December 11, 2017

BATTLING LONELINESS.


Even though I'm a tried and true introvert, I still crave connection and relationships. One of the things I've learned about ISFJ's is that they're a bit of an oxymoron; that is, most crave both alone time and social interaction with others. During the school year, I'm often spent and over-socialized with my line of work, but there are still times when loneliness creeps in and and pokes at the soft spots in my heart.

For a long time, I thought that a boyfriend would "solve" of "fix" my loneliness. I poured myself into my relationships, hoping that it would fill that emptiness I was feeling inside. 

Of course, life happens and when break-ups happen, I was left overwhelmed with loneliness. When I poured my entire being into one person, losing them was like losing a part of me. No longer did I have someone to text, call, or meet-up with. And the pangs of loneliness made me the perfect target for sin and lies to creep in, too. 

Looking back, I realized just how little I knew about myself and relationships. And how one human cannot ever complete you. But that's another story for another day. 

If there's one thing I do know, it's that you can't wallow in loneliness. You confront it, acknowledging the fact that loneliness is a real thing, but you can't let it consume you--because it will. So here's what I do when the feelings start to arise:

1. IDENTIFY IT. Like I mentioned earlier, one of the first things I have to do is confront it. If I don't acknowledge its presence in my life, I let it consume me and often end up wallowing without even realizing it. Loneliness is powerful--it has the ability to put a damper on my outlook on life and if I don't label it early on, it seeps in without me knowing. 

2. DIG DEEPER. There's always more to my loneliness. Often times, it comes when I haven't had any quality time with loved ones, when I'm hormonal (and thus, emotional), and/or when I spend too much time in my head or by myself (that tends to be when my over-thinking brain goes a little crazy). By finding the root of my loneliness, I'm better able to find out how to tackle it, whether it's through writing, listening to music/podcasts, spending time with loved ones, and/or getting outside for some fresh air. 

3. GIVE. In A Broken Way, Ann Voskamp touches on the idea that we can't feel broken when we're giving. In fact, it's impossible to feel broken and sad when we're giving or working to help another person out. At first, I skimmed through that chapter, but as it sunk in, I couldn't get that idea out of my head. It's true, when you think about it. When you give more of your heart, your time, and yourself to love and care for others, you find a healing in your heart that no material good or sinful temptation can fill. 

4. GET OUT. This one is HUGE for me. If you're an introvert like me, sometimes just the process of getting out is more exhausting than the social event itself. But that doesn't mean you have to go to a party or hang out with friends. For me, getting out is really about getting out of my head. Most women would agree that our brains are powerful. So sometimes I have to take a break from my deep introspective side and seek joy. We have the choice to wallow or the choice to live. So find a new challenge to tackle, meet up for coffee with a friend, or dare I say, go to that party you were invited to. It's hard but it's also so worth it. 

5. PRAY. Tell God the nitty gritty in your heart. Tell Him about the pain, the hardships, and the battles you're facing. He knows what's on your heart and I think that by telling Him, you not only deepen your relationship with Him, but you open yourself up to healing. Release it and give it to Him. He wants to help you--because He loves you. 

Do you ever face feelings of loneliness? What do you do to combat it?


© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall