Dealing with loneliness

In my experience, the holiday we celebrate on February 14th goes by two different names depending on your personal situation. If you are pretty content and happy with your relationship status, Valentine’s day is Valentine’s day, but if you are single and discontent Valentine’s day becomes singles awareness day, a day dedicated to recognizing how alone and unhappy you are.

I’ve always been a little unhappy with Valentine’s day as a holiday because it’s the only holiday I know that makes a lot of people I meet pretty miserable. I always feel like the lonely single people get kind of left on the wayside during this holiday, so I wanted to make an article specifically for them. So this is going to be a guide on how to address some of that loneliness if you are single.

Learn to be happy regardless of your relationship status

Loneliness is not a product of being single, it’s a product of your attitude. Often when somebody asks me for advice about finding “the one”, my gut response is to tell them “be happy first”.

I tell people to be happy, because if you can be happy while single, your ability to foster a healthy relationship is going to be a lot stronger. You will be no longer dependent on another person for your own happiness. Any joy or intimacy that comes with a relationship is not going to be life or death for you, and instead it will be the icing on the cake. You’ll be dating because it’s fun, not because you need to date.

Also, many people date because it’s a quick fix to stop feeling lonely and unhappy. Unfortunately, relationships built on this don’t last, and you tend to find yourself back at square one. In particularly bad scenarios this can even result in serial dating where you eat through relationships like they’re potato chips. This is why it’s important to foster happiness in yourself first and to find emotional connection with friends and family even when you are single.

Understand what makes a relationship bad

There are two kinds of people, people who treat love as a scarce resource and people who treat it as an unlimited one. Ideally, you want to be in the latter group. The reason being that people who believe love is free are very emotionally secure and healthy in relationships.

When we don’t adopt an abundant mentality we start asking worrisome questions. What if they start loving somebody else and love me less? What if they never loved me in the first place? What if they left and I was all alone? These thoughts then generate incredible insecurities, which then bog down the relationship. The relationship stops being about being happy and having fun and instead becomes a game of “prove that you love me”. At this point, you find yourself in a relationship comparable to a series of circus acts where you each jump through hoop after hoop to show that you care and won’t leave the other person. In other words, it’s stressful and not fun.

Be aware of when you fall into a scarcity mentality. If you’ve ever felt better when your partner suddenly gets jealous or emotionally insecure, that’s scarcity mentality. We like it when our partner feels insecure because it means they won’t leave us and it soothes our own insecurities. Ideally, we want to not have those insecurities in the first place, so we can love and be loved freely.

Get in the habit of thinking in a more abundant mindset about love. Try asking yourself “If I believed that love is something that could never leave me, how would I see this differently?” Asking this question will help you think in a more in this fashion and be less fearful of love disappearing on you.

Learn about your insecurities and start tackling them a piece at a time

It can be hard to admit, but we all have our own baggage that keeps us from connecting the way we want to. That being said, we all have different amounts of baggage and we often handle that baggage differently. The people who tend to be truly happy both in their single life and their dating life are those who wrestle with that baggage regularly. These are the people who are constantly challenging their own issues and resolving them. When you start removing some of your baggage, you allow yourself to be more open. This creates opportunity for connection even when you aren’t dating, and can often help greatly with any lonely feelings you could have.

If you are not sure what your insecurities are, look at your past relationships. What are the common themes? Typically, we tend to date people who help soothe our insecurities and when they fail to do so is when we break up with them. If you haven’t been in a relationship, take some time and investigate why. Chances are your insecurities are what’s holding you back.

Tacking insecurities can be challenging. In addition to identifying them, you also have to gradually face them and deal with them. How you tackle an insecurity can vary a lot, but the general goal is gradually interact with your insecurity more and more until it becomes a non-issue.

For example, if you struggle with trust and tend to fear that people will betray your trust if you let them, you’d actually go out of your way to find small ways to try and trust people. You’d focus on finding good people and developing rapport with them. Then, you’d try trusting them in small ways, maybe share something personal that isn’t too emotionally compromising. Over time you’ll figure out who you can trust and who you can’t and eventually you’ll become comfortable enough trusting others that trust will no longer be an issue for you.

It should be noted that most insecurities are not easily overcome. In fact, some insecurities can require years of effort before they fully go away. It’s less important that you fully overcome an insecurity and more important that you are actively dealing with it. Often times just weakening the power an insecurity has over you is more than enough to foster that sense of connection we all crave. So work on it, and give yourself a high five even if you just look at your insecurities,  you’re already way ahead of most people.

First article image provided by user: you me

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