‘Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty’ – Mother Teresa
I sat with someone recently who described themselves as ‘living in limbo’ feeling lonely and isolated.
During the conversation they said their life had no hope, no joy and no future. Their needs were unmet, relationships were suffering and from the moment they wake to the moment they go to sleep they felt unfulfilled and their time is being completely wasted. Each and every day is a struggle to get through. Despite having family close by, they still felt abandoned, forgotten and invisible. A miserable existence.
Sounds sad doesn’t it.
So, what does living in limbo actually means – one definition of limbo is defined as a ‘state of neglect or oblivion’ (Oxford Dictionaries.com), in another it’s described as ‘a place where your souls go after death while waiting to be sent to heaven or hell’ (Cambridge Dictionary) and the Urban Dictionary defines it as ‘a place between here and there’.
Whichever definition you choose, it should definitely not be confused with the limbo dance which originated in Trinidad where you shimmy under a low stick…although quite honestly that sounds a bit like hell to me!!
Being in limbo sounds like a pretty lonely, empty and unsatisfying place to be – neither one place or another, a place where you feel alone, neglected, ignored and unwanted and a place where you are waiting for something to change.
Just for a second try to imagine those feelings of being…..
- out of control
- no future
- waiting and waiting for something to happen
- nobody to speak to
One way to stop the prospect of renting a room in limbo land is to tackle some of these feelings head on.
Loneliness cuts across the generations, young and old alike.
Loneliness does not discriminate against class or social status.
Whether you live alone or live with others, whether you are young, middle-aged or old, working, a student or unemployed, stay at home parent or career person, loneliness can creep up and find you wherever you are.
Anyone can have these types of feelings and there is no shame in asking for help.
‘Loneliness is a crowded room, full of open hearts turned to stone, all together, all alone’ – Bryan Ferry
Research carried out by the Office for National Statistics say that in 2016-2017 a total of 5% of adults in England, aged 16 years and over reported feeling lonely “often/always” – that’s 1 in 20 adults feel lonely on a daily basis. These statistics increased to 16% of adults reported feeling lonely sometimes and 24% occasionally.
In this day and age it seems incredible that anyone needs to be lonely. We can now connect to each other 24/7, we have the ability to speak, text, email, message, Skype, Facetime, FB message, Tweet, check in, etc…..whenever we want. So it seems so odd to me that there are so many people who feel so alone, isolated and lonely that they feel their lives are not worth living and who might also describe themselves as living in limbo land, just waiting for something to happen to make their lives better and worthwhile.
How sad and depressing does this sound? Very, I hear you reply.
SO, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE TO HELP?
YES!! YES!! YES!!
It’s said that knowledge is power and so with the right knowledge we can help ourselves and others to be seen and feel visible. To become part of the community again, feel less isolated, gain more control and escape out of limo land for ever and start living in a real and productive place where life is, satisfying, exciting and fulfilling.
How can this be achieved? Can’t be easy….or can it?
5 WAYS TO END FEELINGS OF LONELINESS & ISOLATION….or how to successfully move out of limbo land
- Take control and tell someone how you feel
Talking to someone who is willing to listen can really help you. Sharing how you feel may be difficult as first but if you find someone you trust you will soon have the confidence to open up. This could be anyone you feel comfortable with like a friend, family member, colleague or counsellor.
- Acknowledge what you can do and stop focussing on what you can’t do
When you’re feeling unfulfilled and isolated it’s so easy to say ‘no, I can’t do that’. By acknowledging what you can do rather than what you can’t do, you will begin to realise that you are capable of doing so much more. You will start to become more positive, feel more in control and able to make small changes that make a difference in your life.
- Choose a goal, no matter how small
Whatever goals you choose, make them achievable – in this instance small is best. By choosing one or two small achievable goals you will begin to feel less overwhelmed and more in control. For example ‘I will go for a 5 minute walk a couple of times this week’ rather than ‘I’m going for a 5 mile walk every day’ will be more likely to be possible and therefore achievable.
- You’re not a burden if you ask for what you need and want
Feeling like you’re a burden to others is an awful feeling. It may feel like a big step to ask for what you need, but if people don’t know what you need, how will they know how to help you? Make it easier for others to help you by acknowledging what you need and want, ask for it and let them help you.
- Step out of your comfort zone
Challenge yourself and take a small risk each day.
- Phone someone to have a 5 minute chat – they might be really pleased to hear from you and grateful for the company themselves
- Be brave and ask for one thing you want – you are worth it and you never know, if you ask you may just get it!!
- Smile and say hello to others – they may also be one of the 1 in 20 lonely people and may be very grateful for the human interaction
- Try something new – you deserve to be happy and belong, so choose something that you will enjoy. Go to the cinema, join a pilates, yoga, keep fit or dancing group, go to the local coffee morning, learn a new language. Begin to be part of the community again.
Nobody deserves to live in limbo land and there is help to get you out. If you feel isolated or lonely trying these small, achievable steps you will start to help those feelings disappear.
Remember this – you are never alone, there is always someone out there for you but sometimes you have to look for them and ask for their help.
There is a future after loneliness and can be worthwhile again.
I work with people to help them overcome their feelings of loneliness and isolation. If you are experiencing these types of feelings and would like me to help you click this link for more details Home
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