If you are reading this, I do not need to tell you what a lonely place grief is. Chances are, grief has already seeped into every corner of your world making you feel a stranger to your former self and the people you used to feel so connected to.
The pain you are experiencing is unfathomable to the outside world making it seem impossible to connect with anyone or anything on a deep enough level. People don’t know how to be around you and you don’t know how to be around people: a burden made heavier by a need for true connection and understanding.
Is there a way out of loneliness in grief?
From my experience, I can say with my hand on my heart, yes. There is a way out and you can start to feel less alone quickly with these 3 top tips for moving away from loneliness and towards feeling more connected with others.
So here goes, give these a try:
1. Who am I now?
Asking yourself this question will help you to invite the parts of yourself yearning for connection to the surface, or into your conscious thinking, you could say. If you start to allow yourself the opportunity to get to know this ‘new you’ emerging from the rubble of your ‘before life’, you will start to re-learn what you want from life. This tip not only helps you learn more about yourself but also starts to match your vibration to that of the people you want to draw closer.
This process is an opportunity to try new things and consider new ways to spend your time and get to know what you like and what makes you feel connected to the lighter moments in life. You may find it useful to write your responses in your journal so you can come back to your ideas and review them.
At times on your grief journey, you may struggle to identify what you like, after all, what you would like is your old life back, what you’d like is for your person not to be gone. So during these times, you may find it easier to be led by what you don’t like. Give yourself permission to do less of the things you do not like, make note of them and give them less of your energy.
2. What do I need from people?
You’ve changed so much from your ‘before’ life and so has what you need from your social and personal relationships. Start to bring your awareness to what you need from people in this new existence you find yourself in and, if you feel ready and able, start to tell people what you need from them. If you are not ready to verbalise this yet, you may find it easier to start to write in your journal what you want and what you don’t want from people. This will help make things clearer in your mind and prepare you to share these wishes if and when you feel ready.
It may be that some people cannot give you what you need but exploring this consciously will help you to understand who and what you need in your life. Then, from there you may be better able to set expectations and boundaries with other people. For example, you will have a clearer idea of who you can go to for a rant or for advice and who you probably shouldn’t even “go there” with.
Something else to consider here is how it feels to need people, to need connection and support. For some this may be new territory, a territory up until now you had spent your entire life avoiding or maybe this is the territory your lost one knew and navigated so well. Simply paying attention to what comes up will eventually lead you to a better understanding of your need for connection.
3. How do I make new friends and connections?
From using the two tips above, you are starting to become clearer about what you like and don’t like and who you already have in your life that you can rely on for the connection you need. Now it’s time to start thinking about how you can expand this network. Make a note of the new hobbies you would like to explore and research how you can get involved in these with other people. For example, you may want to join a local running group or join an online crafting network where you could find like-minded people also looking for peace and connection (I’ll add here that creating and crafting is such an important part of processing grief, so important in fact, it deserves its own blog). Next, make a note of the steps you need to take to join these groups and networks.
During this process, pay attention to what feelings, doubts and blocks that may come up and ask for them to be released. Just bringing your attention to what is blocking you is often enough to start to understand what needs to happen to overcome them.
Next, make a list of the places you can look for support networks specific to your grief. Social media is a great resource here, so experiment with a few search phrases. Start to follow or connect with people and groups that feel right for you. Have a mixture of groups that are local to you and those that are further away. I have Facebook and Instagram accounts where I offer lots of free support and also have connections with grief support networks- if you get stuck drop me a DM or have a look through my pages. Feel free to share any new connections you find that others may benefit from too- we’re stronger together
Good luck making your new connections,
Leah, your Grief & Trauma Coach
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