Did you know that almost half of Americans feel alone or left out?
It’s true! According to a recent national survey investigating loneliness in the United States, Cigna found that 46 percent of Americans feel alone, and 47 percent feel left out.
With the holidays in full swing, many people tend to feel even more isolated. Christmas can be another reminder that we don’t look like the happy people in the TV commercials, which often makes us feel even lonelier. Maybe your fa-la-la-la-la’s are becoming shorter each Christmas. If they are, you’re not alone.
When I lost both parents unexpectedly (and my mother died during my wedding week), there was a vexation that not even a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes could fill.
You might be feeling isolated for other reasons, maybe because of a divorce, leaving loved ones behind after a big move, or discord over political rifts. No matter the reason, loneliness stinks.
So, here are four helpful tips to help you vamp up the fa-la-la-la-la’s for good:
- Stay Out of the Corner
In boxing, athletes are cognizant that being trapped in a corner can spell doom. Being aware of the corners is mandatory, as commanding the center of the ring is key to winning. It’s the same way mentally. When you stay out of the corners from the threats of loneliness, you have power to avoid the snares and triggers it causes. This can be spending too much time alone where you focus on losses, people, or events that can’t be controlled. Fight against false perceptions with the Word of God when loneliness knocks you into a corner.
- Find a Healthy Distraction
I love spending time around horses, and it’s a moment in my day that makes me feel connected and peaceful. When I start to grieve or don’t want to leave the house, I force myself to go to the stables. What’s your healthy distraction? If you don’t have one, find one. It can be baking, running, or volunteering. This will also force you to change out of the leggings or sweatpants with assorted breakfast stains you’ve been wearing for two days! Do your part and God will do His.
- Find Comfort in Others Who Have Been through Trials
Jesus felt lonely after losing John the Baptist. Jesus was able to relate to his friend and mentor, who never backed down during trials or from the fear of death. Perhaps this brought comfort to Jesus on the way to Calvary. Find someone who has gone through what you’re experiencing and learn from them. It can be a friend or reading about how others subdued deep loneliness and difficulties and prevailed.
- Be Yourself – Even When It’s Uncomfortable
I learned when I am more transparent with my struggles I meet more people who can relate. Sometimes, people will not be as responsive, but don’t allow this to divert you. I was told I should have known that my mother’s death was imminent, so why be depressed? “Gee, I don’t know, it happened three days before my wedding,” I scoffed. People will let you down. Talk to the One who knows your pain.
When the Answer is Delayed
We want a drive-thru breakthrough, but even Paul didn’t receive his miracle. Paul implored the Lord to take the “thorn” out from his flesh.
Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-8, NIV)
We don’t know why God didn’t answer Paul. Maybe it was to make him stronger or more sympathetic to others. This is a time when we need to believe God hears our hearts, even when it seems that in the natural He has forsaken us.
There is happiness and a new life on the other side of loneliness. There may be one empty chair this year, but ask the Holy Spirit to take a seat.
“God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.” (Psalm 9:18, NIV)