For those who have made a choice about living alone and loving it, it can be a liberating way of life. But the grief of loneliness after a loss, whether from the death of a loved one, or after divorce can be tough.
Loneliness goes hand in hand with grief after bereavement or separation and it can be difficult to work out how to live alone again.
After all, we are surrounded by millions of people on this planet, and unless you live up a mountain or in the outback, there are people about. Often those who do live in isolation wouldn’t call themselves lonely, as they are content with their own company.
So perhaps the definition of loneliness is unwanted isolation. Or missing those we have lost to the degree that we can’t make new friends or lovers.
In old age, loneliness is often caused by ill health and disability which means that it is more difficult to get out and see people. In this case, it is important to seek help and find out what services can be provided for home visits and transport to day centres and activities.
After divorce or separation, loneliness is often compounded by a lack of confidence brought on by feelings of rejection. Many people don’t realise that divorce can cause as much grief as if the person had died so you don’t get as much support.
So how do we progress from loneliness to living alone and loving it? How do we learn how to overcome loneliness?
Becoming content with who you are and enjoying your own company is easier said than done if you’re not in the habit.
The trick is to get in touch with who you are again, and what you want out of life. For those who have spent many years caring for partners or children, it can involve a lot of soul searching to find out what you want out of life and who you are.
One way is to think back to who you were at school, when you were young and before you took on so many responsibilities.
Think about those things that you’ve always wished you could do but hadn’t had the chance.
Another way is to find like-minded people and get out and about with them. Whatever experiences you have had, there will be others who have similar ones, or who have interests or hobbies in common with you.
Do some internet searches in your local area for things that interest you. It takes confidence to join new groups, but take small steps and realise that others are in the same boat and are feeling like you too. Take an interest in others and you will soon make new friends and join the ranks of those who are living alone and loving it.
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