I remember well one of the loneliest times of my life. I had spent a long day sitting in a hospital waiting room. My husband’s cancer surgery had gone well, but it was stressful to say the least. As I sat in my car to go home, I took a moment to try to collect myself. I turned on the ignition, but all of a sudden, fear and loneliness flooded my mind and the tears flowed.
As my emotional waterfall broke loose, I grieved that cancer would change my marriage forever, pull my husband and me apart and leave each of us lonely. Changes in health or even separations brought on by work obligations can lead to loneliness in marriage and a feeling of isolation in our overall lives. It’s a terrible feeling to think that we are alone in the world, that no one cares for us, that no one is concerned about anything that might happen to us. It’s a desolate place to go to.
My husband and I actually became stronger and pressed through those lonely days by enduring the adversity together. Thankfully, my husband is now cancer free. Praise God! But still, even without major life challenges, figuring out how to deal with loneliness can be tough.
Here are three tips for how to deal with loneliness of any kind.
1. Look beyond.
Find someone who can help you with what you are feeling. If you are a single mom and have to work from sun up to sun down to make ends meet, then reach out to others facing similar situations. There are more support groups cropping up in both the church and in your community as single parenthood takes a more predominate role in families. There are people who want to help, but they don’t know you are hurting until you tell them. Everyone needs a friendship or some community where you can be real. Even for spouses of the deployed military, there are support/care groups to help get through isolation issues.
2. Look around.
Often when we focus too much time and thought on our own issues, we forget how good we do have it. We often miss the good things in life because they are overshadowed by the seemingly not so good things. When we stop comparing our happiness to someone else’s, then we are more grateful for what we have. There is always a place to volunteer and plug into if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and investigate someone else’s needs over yours. There’s a group that needs what you have, whether it be time, talent, or simply you.
3. Look in.
At the end of the day, you are the one that has a handle on your emotions. Yes, life is tough for everyone no matter the current situation, especially if you are separated from the one you love. It’s easy to get lonely and feel isolated. If this is a rough patch and your life has left you “single,” you are the only one who can control your own happiness. So own it and make the best of it. Happiness can’t be bought, and contentment is learned. When you remember to look beyond, look around, and look in, you will be better prepared for whatever season comes next.
Question: What comforts you when you feel lonely?
About Janelle Keith
I’m Janelle Keith and I’m addicted to coffee, lattes, good laughs, and noticing the good in people. I am a globe trotter serving the vulnerable. I have a big story of losing 132 lbs. of excess weight. I’m passionate about inspiring you to live and love in practical ways. I advocate real truth to a hurting generation, bringing of community and encouragement.