Daniel spend a year in 'Værket' and came out on the other side of loneliness
When loneliness became too overwhelming, Daniel chose to work on it. Now, he helps others who feel lonely.
A year and a half ago, when Daniel and his girlfriend broke up, he realized that many of his social circles and relationships were tied to his romantic relationship. When his then-girlfriend left, a significant part of his social life vanished as well. Loneliness hit him, and he fell into a dark place.
However, it wasn’t the first time for Daniel to experience loneliness. Even in primary school, he felt lonely when he was excluded by his peers. He believes that these experiences have influenced his self-esteem to this day.
Daniel had previously sought help from Ventilen, a support program for young people who feel lonely. With his experience from Ventilen, he was aware that there were similar programs for people in his situation.
Coming together about being lonely
“The hardest part is coming to terms with it and then taking the step to do something about it. Shortly after my breakup I acknowledged that I was lonely. I quickly decided that I didn’t want to feel this way again. I thought about it for a couple of weeks before I signed up,” Daniel explains.
For a year, Daniel participated in “Værket”, where he met up with a fixed group of 10-12 people once a week. During the meetings the participants were introduced to different tools, they shared their experiences and talked about their own situation. Daniel discovered that loneliness is not a fixed entity:
“We talk about loneliness, what loneliness is – we work with different tools to improve small talk – sometimes we have deeper conversations and focus on an individual’s loneliness and what underlies it, because it’s unique from person to person.”
The volunteers are a crucial driving factor
In addition to the 10-12 participant who attend “Værket”, there are 3-4 volunteers who take turns participating in the sessions. Together, they set the framework for the activities and ensure that everyone is heard. According to Daniel, it is not without significance that these support groups are driven by volunteers. In Daniel’s opinion, they have different stake in it compared to paid staff:
“It means something that its volunteers we meet in “Værket”. They have their own stake in it, not because they themselves are lonely, but they bring their own experiences into it, and they do it out of interest.”
Realizing that it’s okay
In “Værket”, Daniel has not only experienced gaining a sense of community and valuable tools to work with but also reached a realization that it’s okay to be yourself. Now, he’s at peace with himself and no longer feels a sense of loss.
“First of all, “Værket” has meant that I’ve come out of the hole I was in. Secondly, I’ve learned that it’s okay to be alone sometimes. I need to be alone and recharge my social battery. It’s okay to have a few good friends. Quality over quantity,” he says.
And Daniel is open about loneliness when it strikes.
“I’ve become better at talking about loneliness and how I feel. I’ve become more myself. Instead of hiding things away, I’m open about it. The people I’ve shared it with have received it well. But I haven’t told everyone. It’s a select few,” he explains.
Inviting others into the community
With his experiences on both sides of loneliness, Daniel wants to share some valuable advice. It’s not easy to be one standing on the outside of a community. He believes that we should be more attentive to people who don’t reach out themselves and invite then in.
“I’ve always had a hard time meeting new people, so my advice is, if you are in a community and see someone standing alone, try to be welcoming and invite people in. We should all be more aware and watch for whether others are a part of the communities,” he says.
Daniel shares that good things have happened to him since he started at “Værket” a year ago. He found new work and a new girlfriend. He’s in a good place in life where he no longer fears loneliness – now he works with it. While loneliness used to be all-consuming, he can now see the sun behind the clouds. And if he ever needs support, he knows that “Værket’s” doors are open.
“Loneliness is not gone; I will have to live with it for the rest of my life. But now I have the tools and have worked on myself. And nurtured the relationship I have. The great thing about “Værket” is that you can stay as long as you want,” he concludes.
Today, Daniel works as a volunteer, helping young people who experience loneliness, just as he was a year ago.
FACTS ABOUT VÆRKET
Værket is a community where once a week, adults between 30-60 years old come together in the afternoon and evening hours, and where volunteer group leaders sets the framework for the meetings.
You become part of a group, where you exchange experiences and engage in exercises and activities related to various themes.
The purpose of Værket is to create a social community where, together with other adults, you can find ways to combat loneliness.
Each networking group can consist of 10-12 adults, and each network supported by 3-4 volunteers. Group meetings take place every Tuesday in Frederiksberg.
Do you want to hear more about participating in a Værket-group, then please contact us using the information below.
38 33 64 00