The Thing to Do — If You Feel Lonely - Vital Connections

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The experience of loneliness may be vague or it may be intense. Loneliness is ... at www.LivingPartnership.org or through Vital Connections at www.vitalco.net.

The Thing to Do — If You Feel Lonely by Patrick MacAfee, Ph.D. One of the most prominently invisible facets of human experience is loneliness. We have all known it from short and passing experiences on through to something we just can’t shake. Loneliness is a feeling of emptiness or hollowness inside. We feel separate, even separated from our environment, from our world and, sometimes, even those close to us. The experience of loneliness may be vague or it may be intense. Loneliness is developed through many of our experiences, loss being the most prominent. In loss we are cut off, we are made separate. It’s natural for most, possibly for all people, to feel sad, separate and lonely under these circumstances. Those feelings are usually temporary and they pass. But if the feelings of loneliness linger, they can become troublesome. In loneliness there is a passive state, that is, we seem not to deal with it – letting it, rather, envelop us. When this happens, we need to do something. Recognition and expression are the best tools to deal with lingering loneliness. Because loneliness is an emotional state, we tend to ignore it. Often people also make conscious decisions to not talk about it because they “don’t want to burden others”, or have convinced themselves that “I’m just feeling sorry for myself”. When we keep loneliness to ourselves, it just makes matters worse and serves to increase our isolation. The solution is to get active—to learn to recognize that loneliness is a human condition that we can change. Getting involved is the best medicine. Talk about it, share it, get out of the house, do something and meet other people. Then the loneliness you have felt will begin to lighten. Another thing you may want to do is to seek religious counsel. Many churches offer no cost or low cost groups specifically to deal with these matters. And, of course, other counseling is also an option. But what we need to do, when we have lingering loneliness, is to come back and rejoin our community by being active. © 2005, Partnership to Preserve Independent Living for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced in any manner without permission. Meeting the Challenges is published quarterly (four times a year) by the Partnership to Preserve Independent Living for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities, 6296 Rivercrest Drive, Suite K, Riverside, CA. 92507. The Partnership to Preserve Independent Living for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation organized for the purpose of improving or preserving the independence and dignity of the elderly and persons with disabilities and their families. The educational programs of the Partnership to Preserve Independent Living for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities are supported by grants and the the charitable contributions of individuals and organizations. Visit us on the Internet at www.LivingPartnership.org or through Vital Connections at www.vitalco.net.