It is believed that Aristotle once said “Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to and therefore does not partake of society is either a beast or a god.”
Somehow this statement found a way into science and a lot of scholars refer to Aristotle when talking about human social behavior. Although a lot of scientists are now doubting the theory that people are social beings and really need company, it doesn’t stop us from feeling that hollow sensation deep in our chest and stomach which can’t be explained logically. It feels more like archaic force. Nevertheless, this inner emptiness can be explained. If you’ve been wondering lately how to overcome loneliness, you found the right place. Here are some ideas:
1. Loneliness is not a fact, it’s a feeling
Feelings are different from the facts. It’s not about conquering loneliness, it’s about letting yourself actually experience life in all of its manifestations. All highs and all lows are interconnected and by excluding one you are putting yourself under the risk of canceling the other. Feelings, however powerful they feel, may hardly change anything on the outside. The sun will rise, the rain will fall, you are your best friend and through this friendship, you can build other relationships.
2. Get to know yourself better
You should become your own favorite company. Instead of battling loneliness, you may try to befriend it. Every time you enter the social game of interactions and relationships you keep missing the main person you should have deepest and most profound communication with – yourself. By overlooking yourself you are hurting yourself more than ever. Maybe it’s better to try and for once turn down an invitation in favor of yourself?
3. Get involved in something you truly love
You must have something you truly love, even if it’s just watching shows. There is a moment in your life where you really got to relieve the tension, let yourself go and let yourself actually do things that might seem impractical but actually are the salt of your life. As they say “pay attention to what you do when you are procrastinating. Find out what and maybe you can turn it into the vocation of your life”. Just take an evening and try doing something distracting and relaxing. Maybe watch a TV-show, take a walk in the park, make that phone call you have been postponing because you didn’t have time. What do you do when you are distracted? Do you doodle when you talk on the phone? Do you indulge in a creative and lengthy roasting of all the TV-shows you watched? You could go into art or movie-criticism as well. You don’t have to monetize but you could really develop your activities.
4. Get off the social media
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a real thing. According to Wiki, FOMO is "a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent". This social anxiety is characterized by "a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing."
Every time you turn down an invitation to a party to stay at the office to finish that important project you feel that FOMO hit you like a train. Every time you miss a wild party at your friend’s house to stay home and catch up on your favorite show, you know for sure you are not watching it alone. There will be three of you: you, your bucket of ice-cream and that FOMO, your old friend.
The best way to deal with this feeling is to actually delete your social media apps. Or, to think again about how deceitful these social media apps are, that only the best parts of their lives are shown, and the worst parts are left behind. Ask your followers what they think about your life and you might be surprised!
5. Get away from people who make you feel lonely
One of the best ways to overcome loneliness is to become picky. If you feel lonely you might consider laying back and taking a keener look at the people who surround you. Is it really a deep inherent unquenchable mental thirst that only you yourself can satisfy or is it something about your friends, partners, and relatives? Although loneliness starts with us, that doesn’t mean that people around you don’t have anything to do with this feeling. As a matter of fact, cold and avoidant partners and friends can really worsen your state of mind.
6. Loneliness can become a habit. Break that habit
Just like rumination, loneliness may get you into a vicious circle of doubt-sudden revelation-doubt-revelation-self-hatred-doubt. This is something that requires some willpower to stop yourself in your way and ask yourself with all honesty “Am I being self-destructive right now?” Overwhelming loneliness might be the result of your perpetuating self-destructive tendencies.
7. Try volunteering
As a matter of fact, it can be really helpful. Through this connection to others in need, you might learn something new about yourself. Charity can give you a good perspective on your life. Conversations with people from a different social background make everything look quite different.
8. Don’t give up if certain people don’t respond to you
Unfortunately, we sometimes lack judgment and we can’t decide who is better for us. We are brought up as determined achievers, we are taught to never give up and keep trying, but what we fail to learn is that not every activity is actually worth that effort. One of the least profitable things you could do with your mental and time resources is to flush it down the useless relationship toilet. Try connecting with other people.
Reach out to people who genuinely want to spend time with you, who really enjoy your company and whose company you enjoy.
Maybe it’s high time you became pickier, however strange and scary it might seem. An abundance of lukewarm and unsatisfying relationships creates a visible bulk that only saddens you and feels like a burden and reproach: why on earth do you feel alone when you have so many people?
Instead, try reaching out to new people. And don’t be afraid to reach out to more and more people, until you meet those who are truly connecting with you on a lot of levels!