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How To Deal With Loneliness

How To Deal With Loneliness

If you find yourself feeling lonely, you need to be patient. Most people are not alone much and loneliness can be hard to deal with if you’re not used to it. But this shouldn’t worry you because being alone can be great, once you’ve learned to embrace it.

If you think about it, there are already many places where you are alone. The bathroom, the coffee shop, the library, and on the bus during your morning commute. When you’re alone in the bathroom, you have time think or read the paper. When you’re in a coffee shop, it’s totally acceptable to sit alone and watch the people walk by. The library is a place where you’re not supposed to talk anyway so it’s a fine place to sit alone and read.

But that’s not all–there are plenty of other places where it’s more than okay to be alone. How about the gym? You can simply put headphones in and isolate yourself from the world around you as you get your workout in. Then there’s public transportation which is constantly occupied by people who are alone while heading somewhere.

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If you think about it, it’s also totally fine to go out to lunch by yourself. Most employees only have an hour for lunch and don’t have enough time to meet up with friends and spouses who work on the other side of town. They’ll be eating out alone, just like you.

You can go pray or mediate alone in a church, synagogue, or mosque. No one will judge you for being alone while praying and thinking.

When you’re ready, take yourself out to dinner alone. Plenty of businessmen do it when they’re far from home. Avoid hanging out with your cell phone and try to enjoy the alone time. Chat up the waiter or sit at the bar and make conversation with the bartender.

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Go to the movies alone. It’s dark and relaxing in a movie theater and hardly anyone will notice you’re alone. It’s another great place where it’s okay to be lonely.

You can go on a hike in the woods alone and find comfort among the birds, trees, and forest animals.

You can be alone in a unfamiliar city and find comfort in a park or on a bench somewhere.

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It’s strange but society is afraid to be alone. We’re somehow afraid to be alone, and if we’re not “paired up” by a certain point in our lives, people start to think there’s something wrong with us.

Yet, this is the wrong way of thinking. Being lonely can be a liberating feeling. Being alone affords you a certain kind of freedom that makes things somehow easier. Being alone can be an amazing opportunity.

All that matters, in the end, is that you find happiness on your own. Love yourself and learn to love being alone.

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Soon enough, you’ll learn to overcome the feelings of insecurity and, in time, you’ll learn to love your time alone.

There’s a great lyrical poem by Tonya Davis called “How To Be Alone” that perfectly captures the beauty and important of alone time. You can watch this awesome video which was created based on the poem.

Ultimately, dealing with loneliness is entirely up to you. Remember, at first you must be patient. You cannot expect to conquer feelings of loneliness all at once. I assure you that over time, and with practice, you’ll learn to love and cherish those few moments when you do find yourself alone. It is in those moments that we can truly be ourselves and learn to enjoy our own company. This is a very important lesson to learn.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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