we don’t know how to fill in order to experience greater happiness and contentment.  Even friends or partners do not cure loneliness. Having someone there can temporarily make us feel better for periods of time, but ultimately feelings of loneliness are not cured until we have the courage to look inward rather outward to friends and lovers.

Attaining inner peace

Whatever you think you have to have to be happy that you don’t have, causes voids, emptiness, and feelings of loneliness. Happiness is a state of being that is within us not outside of us. Learning to attain inner peace is key in overcoming loneliness.

Disappearance of distractions – An opportunity

Friends, partners, money, popularity, etc. can disappear leaving an open opportunity to face and hopefully overcome loneliness.

Our inward selves

Friends, partners, money, popularity, etc. are NOT the key to happiness. At any moment, any distraction we are engaged in can disappear leaving us to overcome loneliness.
Photo by Ben White

What does it mean to face loneliness? Facing loneliness also means facing God. I believe God is in all of us so when we face God, it is the same as facing our inward selves. I think loneliness is when we feel distance or disconnection from God, but if we turn and face God, we automatically face our inner selves which is when we begin to understand ourselves and God with greater capacity.

Conclusion – Overcoming Loneliness

Therefore, if you spend more time getting to know God, you are getting to know yourself. Growing in harmony with God fills the voids all humans experience. Drawing closer to God is drawing closer to yourself to gradually overcome loneliness with inner peace and good that extends from God who is good and resides within us all!

Top Featured Photo by Matthieu Joannon

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