Do you ever feel alone?
Sometimes we are alone, other times we feel alone and lonely even while there are people around us. There are times in which we can feel more alone and lonelier in a crowd than by ourselves.
We just don’t fit.
This not fitting in is mostly okay. But there are times we want to fit in. Times in which we feel invisible. Those times are the tough times.
Isolation and loneliness actually have negative consequences on our health. It manifests in our bodies with aches, pains, and illnesses. It affects your mind as it can lead to depression, anxiety, or other mental struggles such as negative images. Isolation can cause poor dietary choices, substance abuse, and sleep problems. Even reality can take on a fantasy-like quality.
Here are some practical ways to deal with isolation and loneliness.
- Know yourself
- Enjoy yourself
- Love yourself
- Seasons come and go
- Connect on some level
- Popular is not always better
- If you want to change, take small steps
- Don’t devalue yourself
- Know who God says you are
- Don’t withdraw into yourself
The first seems easy enough. However, knowing yourself means more than knowing what makes you mad, sad, or glad. It is knowing who you are inside. It means knowing what you want out of life, what makes you tick so to speak.
Enjoying yourself means giving permission to do the things that you found out make you glad. Be your own best friend.
Love yourself means to accept you for who you are and where you are at. You are not a failure because you feel like others don’t appreciate you. This goes with the first two. Besides, it is hard to love others if you don’t love yourself.
The seasons of life. Even the most wretched of winters eventually turns into spring and even the most pleasant summer will fall into winter. The same is true of our feelings, relationships, and life in general. When we feel particularly isolated, we can remind ourselves that this is not for forever. And when things are going well, cherish the moment.
Stay connected to the world. Even if it is going for a walk or phoning someone. There are times in which the most we can do is stay abreast of current affairs. Just do what you can, where you are at.
Many popular people do not live deep meaningful lives since their focus may be on staying popular instead of meaningful things of Christ. Don’t envy others. We don’t know what their private minds are thinking.
Change requires action. Sometimes big events cause change but mostly change is started with small steps. Small steps lead to bigger steps that lead to change. For example, volunteering or doing one good deed can lead to a positive mindset that leads to action which ends loneliness.
When we feel lonely and isolated, we often devalue ourselves. We may feel less than those around us we perceive have friends and a better life. The same God who made them made you and the same God who loves them loves you. You are just as unique as they are and you matter. This goes back to loving and knowing yourself.
God says you are wonderfully and fearfully made, that He created you, and He knows the number of hairs on your head. To him you are a real somebody, not a cast off.
The tendency when we feel isolated or lonely is to withdraw even more. This protects us from being rejected and hurt even more. And this is based on a lie from Satan that says you will be hurt or that you are not good enough or that no one understands you. In God’s eyes you are not the loser Satan claims you are.
I used my time of isolation to discover who I was, accept who I was, and then looked for a way in which to share me with those around me. Now I lead an active ministry, share the word at different churches, and seek times of solitude. You could say that my life is the opposite of what it was when I was a shut in due to my health.
I am no better than anyone else nor am I loved more by God than anyone else. If this happened to me, it can happen to you.
Andy Becker is a retired counselor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon) as is, Stupid Thyroid, a book he co-wrote with his wife, Stella. He and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministries which offers love, hope, and encouragement to one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods, North Central Regina. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca