Being alone and being lonely are two very different things. Some of us could be standing in a crowd of hundreds of people and still be lonely, while some could be all by themselves and still not be plagued by loneliness at all. Loneliness is a very challenging feeling to overcome and can lead us into depression.
But hang in there because you could be lonely, even when you’re not alone. Here, we got Dr Preeti Singh, senior consultant, clinical psychology and psychotherapy, at Paras Hospital Gurugam to suggest how can cope:
1. Recognize the difference between being alone and being lonely
Try to identify whether you are lonely or just alone. Loneliness will make you feel disconnected with everybody around you and even your own self. While being alone is when you don’t have anybody around you physically or emotionally.
2. Try to understand the root of your loneliness.
Focus and try to get to know yourself better: your likes and dislikes, things and people you feel comfortable with and things you like to invest your time, energy and emotions in. You might feel lonely in certain crowds, and very much welcomed and at peace in some others.
Ask yourself about what makes you uncomfortable and once you have the answer make conscious efforts to change that aspect. It’s not about how many people you surround yourself with, it’s about what value you add in one another’s lives.
3. Examine your past
Hurtful and traumatic experiences in the past could contribute to why you feel so lonely. Once you identify the incident or the event that made this negative impact in your life, you can do things differently and take a lesson from it.
4. Consult a professional
If loneliness is crippling you emotionally and hampering the quality of your life, don’t hesitate to take professional help. Be it a psychiatrist, counsellor, or psychologist, these are professionals who can help you examine your past and determine the cause of your loneliness.
Don’t forget to be true to yourself. Rather than seeking external validation, seek to know yourself better. They say, your vibe attracts your tribe. So, find your tribe and surround yourselves with people that match your wavelength, listen to you and understand you. And in this process, you can focus on being a good listener and a conversationalist. Once you have taken that leap, there’s no turning back for you.
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