I don’t know if defeat is the right word to use here, because loneliness is something everyone lives with at some point in his or her lives. It is such a human thing to feel the need for meaningful human interactions. As much as we want to be alone sometimes, we also need time with others just as much. Too much of anything is a bad thing and too much loneliness can be just as bad. It can be the cause of substance abuse and a precursor to depression and even suicide in extreme cases.
I feel that loneliness is almost an epidemic in society today. Our lives are so busy and technology has given us the illusion of bringing people together when it seems to be doing the opposite. Technology has made us too lazy to pick up a phone and call a friend because texting is easier, we are absorbed in it on our phones and it interferes with our lives when we are actually interacting with those we love, and it provides us with small pockets of self-centered interaction where we post selfies and Facebook updates on what we have been doing in a day, but it is just not the same as sitting with a friend over coffee and sharing thoughts, feelings and ideas with each other.
More people are lonely out there in the world than we realise because no one would ever admit it. There is a sense of shame in admitting that you are lonely but if only people would realise that behind that beautiful Instagram feed and the person you see in your Facebook feed that is so full of life, there is probably a person who is lonely too.
Loneliness isn’t exclusive to a race, gender or income. It is something that affects all of us from the rich to poor, unemployed to the successful, young and old.
In my humble opinion, loneliness largely comes down to three things. Liking yourself, thinking of others and making an effort.
Liking yourself is a cliché term tossed around a lot but before expecting others to like you, you have to like yourself. I use the term ‘like’ yourself rather than ‘love’ yourself, as too much of anything is a bad thing, same goes for self-love to the point of loving yourself more than others and being self-absorbed. The introduction of the selfie and status update seems to encourage self-absorbed behaviour, and there is nothing wrong with this when it comes to valuing and appreciating yourself, however showing interest in others also has to be present.
This is where thinking of others comes into play. If you show genuine interest in others, they will show interest in you. Most of all, you have to step out of your comfort zone and make an effort. Organise a catch up with some friends or give someone a call. If you are feeling lonely, just do it. What do you have to lose? If the plan to organise a catch up falls through or your friend doesn’t answer the phone, at least you tried, and they know that you are showing interest in them.
Obviously there is often a lot more layers under the reasons for loneliness for each individual but remember that all anyone really wants is to feel needed and wanted. If you can provide that to others that you care about in your life, you are bound to receive this in return.
Do you ever feel lonely? What do you do to defeat your loneliness?