Are you lonely? Open yourself up to human contact. Find a friend. Be a friend. Talk. Listen. Share. Worthwhile human contact can be found in special interest groups, clubs, community action groups, and various support groups. a lonely person sometimes hesitates to take the first step in joining a group, but I tell my patients that such a step is important if emotional healing is to take place. Reaching out is not an option, it is a necessity. Friendships need to be established.
Whin the structures of Christianity, I see more evidence that God understands loneliness. Christian have a ready-made way to reach out to others and heal the pain of broken relationships. If fact, if is very difficult for a Christian to isolate himself or herself! I believe that the church, as it was created by God, brings people together in bonds of love. By its very nature it combats loneliness and isolation. "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together," the Bible exhorts believers.
The relationship between people in a church should be based on genuine love and interest, and on a desire to follow Jesus, not on selfish motives. For that reason, almost any lonely person can find fellowship in a church that is truly Christian in practice as well as principle.
As a person reaches out, the following activities should occur:
Communication. Talking and listening are the two parts of effective communication, and a lonely person should work on both sills. Some need help to become good listeners. Others need help to dig deep and express important thoughts. The very act of "getting things off your chest" helps improve emotional health.
Sharing. Along with listening and talking, a person should be willing to become involved in someone else's life. Helping someone else overcome a problem is a wonderful way to get the focus off your own problems. It is a psychiatric fact that in these situation "it is more blessed to give than receive". Many of my patients have found great satisfaction in reaching out to people who suffer. People who can volunteer time to service agencies can benefit greatly from their involvement.
Vent frustrations. A person caught in the clutches of loneliness needs to release tension. Talk can be a safety valve. See out a pastor, counselor or friend. Describe the good as well as the bad. Cry, if needs be. Bang your fist on the table a couple of times, if your friend understands and if the table is strong enough! Unresolved frustration will bubble up and cause physical problems for you at some point along the way. Your stomach may be the first to go. Perhaps it will be headaches. Or you may lapse into neurotic disorders or clinical depression. Better to set off a release valve now than wind up in a hospital later.
Confession is good for the soul. Guilt can be devastating, and many lonely people are full of guilt. Whether your guilt is real or imagined, pray about it. You may want to seek out a pastor, priest, or trusted friend and confess your sins and short-comings. Get it off your chest, out of your baggage, and out of your life. Seek forgiveness from the wronged party, if necessary, and also from God Himself. The begin to wipe the slate clean. Grapple with the sin and deal with it. Jesus holds out His arms to Christians and tells them to come to Him for forgiveness, for He will "abundantly pardon." Again, that is a major tenet of Christianity. Christians should feel free to confess anything to God at any time.