I remember holidays bringing a special kind of loneliness when I was single. The first Christmas and then Valentines day without a partner were particularly challenging, especially after having been married for twenty years. As the single years went on, I became better at acceptance, and the loneliness ache became smaller with time.
Here are some things I’ve learned about coping with loneliness:
1.Be the best person you can be for you. This may be the perfect time to work on you. What negative habits do you want to extinguish or minimize? What’s one step you can take in that direction? For example, if you smoke, stop smoking in the house, walk for 10 minutes three times a week, catch negative statements and reframe them to positive or neutral statements, make a gratitude list. What good qualities do you want to nurture and strengthen?
2. Connect with people (or animals), places and things that are good for you. Go places, or create events, where you are likely to encounter positive, nurturing people. Consider volunteering, not just on the holiday, but as the holiday approaches, or as part of your weekly or monthly routine. Visit a nursing home and ask if there is someone who needs a visitor. Ask residents to talk about themselves and their lives. They likely have interesting stories to tell.
3. Focus on friendship. Really get to know someone as a friend before you jump into a romantic relationship. Being lonely made me vulnerable which led to unhealthy attachments. Meet at coffee shops for a while before going to lunch. Take it one step at a time.
4. Strengthen your relationship with your higher power, through prayer, conversation and meditation. You are never alone. You are deeply and profoundly loved, forever by the one who created you. Tell your Creator what you want and let that Power greater and wiser than you and me work on this for you. We don’t always get what we want. But sometimes we get something better than we ever imagined!
May you know for certain that you are deeply and profoundly loved, forever!