You’ve got this!

There is probably nothing worse than feeling lonely as you make your way through life. You may be experiencing it right now or you may have experienced it before — that feeling of isolation and rejection can bear heavily on your heart and mind. Whether you are single or taken, loneliness does not discriminate.

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We often think the fact that someone loves us should solve the problem — ANY problem.

We look at other people who seem to have lots of friends and an adoring partner and assume they must feel wanted, accepted and therefore satisfied with their place in the world. But you can never tell what is really going on behind anyone else’s façade. When you compare yourself, you only continue to steal your own joy — and to keep yourself feeling lonelier than ever.

It’s not easy to feel accepted all the time… and that’s because we aren’t always meant to.

Society would have us believe that if we have a certain amount of money, a certain status or look a certain way we will have the world at our feet. But it is impossible to have the approval of everyone and trying to gain it only leaves you exhausted and disappointed.

Being carbon copies of one another does not give society the balance it needs. Every one of us has a different personality and unique story. So it’s OK when someone doesn’t gel with you.

There will be times in your life when people won’t understand your journey and this will leave you with fewer friends.

What we have to remember is that there is tremendous power in being content with our own company. That solace gives us perspective, strength, and a deep sense of peace.

However, we also must take care not to allow ourselves to become isolated and settle for the despair that too much deeply felt loneliness can bring.

Here are five quick and practical ways you can combat your own feelings of loneliness:

1. Learn to Cherish Your Alone Time

There is a huge difference in being alone and feeling lonely. The bottom line is that we are not created to live our lives alone, but that does not mean that our time by ourselves isn’t vital.

If you find that you are starting to resent your time alone rather than relish in it, you need to look at why. Perhaps you have lost the balance between having a social life and knowing when to hibernate a little. Or maybe you have confused being alone with a sign of depression, failure, or unworthiness.

Spending quality time with ourselves gives us a chance to focus on refilling our own cup with the self-love we need. It’s a great time for reflection, rest, and restoration as well.

2. Increase Your Involvement in Social Groups

There are literally hundreds of ways you can invite new social connections into your world. Social media has given us instant access to creating new friends with just a click of a button. The key is to connect with like-minded people who are going to add value to your world.

Remember that quantity does not equal quality and that the wrong company can make you feel lonelier than truly being alone actually does. Think about what you like or want more of in your life and actively seek out activities and people associated with it.

Joining an online community or a local group is a perfect way to start new friendships. Don’t forget it may take a few tries before you click with the right people. The important part is beginning to create these opportunities in the first place.

3. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Just because you’ve become accustomed to a certain feeling, you don’t have to keep settling for anything less than you deserve. If you struggle with loneliness, chances are you have developed underlying patterns in your lifestyle and in your thinking that keep you isolated.

Let’s not forget that loneliness does not mean the absence of company. You can be in a room full of people and still feel alone. First, you must break the mental cycle that has you believing who you are isn’t worthy of more. You have something wonderful to give this world that only you can give, but you will need to challenge your habits, your mindset, and your fear of rejection so other people can see that.

4. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Comparison is the quickest way to steal your own happiness. It doesn’t help that social media would have us believe that if we don’t have the approval of the masses then we aren’t worth knowing. Well, I call crap on that.

When we feel lonely in life, it affects our self-esteem and confidence. We wonder what we could possibly have to offer that would make people want to cherish our company. If you catch yourself comparing who you are to who others seem to be, you need to stop NOW.

This might mean going offline for a while or writing a list of all your own fabulous qualities and reading it back daily. Who you are and what you are worthy of isn’t based on the opinions of others. Surround yourself with people who like you for you, who are genuine, and who build you up.

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5. Reclaim Your Sense of Purpose

It’s amazing how a sense of purpose not only gives us direction but also a deep sense of peace that no one else can give us. When we have a goal to work toward or a passion to pursue, it keeps our minds positive and occupied in times of loneliness.

The fact remains that there will be periods in our life when situations, seasons, or people make us feel lonely and rejected.

When we have something to focus on that we are in control of it gives us a sense of accomplishment, worth, and happiness. We can’t rely on someone else to be the sole reason for our happiness, just as we can’t expect people to cure our loneliness.

We are each responsible for the way in which we build our lives, so make sure you create the life YOU want to live.

This guest article originally appeared on 5 Completely Realistic Ways To Stop Feeling SO Incredibly Lonely.