How to cope with having no one to look up to

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When people are looking for a role model and feel that they can’t see anyone around, they feel lost and lonely, especially when times are tough and every news headline discusses yet another fallen role model.

The complication, if not the key problem, is that by searching for a role model, we in fact expose ourselves to greater insecurity and problems. To grow more independent by yourself and to be happier with how you are now is ultimately the bigger goal.

Fortunately, there are ways to look a little deeper, both to find people who may inspire you, but also how to find out how you can be your own role model and can be a source of inspiration to yourself and others.

How to cope with having no one to look up to

How to cope with having no one to look up to

How to cope with having no one to look up to

How to cope with having no one to look up to

How to cope with having no one to look up to

How to cope with having no one to look up to

How to cope with having no one to look up to

Balance your emotions and well being. When you start to look within, you will start to be able to see your emotions as they come and go. The need for a role model is but one of these same feelings that comes and goes, so you can address the feeling when it arises. The other advantage is seeing the root cause of that feeling, which is a desire for things to be other than they are.

It is a skill to let go of thoughts and feelings, but as the opposite side of sorrow is happiness, the opposite of desire is generosity. Like in a mathematical formula, when you add a positive to a negative they can balance or cancel themselves out. It is a difficult skill to develop to seek this balance actively as it retrains the mind to use more tools whenever unhappiness or dissatisfaction is present and gives you more self-direction. Deceptively often, when we are unhappy we wanted to be unhappy and it is this subtle desire that needs to be balanced to improve well-being. Some examples to consider are:

  • Be optimistic when you feel cynical. (One caveat: don’t allow this to be blind hope––be realistic even while chasing your dreams.)
  • Practice (or think thoughts related to) appreciation for all that you have achieved, for what you do have and for the people who are already in your life when you feel that you’re unsuccessful.
  • Practice goodwill when you’re angry with others, or yourself.
  • Practice compassion when you feel crushed under a burden.
  • Be creative when things seem dull. This may be to decorate your home, write poetry or a story, cook a meal, gather some flowers from the garden, paint or draw (etc).
  • Consider that we grow by leading and we grow by learning from others, so a wise person grows by both leading and following. If we are one-sided, seeking only to be a leader or only to be a follower, we can limit ourselves from great creativity and experiences.
  • Consider practicing mindfulness and perhaps even meditating. A mindful approach to life has been shown in scientific studies and throughout the ages to improve your well-being and sense of place in the world.
  • Consider turning your moments of silence and solitude into opportunities to develop an interior life, through prayer, reflection and self-study of mystic literature. Reach out to mystic traditions of various faiths. Open up to inner guidance.

How to cope with having no one to look up to

How to cope with having no one to look up to

How to cope with having no one to look up to

Talk to other people, but choose a person who you feel has sufficient insight and understanding. Human interaction is very useful to be able to share ideas, and sometimes it is simply a case of leaving the house or taking tea with colleagues to get some quality talk time into your life. With those persons whom you feel may scorn you or judge you unreasonably, it is wise to be selective about the subjects you discuss in their presence––keep it simple and sweet is the best advice here. Moreover, you do need to ask the question how you know when another person is being reasonable in criticizing your actions. That’s something each person needs to consider on their own as well as with others.

Be conscious of the fact that it’s not easy to tell another person when they’re causing their own problem, so it is only someone who truly cares for you who will tell you honestly when you’re making a mistake. We often reject these people as we feel the need to be independent and not need other’s help, as well as feeling uneasy with the idea that we could make such mistakes. Asking for help is often a huge challenge but it’s part of being a social being.

    Counsellors can give support, but if they don’t give you anything you can use to be able to use as a tool to help your own case, then they’re not going to help you resolve your problem. Avoid over-relying on any form of therapy; it is a guidance tool, not a substitute for your own efforts. Ultimately all counsellors try to guide you to a state of understanding that only you can improve your mental well being.

Have you ever been in a crowded room and still felt lonely? The truth is, you can feel lonely anywhere, anytime – no matter how many people are physically around you. But if you’re sick of feeling solo and are keen to get connected, we’ve put together a guide to help make that happen.

