When You’re Feeling Lonely
Almost everyone feels lonely at some point in their lives. Loneliness most commonly describes the feeling of having no meaningful connection with others, but it can also be felt when the weight of responsibility falls on one person alone. It is feeling like no one else understands, or that we’re not truly known and appreciated by others. It is feeling like our existence isn’t really making any difference, or sensing (even if only through imagination) that other people could take us or leave us, that we don’t matter that much.
Loneliness is something that is generally considered to be on the rise, for a number of reasons. In some cases it is self-inflicted – often people withdraw from their support network, not realising how much they need others, or their lives have become so filled with pursuing vain dreams that they forget what matters. In other cases, others in our lives may have contributed to it – our support network may have let us down, rejected us, somehow become incapable of being there for us, or even died.
Technology has also played a part in the increase of loneliness in that communication via social network sites or texts are so popular and easy to use that people forget the value of spending time with their friends and family face-to-face. Again, sometimes it’s because their lives have become so busy that it’s simply less taxing to keep in touch using technology.
Whatever the reason, loneliness is known to be the root cause of depression, low self-esteem, emotional unrest and general dissatisfaction of life. It is a feeling of being disconnected from others, but that connection can be restored. If you’re feeling lonely, consider the following:
1. You are in charge of your life.
If you feel lonely, don’t blame others or wait for them to invite you to things. People may not even realise there is a problem. Be the first to make the call to your friend, or, if you don’t have any real friends that you feel comfortable socialising with, get involved with something new – purse a new hobby, join a club, do something you enjoy. That way, you will meet people with similar interests and give yourself the opportunity to form new friendships.
2. Business doesn’t replace relationships.
Sometimes people bury themselves in work or other commitments so they don’t realise how lonely they are. They fill their schedules by continually being on the move and/or doing something, but that doesn’t replace the need for relationships. To cure loneliness, sometimes we have to give up something we’re doing to make time for those who matter. It may mean saying no to something/someone, or even taking the risk of letting others down, but it does mean leading a more balanced life and increasing our happiness. At the end of the day, we need to give time to the things and people that are important to us.
3. Relationships are what give life meaning.
When we live our life for ourselves, it feels pointless. Many have said that while they have all the riches in the world, the fact that they have no one to share it with makes it all worthless. While it’s okay and even healthy to be alone every now and then and to take time for ourselves, we also need to recognise that unless we actively invest in relationships, loneliness will follow. Everyone needs a support network – people they can turn to when it matters most – and no one should have to face life’s trials alone.
By making a point of maintaining good relationships without expecting others to make the effort for us, we will most likely begin to feel a positive change in our lives that makes it more connected, meaningful and happy. This may mean catching up with old friends, visiting our family in person, or finding new people with common interests. However it may best work for you, remember: we were not designed to be lonely, but to have others even with their imperfections and faults walking through life by our side.