How We Can Break the Loneliness Cycle
God created each of us for relationship, regardless of our past. He wants all of us to experience connection with others. In fact, he promises it. Look at what David wrote in Psalm 68:4-6: Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord–rejoice in his presence! Father to the fatherless, defender of widows–that is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in family; he set the prisoners free and gives them joy.
If you struggle with loneliness, this is passage you can meditate on until it becomes a reality in your life. God places the lonely in families. God sets the prisoner of loneliness free! God becomes a father to the fatherless. God cares about the lonely! As we meditate on what God wants us to experience, we have a solid foundation for the next task, which is to work on changing our thought patterns. In the past, when a lonely person had a negative experience, their pattern was to withdraw and isolate. Not only do they frame that experience as negative, but they recall all the other negative experiences that are similar.
Here’s what non-lonely people do. When they have a negative experience in a relationship, they look at all the aspects of what happened. They look at what their part might have been, and then they think of all the possible explanations for the other person’t behavior. They don’t brood or withdraw or become negative. In fact, if the experience is serious enough, they may even share what happened with a positive-thinking friend who will help them put it into perspective.
Another surprising thing non-lonely people do is practice random acts of kindness. They extend themselves to others. It may only be a smile, or giving some unexpected gift to a stranger. But it’s done with no expectation of return.
Scientists refer to what they call the “butterfly effect.” They say that the flutter of a butterfly’s wings–say in Africa–can set off a string of reactions that could eventually change the weather in Europe days or weeks later. That may sound hard to believe. But it’s the “string of reactions” that makes it happen. So no matter how small your effort might be, consider it to be the “butterfly effect.” Think of how a seemingly tine action can become a powerful force that causes a big change.
Question: When have you experienced what might be called “the butterfly effect?”