By Claire Hansen
Blog Content Contributor
One can be lonely for any number of reasons– maybe you’ve just moved to San Marcos and haven’t found your niche yet, you’re too busy to have much of a social life, you’ve just gotten out of a relationship or perhaps you’re in a long distance relationship and what’s close to you is simply too far away. Or, maybe you’re just a hardcore introvert and naturally don’t have an endless reservoir of friends to turn to! It’s all too easy to feel lonely in this day and age, but no matter what you’d like to blame it on, being lonely sucks. Leave it untreated and it can do some serious damage to your mental state and productivity level. That said, loneliness isn’t always something we can avoid. So, here’s to all the lonely people out there: we can get through this together. Ironically, you aren’t alone.
You are not to blame.
The worst thing about being lonely is there being no one there to distract you from your own misery. When we find ourselves feeling isolated, we tend to wonder what caused it, and it’s natural to put the blame on our own doings. Well, news flash– it’s not because no one wants to hang out with you. You are a stellar human being. It’s the 21st century world we live in that does not exactly sponsor unity. Social media, busy schedules and impossible expectations are all contributors to the loneliness epidemic. Consider the unavoidable forces in your life that could be causing your loneliness and take the burden off yourself.
Resistance only makes it worse.
Fighting loneliness and spending too much time thinking about your imperfect situation will not help you feel better. Treat solitude like an old friend playing a visit. Take it as a chance to get to know yourself better. Revisit the projects and hobbies you’ve put to the side because they weren’t a big enough priority. Even better, turn on some music and just be you. Do whatever makes you happiest that you don’t need other people for — maybe that’s taking a long, candlelit bubble bath or binging on those guilty-pleasure shows and movies you enjoy. If you really can’t find anything to hold your interest, exercise! Working out is always a productive use of time, plus, it releases endorphins, which will make you feel alive and more in-tune with yourself than ever by the end of your sweat session. The point of all these activities is to bring you closer to yourself. If you can be your own best friend, be entertained with what you bring to the table and learn to enjoy your own company, then loneliness will become a stranger to you.
Finding company is not the only solution.
It’s quite easy to let loneliness get the best of you and fail to do anything about it. Well, there’s a little bit of tough love to give there– if you never stand up and make things better for yourself, then you’ll simply stay stuck there until you do. It may sound scary, or exhausting, but making small efforts to maintain the relationships you do have will show other people that you care about them, and chances are they’ll turn around and do the same to you. Treat others how you’d like to be treated, eh? If you really can’t figure out where to start, an obvious and incredibly helpful first step is to get off social media. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and whatever else may all be revolutionary tools, but too much use and/or the wrong kind of use will send you into a downwards spiral, leaving you feeling helpless and pitiful. Social media has evolved into nothing but a highlight reel of everyone’s lives. So, comparing someone else’s best to your worst is bound to bring feelings of inadequacy.
Remember that things won’t always be this way. Whatever your reason for feeling lonely, it’s a fact that life is constantly changing and you never know how soon it will be before a new door opens for you and introduces something wonderful into your life. College students, this is especially true for us. Most of us have left something behind at some point to be here, and we can’t expect every transition to just be flawless and friend-filled. Being in college also means that you’re surrounded by tons of other students who are going through the exact same thing as you. So, never forget to remind yourself that you’re surely not the only one who feels this way. To some extent, it’s really just a part of life. Embrace it.
Featured illustration by Claire Hansen.