It is extremely difficult to be alone in a new place, working in a new job, or in a difficult culture. In densely-packed Hong Kong, it is almost impossible to find ourselves physically alone. The feeling of loneliness, therefore, is that of being away from home – miles away from our loved ones. Thus being homesick may be a more appropriate description.
Unless we can control and overcome this feeling of loneliness it may lead to more serious emotional disturbances. And soon we may wallow in self-pity, lose hope and even fall into depression.
Facing reality is the first practical step. We can’t expect the environment and other people to adjust and to suit us; we must be flexible to adjust to our new situation.
Attitude determines the way we see things. There are always two sides in looking at something – look at it from the positive side. Be thankful for the job and the opportunity to be there.
Keeping busy is a tested way to overcome loneliness. Most of us don’t have a problem in keeping busy. On the contrary, we may have too much work to do except on our day-off. Nevertheless, let us remember the saying: “the devil finds work for idle hands.”
Learn something new. Hong Kong is an ideal place to learn Chinese cooking and the Cantonese dialect. Try attending the less crowded Chinese Catholic Mass and pick up a few new phrases of worship. Practice your Cantonese in the wet market.
Banish your negative emotions. Self-pity is the worst for it leads to low self-esteem, sense of hopelessness, loss of courage and, possibly, depression. Just as a raindrop in the distant Himalayan Mountain eventually will flow to the sea, every problem eventually will find a solution. Self-pity is to assume falsely that nobody cares or loves us. Is this true? Even when one has no family or friend, there is still God, Our Father, who loves us always.
God is always in our presence although we often don’t realize this. We can develop this awareness by praying – simply telling Him about ourselves and using our hearts listening to Him. We can even offer our work as our prayers saying, “Lord, I dedicate this work as my prayer to you.” Thus the harder we work the more we pray.
A few may not have day-off to attend Sunday Mass. Seek the help of your parish priest or mention this problem during your confession. Temptation is stronger when we are feeling lonely.
Confession, besides absolving our sins, gives us the graces and makes us spiritually strong. Don’t let the devil fool you. The Chinese priests in Hong Kong can hear your confession in English. I have tried it many times.
Being alone in silence is a good opportunity for meditation and reflection. Pray to the Holy Spirit for help to see life in the right perspective and to place what is important as priority.
Fighting homesickness and loneliness is never easy. Don’t forget that each of us has a Guardian Angel, assigned by Our Father, to help and guide us. Jesus didn’t promise us a “rose garden” on earth but He promised to be with us always.