How to face the loneliness not chosen? 6 practical tips
Guidelines to manage the feeling of loneliness are not chosen using new ways of relating.
Loneliness is one of the most common forms of discomfort, and in certain sectors of the population, such as the elderly, it has become a generalized epidemic. That is why this is one of the most frequent reasons for consultation among those who go to psychotherapy.
If loneliness not chosen is a problem that affects you significantly in your day to day, read on; Here you will find tips to combat it and have a rich and satisfying social life.
What do we understand by loneliness in Psychology?
The term “loneliness” is widely used in popular language, and that is why it is often used in very lax ways , without being very clear about the limits of the concept to which it refers.
That is why, in the field of psychology, when we talk about loneliness, in the vast majority of cases, we refer to something more precise: a set of mental states and habits and behavior patterns that feed a feeling of related discomfort with the lack of a meaningful connection with other people.
So, here we will talk about rather emotional loneliness, that is, it does not have to do so much with the number of people with whom someone has neutral or positive (pleasant) interactions during the day today, but with the quality of these relationships, the degree of well-being and emotional and/or intellectual stimulation that they generate.
Among the elements that make up the degree to which a person feels lonely, the following should be highlighted:
- The way the people around you fit in with your self-concept and sense of identity.
- The tastes, hobbies and values that you have in common with those people.
- The time available to interact with those people in the desired way, without rushing or other tasks to be done.
- The frequency of those encounters.
- The degree to which the person feels that they can express themselves freely in the company of these people.
- The ability to meet those people face to face (not just through a screen).
- The possibility of feeling supported by these people, in a relationship with a future and in which there is a certain degree of commitment.
- The degree to which these relationships are part of the project of making sense of one’s life.
In short, in psychology, loneliness is not synonymous with social isolation, among other things because there are those who enjoy spending a lot of time socially isolated, and the activities that they can carry out on their own eclipse any outbreak of feeling of loneliness, and on the other hand, because the concept of social isolation does not include as many nuances as those we have just seen.
What is unelected loneliness?
When loneliness is very intense, it produces significant discomfort that in many cases must be intervened from psychotherapy. However, loneliness is not always unelected loneliness.
For example, there are people who choose to get involved in projects or ways of life that favor the appearance of loneliness, but that in turn provide other incentives and sources of satisfaction that make these individuals someone capable of experiencing happiness. It happens with some of the people who start a very difficult university career, or who because of the work they enjoy must be traveling constantly (remember that feeling alone does not imply never meeting new people or not having frequent conversations).
However, in practice this balance is precarious and difficult to maintain while taking care of one’s own mental health : as time goes by, this way of experiencing day-to-day “burns a lot” and in most cases Sometimes there comes a point where it does not compensate and the loneliness not chosen appears. The latter is precisely what the name suggests: a life experience in which the person is unable to establish meaningful connections with other individuals capable of becoming important in their life.
Thus, there are three great types of unelected loneliness :
- Caused by a lack of social interactions in private life.
- Caused by constant exposure to unsatisfactory social interactions in private life.
- Caused by an inability to have a private life (due to lack of time or material resources, being a public figure, etc.).
How to face and overcome the loneliness not chosen?
These are several of the key ideas to keep in mind to leave this type of discomfort behind.
1. Make a list of between six and eight causes that you think are behind your loneliness
Try to do it thinking about the present and avoiding detecting possible causes that occurred many years ago or that even go back to your childhood.
You don’t have to do it in one sitting. If you want, take a small notebook with you and write down ideas over a day or two. Then, order these causes from highest to lowest, thinking only of your case.
2. Divide the causes into two categories: internal factors and external factors.
It is not the same to notice that our shyness makes it difficult for us to make new friends, to notice that it is difficult for us to make new friends because work takes away all our time. In one case we are talking about psychological factors that we can explain by analyzing your way of behaving in almost all the contexts of your life, and in the other, it is a circumstantial aspect and closely related to your way of life, your socioeconomic situation, etc. . Appreciating these differences will help you sharpen your shot when proposing solutions.
So, divide the elements of your list into two columns, and make each of them maintain the order by the importance of each of these causes.
3. Select at least one cause from each of the two categories and think of solutions
Ideally, you should do it by proposing solutions to the most important causes, but you must be realistic and some of them may seem impossible to solve on your own. If so, instead of proposing solutions to one of the important ones, propose them for two of the less important ones.
4. Set goals for the next four weeks
The challenge of achieving these goals should have a clear beginning and end, and this journey should include several sub-goals along the way, so don’t leave everything to the last minute. In addition, the objectives to be achieved must consist of actions that you are going to carry out, not in the reaction of the people with whom you will interact since you cannot control the latter.
For example, do not consider being accepted by a group that interests you, consider establishing a channel of communication with these people, making them see your interest in them, and testing the waters to see if they suit you or fit with you.
5. Strengthen your communication skills and exposure to people compatible with you
A wide variety of actions and strategies are included here, so we cannot list them all and many of them may not be used because you do not need it. However, as a little advice, keep these ideas in mind:
- Take advantage of the potential of the Internet to find people with your hobbies, but invest more time in those relationships that you can move to the non-virtual realm.
- Do not assume that you must like others to have their attention and gain acceptance; By showing your own criteria and a critical sense, you can make others like you.
- If you are afraid of meeting new people, lose it gradually, without exposing yourself a lot from the first moment, but progressing clearly.
- If you’ve never organized your time all week, doing so will surely give you more hours to dedicate to your social life.
6. If you notice that it costs you a lot, go to psychotherapy
It is not necessary to have a psychological disorder to go to therapy, loneliness problems are part of the problems most commonly treated in the consultation of a psychologist or a psychologist.
How to face the loneliness not chosen? 6 practical tips