First things first, loneliness is quite different from “being alone.” Being alone is a situation where you’re all by yourself with no one around you. Being lonely does not necessarily mean that you are by yourself and without anyone around you. You could be with a crowd at a concert, surrounded by tons of people, and still feel, “I am lonely.” It’s not about who is around but all about you being connected with the people and enjoying their company. It’s a necessity engrained in the human DNA to have some interaction with others regularly. One major reason solitary confinement cells are being strongly opposed nowadays. A connection is what lonely people want.
The world has become a global village because there are so many ways for people to connect.
How has the most connected society in history has become the loneliest? We need a reminder that real wealth comes in the form of kindness and caring for others. Loneliness is a universal human emotion that is complicated and unique to each individual. There is no single common cause, there is also no single common cure. The causes of loneliness could range from recently having a divorce to a loved one’s death or even by moving to a new place. People who believe that they are not worthy of other people’s attention or regard can lead to isolation and chronic loneliness.
“We live in a society bloated with data yet starved for wisdom. We’re connected 24/7, yet anxiety, fear, depression and loneliness is at an all-time high. We must course-correct.” -Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey
Being lonely could go as far as leading to many diseases, alcoholism and drug use, increased stress levels, depression, and of course, suicide. Suicide, widely seen as the worst-case scenario, is all too common after a prolonged state of loneliness. As a result, the number of deaths by suicide has increased even though there are many more ways to interact. There are billions of people on our planet, and our human need is just a connection with one of them. We desire to be seen, feel heard, and like we matter.
Loneliness does not have a quick fix. The first step is to open your mind up to new people and new things. You being lonely might be due to having no friends or family that you can genuinely connect with, for instance. Make an effort to meet new people. Do something you enjoy with people that make you happy. Watch movies, listen to music, look at old pictures, and allow the feeling of nostalgia. There are excellent websites where you can meet people who have the same interests as you. They have groups for just about everything, from crochet circles to hiking; there is something for all of us. If travel is hard for you, there are many ways to connect virtually.
Do what makes you feel loved and cared for and be in the company of those that truly care for you. Remember that even though you feel lonely, people are looking to connect with you too. You are deserving of connection. Every one of us needs this. It’s in our DNA!