I’ve spent a great deal of my life feeling extraordinarily lonely for a number of reasons many of them sad and messy and a few factual, like being married to a New Zealander and living in the UK.
My chosen lifestyle of writer doesn’t help, nor does having a husband who works at senior management level and has to put in the hours necessary to get the job done. When you have a partner working at this level you understand that there is a high price to pay for money and that price is isolation.
We’ve never had children, we couldn’t have them, and although mercifully that wasn’t a particular disaster for us it does mean that we’ve never made friends through the children’s schools or with the parents of our children’s friends. When you’re childless there is an entire network of communication that is closed to you; especially in this day and age when loitering outside a school hoping to make friends would probably get you arrested.
We’ve done a number of hobbies and met some amazing people, but if you’re unfortunate enough to have to leave the hobby you usually find that the people still doing it drift away because they don’t know what to talk to you about and anyway you’ve rejected their passion. That’s sad because I can talk to anyone about anything at great length and I’m certainly the sum of more than one hobby. However…
The upshot of this for me has been that there have been many, many times when I’ve really needed help there has been no one there and at times I’ve known an aloneness that’s been almost crippling. Take 1999 for instance, I lost one father, three uncles and a cat in 12 months. I was on semester break from University from the middle of May (no exams for historians) until the beginning of September – and my husband’s company was in serious trouble so it was all hands on deck for all hours of the day to work through the crisis. However, this meant that I was alone from 7.30 in the morning to between 9.30 pm and midnight most days, and sometimes part of the weekend too. Where were my friends you ask? They were giving me space because they knew I needed it! Don’t worry, I still need the space so I’m not troubled by them any more.
I’m only saying all this to demonstrate to those reading this that what I’m going to say next a) comes from experience and b) works! So please don’t feel any lack of sympathy or empathy in my words, it’s just that sometimes there is a simple truth.
That’s your simple truth. You see, there is always more than one truth operating on any situation and it depends which truth you choose as to how you’re going to feel about and respond to the facts of your life. This mindset doesn’t just cover loneliness, it covers attitude towards money, aspects of health and fitness, career success, determination to change your life, and most importantly – your willingness to be happy.
You might be thinking “Willingness to be happy? Everyone wants to be happy don’t they?” People definitely think and believe that they want to be happy, but ask yourself this: why do so many people choose to remain in unhappy situations that aren’t working for them if they genuinely want to be happy? Who do you?
There is a big difference between knowing something, believing something, and making that something real in your life by being it. We all know the rules, we’ve read the positive thinking books, our social media walls are flooded with pretty pictures with inspiring words on them, and we all absolutely totally and positively definitely believe in all those good things. Except we don’t make them real.
Yes, you have to make those things happen. Loneliness is a good example of conceptually wanting not to be lonely and factually not going out and meeting new people. Of living in an area where you can’t make friends, believing it’s entirely your fault, and refusing to move away to somewhere you feel happier in yourself. Of working in a company where the staff are unfriendly, believing it’s entirely your fault that you can’t make friends, and refusing to job hunt and find a company where you’ll be more comfortable. Of staying in evenings and weekends instead of getting a hobby (yes you might find your friends disappear with the hobby if it doesn’t work for you, but you’ll at least have something in common for a time), instead of going into a coffee shop and smiling at people, striking up conversations in queues. Instead of taking up fitness and being sparkly and chatty at the gym. Sparkly you ask? Read on.
The Magnetic Glow
When you feel wonderful in yourself you will attract people, when you slump around with a face like a wet weekend they will be scared to approach you because they have enough problems of their own without risking meeting a negative nelly. Anyway, who wants to meet someone who’s stomping around in grotty trainers and sweatpants and a singularly unattractive zip up hoody thing , their hair in tatters, and looking like they’d rather bite you than speak to you. Ok so George Clooney meets lots of people who would like to bite him but that’s a different issue entirely and taking the search for meaningful communication too far.
Seriously, even if you feel like garbage having a haircut, buying some clothes you feel good in, wearing footwear that puts a spring in your step, and colouring in your face can all make a big difference to how you feel and how you walk out into the world. Everyone loves a smiley face, shoulders back, hips swinging and the sound of a happy tune. They want to know this person because they might enhance their life and be up for some fun, rather than drag them further down into the mire of 21st Century living.
The Magnetic Attitude
You’ve heard of cosmic ordering and The Law of Attraction, and you may or may not believe in it, but here’s one plain fact, Monty Python were right “Always look on the bright side of life da dum, da da da da da dum…” There are enough real problems in life without you consciously or subconsciously choosing to find the worst in everything. And guess what happens when you look for the worst in everything? You find it, and you find more of it. People who tell you that they don’t have to go looking for trouble if they stand still long enough it will come and find them, usually a) accept a lot of bad treatment and b) stand still a lot. They don’t tend to be big on change.
So, quite seriously and without a woo-woo or weird thought in my head, adjust your attitude now. Don’t think about how much money you don’t have, think about how you can do your best with what you have and find more. There are reasons that rich people are rich, they don’t sit around waiting for someone to make everything right. They worked hard at school, maybe they went to university, or like Richard Branson they beavered their way from the bottom to the top. Theo Paphetis was born in a poverty-stricken Greek village. J. K. Rowling was an abandoned wife and single mother struggling to feed her kinds, but instead of complaining she sat all night writing Harry Potter, and when no one would publish the first book she self published.
Not all the rich and successful were born wealthy, they have a rich and successful mindset and you can have that too. It’s very hard when you don’t have enough money to feed your family, but one thing is for certain and that is that something needs to change and instead of thinking about what you can’t do ask yourself what you can do. If you struggled to study at school find out if you’re dyslexic, sort that out and maybe you can take some courses and change your lot in life. Can you move somewhere there is more work? I don’t know what you can do you have to decide that, but I do know that you should never believe in can’t. At the end of the day a good attitude will draw help towards you and a bad attitude won’t.
Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life
You might be thinking “I thought this was about loneliness and she’s rabbiting on about money and work”, but loneliness is the same as lack of anything, when you focus on what you lack you don’t focus on what you have, or what you can do.
In order to become a magical attractor of the life you desire you will have to smarten up your thinking, focus on what you do have, and get out there and make changes in your life. There simply is no other way to escape the dungeon in which you find yourself. There are 7 billion people out there and I will guarantee you that a lot of them would love to meet you especially if you’re wearing a smile. There are people out there waiting for you to be their friend because they’re lonely too, and if you haven’t met ‘the one’ in the area in which you live or through your work or hobbies then you need to do something different somewhere different in order to fill that hole in your life.
We inspirational speakers and writers are positively boring on the subject of doing, but doing nothing achieves nothing 100% of the time. Fact.
Go to museums and wander round smiling. Engage strangers in conversation in art galleries on the relative merits of light. Get your friends to party with you and if they won’t go to singles groups and bars with a first intention of making friends and a second intention of snaring a Clooney look-alike, the female equivalent thereof, or whatever floats your boat.
Just do something or nothing will change. And never, ever let the attitude of others define who you are. You are a person worth knowing and there are people out there who want to know you, go find them.
Wishing you happy days, peaceful nights, and a pleasantly full social life
Look out for my new book “Who Am I, Where Am I, What is This Place?” out soon.