Would you publicly admit that you’re lonely? I recently mentioned on my personal Facebook page that despite a life full of blessings, I sometimes feel lonely. Since then, I have talked to several other women who could relate to that sentiment. It really drove home the point that there are a lot of people out there who need help but won’t admit it.
Why? Because we want to portray ourselves as people who have it all together. We want others to think that we have plenty of close friends, well-behaved children, a beautiful wardrobe, and a perfect marriage, and that we are always happy, happy, happy. The reality is that no one’s life fits this description.
This quote from Glennon Doyle Melton’s book Carry on, Warrior explains it perfectly:
…sometimes people who need help look nothing like people who need help.
So here is the problem. We know ourselves and our own weaknesses, and we compare ourselves against the public face that others put on when they know someone is looking. And then we tell ourselves that no one else can see what we’re really like or how we’re really feeling, because we will be labeled as losers.
Since Peace in the Pod is a place of encouragement, I will publicly state that I know what loneliness feels like. Often, it is part of a depression flare-up. This is especially true in winter. But at other times, I just feel socially isolated.
Regardless of why YOU feel lonely, you need to know that you not a loser. Seriously. If you feel like you’re in a funk that you can’t get out of, get help. You are precious and you deserve to be happy.
One more thing, and this is important. Since loneliness is a silent epidemic, we need to seek out others who may feel lonely. If you have a friend, family member, or neighbor that you haven’t talked to lately, give him or her a call. We need to treat these people like they are Jesus because they are.
So, for all of you who feel lonely, please read on and find encouragement. I included an easy action plan after each section so you can adapt these ideas to your daily life.
1. Look for comfort in God’s Word
The prince of darkness lies. He will tell you that you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not fun enough, that no one likes you, and the lies will go on and on and on. You need the wisdom of God’s Word to fight back. He loves you more than you will ever know and wants you to lean on Him during good and bad times. I really like the chorus of David Haas’ hymn You Are Mine, which appears to be based on Isaiah 43. Don’t be fooled by its common use in funerals – it is applicable to our daily lives as well.
Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me, I will bring you home. I love you and you are mine.
Action plan: Crack open your Bible and read about how much God cares for you. Start with Isaiah 43 and then do a Google search for other encouraging Bible verses. There are so many, but they need to be read in context. You can also read my post Powerful Encouragement for Women, which highlights the Anima Series video Who You Are: A Message to All Women.
2. Connect with another adult every day
I revealed in my post When Winter Sad Attacks that I have depression. Often, my loneliness is part of a depression flare up. In those cases, making the effort to interact with anyone at all is like asking myself to run a marathon – overwhelming and seemingly impossible. Did I mention that I don’t run? However, I’ve learned that when I force myself to talk to someone, that human interaction is the beginning of healing. Another bonus – that one conversation gives me hope for the future. With hope, everything gets a little easier.
Action plan: Make yourself talk to at least one adult every day, even if it has to be a stranger. Face to face conversations are ideal, but phone calls, texts, emails, and Facebook are better than nothing. Even better – join a group of other like-minded people. Regularly-scheduled social interaction with positive people does all of us a world of good.
3. Do everything in your power to address the root cause
What you do to overcome your loneliness depends on what is causing it. Everyone’s journey is different. If you need a friend, initiate a get together with an acquaintance. If you’ve had a major life change, make a plan for adjusting to your new situation. If you’ve lost a loved one, surround yourself with the people who love you. Don’t be afraid to get professional help if you need it. Asking for help shows that you are strong enough to care about your own well-being.
If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this: Someone in this world loves you and wants the best for you. Your life is worth doing whatever it takes to feel better.