There are many different explanations for why you are feeling lonely, but approaching your loneliness from the perspective of many of those explanations can lead to confusion because they deal with the symptoms of your feelings instead of the cause.
For example, some explanations have you believe that you feel lonely because you don’t go out often, or because you have social anxiety, or because you don’t have anyone around to talk to, or because you feel inadaquate when talking to people, or because you tend to isolate yourself, etc. Some of those things may be the case in your situation, but they are the symptoms of feeling lonely and not the cause.
If you want to understand what is causing your feelings of loneliness, you must become aware of your habit of thinking. If you take some time to become aware of your thoughts throughout the day, you’ll notice that your thoughts seem to reinforce your feelings of loneliness.
Thoughts and Feelings
Your feelings reflect your thoughts, and your thoughts are activated by what you are focusing your attention on at the moment. At some point in your life, you found a reason to focus on conditions that you interpreted as loneliness. Only you know the reason, but what’s significant is that you continued doing it until you established it as a habit.
Once the habit is established, the process becomes automatic. You then find yourself, perhaps unconsciously, looking for evidence of loneliness in your life. You reason, for example, that you don’t have friends you can connect with satisfyingly, or you don’t have people you can do things with or talk with regularly.
It can be any number of reasons that you use to reinforce the idea of loneliness in your life. As a result, any alone time will be interpreted as loneliness. In time you find yourself swamped by feelings of loneliness.
You may also find yourself justifying your feelings by blaming exterior conditions and people in an attempt to feel better about your lonely feelings. The feeling of blame will feel better than the feelings of despair and isolation that stem from a feeling of loneliness, but unless you resolve what’s causing the feeling of loneliness, the lift in your feelings through blame will only be temporary.
What to do?
So what do you do about it? Since your feelings of loneliness stem from a habit of thinking, you can develop another habit to replace it. Ridding yourself of a mental habit can be very difficult, especially if you’ve had the habit for a while. So, developing another habit that will counteract the old habit is easier.
To develop a new habit, you change your focus of attention. Train yourself to become aware of whenever you find yourself focusing on your thoughts of loneliness. Remind yourself that you are only allowing yourself to look at the conditions and circumstances that reinforce your thoughts and feelings of loneliness. Encourage yourself to look at things that contradict your ideas of loneliness.
Look within yourself and search for attributes that you like about yourself. Focus on the things that you want in your life. Do that repeatedly at various times throughout the day, even if it’s only for a couple of minutes. The key is consistency. At first, that might seem awkward if you’re not used to doing it, but with persistence, the process will begin to feel more natural.
The idea is to develop a new habit of thinking that works against what you think of as loneliness. As you do so, you will feed the proper conditions into your conscious mind, which will take the new information and do its magic.
This will initially take some effort and persistence on your part, and it won’t happen overnight, much like the gradual time it took to establish the habit of thinking around loneliness. However, the amount of effort it takes is well worth the resulting experience of better feelings and a sense of control of your situation.