1. Start with small talk

Small talk gets a bad wrap, but it’s actually a big part of helping break the ice. Try just asking the check-out person at the supermarket how their day’s going, or by sending a text to a friend. Yep, it might feel super awkward at first, but these small interactions can help you feel more comfortable in social situations.

2. Hang out with like-minded people

What are you into – video games, music, books? Joining a club is an awesome way to meet and connect with like-minded people.

Check out your school, university or local community centre to see if they run any groups you might vibe on.

Another option is Meetup. It brings together people who enjoy similar things or activities, whether that be fitness, photography, tech or, well … pretty much anything. And it’s free!

3. Get active

Okay, so exercise is great for keeping you well and less stressed, but have you thought about it as a way to meet new people?

If you’re not already a footy legend or fiend on the basketball court, that’s totally fine. There are lots of exercise groups and ‘social’ sports leagues which are aimed at beginners.

You may not be able to join an exercise or sports group at the moment, but you could start researching by doing a Google search or sending the organiser an email.

If there are people in your life you want to get to know better, going for a walk or run with someone can be a great no-pressure way to connect.

4. Jump online

Whether you’re playing someone in your favourite game, or simply connecting in forums with like-minded people, chatting online is a great way to battle loneliness. You can take the leap from the comfort of your own computer while working on the skills that will help you feel less lonely in the long run.

While sometimes it can be a mission to dodge the trolls and haters, a little searching should uncover an online haven filled with your kind of crew. The ReachOut Forums are a supportive, safe and anonymous space where people care about what’s happening for you, because they’ve been there, too. Check them out here.

5. Give ‘yes’ a go

Sometimes when you’re in a loneliness spiral, you might start turning down opportunities to hang out without even realising it. You might have had thoughts like “that wouldn’t be for me” or “they don’t actually want me to come to that”. But if you give ‘yes’ a go, you might find yourself enjoying things a lot more than you’d think.

6. Back yourself to fly solo

Don’t feel comfortable asking someone out for a hang? That’s cool. Grab a good book or even just your Reddit feed, and find a comfy spot to sit.

There’s value in spending time on your own as well as trying to meet people. You might find you enjoy your own company more than you think.

7. Sit with the feeling of loneliness

It might feel weird to let yourself experience the feeling of loneliness when all you want to do is get rid of it. But denying your feelings and telling yourself to get over it can make you feel even worse. When you work on accepting your feelings, you can start to feel a bit better.

You can do this by validating the emotion (e.g. ‘I’m feeling lonely, and it’s okay I feel this way’ or ‘Everyone feels this way sometimes’) and then talking to yourself like a friend (e.g. ‘I’m sorry you feel this way, but it will pass’).

8. Write it down

Writing is a great way to battle loneliness, as it helps you to process your emotions and get a clearer idea of where your head’s at.

Whether it’s scribbling thoughts in a notebook, jotting down lyrics, or collecting what’s on your mind and downloading it to a Word doc, writing is a useful way to deal with feelings of isolation. You could try a journaling app such as Day One.

9. Hang out with some non-humans

Animals are great at making us feel connected and cared for. Pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and ease loneliness. If you’re not ready for the responsibility of owning a pet, you could always get into pet minding.

Ask your neighbours and friends if they have a dog you could take for a walk occasionally, or a cat you could come over to visit and pet. If all else fails, head to a dog park! Added bonus, everyone loves animals, so hanging out with a pet is a guaranteed way to meet new people.

10. Do some volunteering

When you’re feeling isolated, volunteering helps to get you out into the world and connects you with the community around you. There are stacks of charities that need volunteers.

Govolunteer.com.au is a great place to start looking for volunteering opportunities near you.

11. Get some support if you need it

If you’ve tried a couple of these steps and are still feeling lonely, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. If you need it, your GP can set you up with a mental health plan that will help you to access counselling or visit a psychologist. It’s okay to get the support you need.

Don’t forget: everyone has times when they feel lonely. Taking even just a few of the steps above can help reduce your isolation and should help you start to feel better.