Ending a relationship is difficult and painful enough. When the loneliness that inevitably follows your breakup hits, it can be downright unbearable.
In this article, I will give you 5 powerful ideas to help cope with loneliness, even turning it into a positive force in your recovery process.
For most people loneliness is worse in the evening, night, and early morning, the times you are used to interacting or spending time with your ex-partner. Most men and women deal with the loneliness at these painful times by trying to avoid their feelings.
They may drink too much, so that they don’t feel. They may have one or two extra snacks to give themselves comfort. For lack of company, they may watch too much TV or too many movies, or spend too much time on Facebook or social media.
While these activities may deaden the loneliness, they don’t resolve it. What’s worse, doing these avoidance activities will make you feel bad about yourself. You may end up feeling shame or even self-hate as you suffer the side effects of these activities. You may want to isolate and hide out from others.
None of this sounds like a good way to deal with loneliness, does it?
The 5 powerful ideas below can help you cope with loneliness in a healthy and productive way.
1. Label the emotions you feel with precise words.
Language helps us make sense of our internal experience, and is our built-in tool for handling emotions. When we avoid our emotions, we think we are protecting ourselves from pain. In reality, feeling the unlabeled blob of feelings is actually what we are trying to escape.
Once you label your emotions precisely, you reduce their power and how intense they feel. You will not believe this actually works until you try it.
Start looking for precise words for your emotions in the feelings words wheel here. Google “list of feeling words” for more choices.
2. Share your feelings with caring others, in a specific way.
Pain is easier to handle when shared. Although you may still feel alone when you are by yourself in your home, knowing that caring persons in the world understand what you are going through can be immensely comforting.
If you are worried about overburdening your closest friends and family with your loneliness, teach them specifically how to help you:
• Tell them you don’t want advice at the moment, rather you want to share with them what you are feeling.
• Ask if they could listen to you and try to understand, and let you know if they can relate.
• Tell them this is the most helpful thing they can do for you right now.
3. Heal and grow to feel better.
If loneliness is a temporary state, the price you pay now for having the best relationship of your life in the future, it may be easier to handle.
Turn your loneliness into an opportunity to grow yourself emotionally in ways that feel real and forward-moving. Books, coaching and therapy could be great tools on this path. Here’s a must-read (and practice) book to get you started.
4. Accept the situation you are in and the emotions you are feeling.
Acceptance does not mean that you like the situation, or that you are going to do nothing to change it. It means that you face it squarely and acknowledge that this is what is happening in your life at the moment.
Rather than fighting the fact that your relationship has ended, accept this situation, and all that goes with it. Accept that perhaps the partner you wanted to be your life partner is not in fact going to be that for you. Accept that you are without a partner for the moment.
A situation that is fully accepted can then be more easily changed, because in seeing it clearly the way out becomes clear as well.
5. Recognize your thoughts and feelings are not factual.
We often don’t distinguish between what we think and feel, and reality.
When you feel lonely you may also have the thought that you will always be alone. Then you may feel not only lonely, but also hopeless and disconnected, as if the thought that you will always be alone is the truth. Yet, you don’t actually know with any certainty that you will always be alone. You may not even be alone for the next month.
When you can tell the difference between your thoughts and feelings and what is real, you stop causing yourself unnecessary pain. Feeling lonely may become more bearable, because you will be feeling lonely, here in this moment, rather than the rest of your life.
Loneliness does not feel great, but armed with the right ideas and action, you can turn it into an opportunity to prepare yourself for the best relationship of your life.
If you find it challenging to take the above steps on your own, schedule a Get Clarity Coaching session. I have 20+ years of experience coaching people in exactly how to heal and open to the best relationship of their life, no matter how difficult the breakup or divorce.