Everyone feels lonely from time to time. Yet struggling with loneliness on a consistent basis can trigger a spiral of negative, self-deprecating thoughts that further keep you stuck and isolated from others. If you want to feel less disconnected from others, there are steps you can take to help reduce the feeling of loneliness and become more confident in building healthy relationships.
Connecting with confidence is a skill that only improves with practice. By trying new strategies and being vulnerable, you become more approachable and attract the kind of relationships you want in your life. You will also trust in yourself to let go of the relationships that no longer serve you in order to make room for the ones that will.
We are able to take action when we believe in ourselves and our worth. When we are self-confident, we can more easily ignore the critical thoughts that put us in our own way and care less about what other people might think about us.
Stepping out of our comfort zones is not easy. The explanation is in the name; we are comfortable where we are, not because it actually makes us happy but because it’s what we know, and the known is easier to handle than the unknown. We think that by avoiding change, we will feel more secure. The truth is that focusing on maintaining the status quo keeps you in a more fearful and insecure state of mind.
If we choose to live our lives within the confines of a safe zone, there exists little opportunity for the rewards that come with vulnerability. New experiences help challenge our brains, foster healthier habits, and decrease loneliness. Yet knowing something could be good for you and actually doing it are two separate beasts. In order to take action, we need to truly believe in the value of it, especially if it is an affront to the status quo. When we are focused only on the next day, week, or month, doing something that comes with longer-term payoffs is harder to invest our time and effort in. The critic voice will happily point out all of the things that are either more important (usually something that may involve a commitment to someone else) or less risky in order to avoid potential failure.
There may be a variety of reasons not to incorporate new activities into your life. You may feel overwhelmed by your current responsibilities and commitments, and fitting something else in just feels like too much. Taking time away from work and financial demands can be a hindrance. For many, life is about being productive; earning and saving money is the priority or value. Spending money on things that do not fall into these categories, like an art class or a ticket to a symphony may feel like a lavish expense or frivolous.
Alternatively, you may have a lot of time that could be spent doing something new, but the question remains, what? Or, you have attempted new hobbies, but nothing seems to stick. For people who struggle with perfectionism, trying something new can be especially challenging. To attempt something new generally means you are at a beginner’s level. Proficiency will take time and dedicated practice. If you don’t have the confidence to be okay with failing and motivated enough to commit the time, the new hobby can easily lose its luster.
In what ways have you been considering incorporating new activities into your life? What could be one small step that you could commit to this week to follow through on? In order to build confidence, consider where small changes or shifts can be made and trust that the momentum will grow!
If you would like support in healing your relationship challenges or addressing your feelings of loneliness, we welcome you to reach out.
Excerpts from the book The Loneliness Companion; A Practical Guide for Improving Your Self-Esteem and Finding Comfort in Yourself