Skip to content

Holiday Blues

Coping with loneliness when you find yourself alone

The Memorial weekend was long…a tad too long for some. I was home alone and it hit me that the single life can sometimes be extra hard especially when loneliness creeps in. There were places to go, but I just wasn’t up to going sightseeing by myself. Interestingly, I have been known to go on vacations alone in the past but this felt rather different–even strange. At one point, I gathered myself, dressed up and drove 25 miles to a concert in a little quaint beautiful town only to find that there was no available parking spot. So, I drove my pretty -self back home. Two days later, I made another attempt and drove downtown to walk by the river – one of favorite places. But then again it hit me that I was alone. Everyone appeared to have “someone” — of-course there were exceptions but at that moment that’s what it looked like. Getting outside was nice but it didn’t make the longing for human companionship go away.

You see, I grew up in a place where it is hard to be lonely or alone for that matter. In fact people crave for personal space at times! When you go outside your premises there is a shopkeeper or vegetable lady to speak to. Or, there is a stranger in a “matatu” (read public transport) who starts chatting you up or leans over to read your newspaper and even tells you to turn the page..ha! A household helper or gate guard was always available to make some small talk. There was family and friends too who you could visit without any advance notice or announcement. There was always someone to talk to. Something that I took for granted until I immigrated abroad.

Tips to overcome loneliness

As I reflected, I realized a few things:

Practice Self-awareness: First, my efforts in learning mindfulness this year have taught me the importance of self-awareness. I could admit that what I was feeling was loneliness. Many people find it hard to accept their current state because they are not self-aware. What are you feeling right now? Is it a good or bad feeling?

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

– Carl Jung

Check your Thoughts: Secondly, I realized that I must control my thoughts. It’s easy tendency for the mind to focus on the negative experiences and so you have to channel it to think about good and positive things. Don’t dwell on thinking about what could be or what’s beyond your control.
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”  Philippians 4:8 The Message

Self-motivation: Thirdly, after trying to call a few friends who were unreachable because they were busy that weekend with family events, I realized that sometimes you have to be your own support system because no one is coming to save you. No one is coming to save you from your loneliness. Learn to encourage yourself. “but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” 1 Samuel 30:6

“It’s surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you’re not comfortable within yourself, you can’t be comfortable with others.”

– Sydney J. Harris

Every cloud has a silver lining- look for the blessing: Lastly, I told myself to find the blessings of solitude. It’s hard, it’s rough, it’s not what you want to experience but it’s important to withdraw from the crowd at times and listen to the still small voice. “As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer. [John 5:16 The Message]. In my moments of loneliness and solitude I found myself immersed in prayer because I desperately needed God’s presence and comfort.

Have you found yourself feeling lonely even when you are in a crowd? Or experiencing loneliness because of loss of a companion or parent? Or you find that you are lonely because your children now all grown, or you moved to a new place and haven’t yet made any connections? Are you overwhelmed with loneliness? Try practicing self-awareness, controlling your thoughts, be your own support system by encouraging yourself in the Lord, and find the blessing of solitude.

2 thoughts on “Holiday Blues”

  1. Such beautiful and wise words. Thank you, Esther for this encouraging post. This speaks truth my ❤️ heart ❤️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *