Loneliness is an emotional issue, stemming from a practical one. Human beings aren’t designed to be on their own all the time. We’re naturally happier if we feel we belong to a social group, community, or family unit, and yet this modern world breeds loneliness, caused by the break up of support networks, like it’s going out of fashion.
There are so many lonely people out there, that if they could all be connected, there wouldn’t be a problem any more, as lonliness wouldn’t exist. The practical difficulty is, that lonely people don’t know where each other are. They don’t know how to connect. They know they want to, but there are no signposts up telling them where to start.
As a counselor I understand that talking about loneliness will only help an individual a little. What is required, is positive, practical change. There are two ways of doing this. One, is by physically re-entering the world and reaching out to others, instead of waiting for the world to come to you. The other, is a state of mind,
# Reaching Out
The longer you are alone, the more isolated you feel. It’s a never ending cycle, until you decide to take charge and alter it’s path. Begin by brainstorming, and writing down ideas and information you find along the way. What you want to think about, and research, is about the type of people you want to meet and befriend, and the places where they may be found.
What are your interests? Are there clubs, groups or classes going on you could get to, where like minded people probably go? It’s never too late to learn a new skill or hobby. What have you always wanted to do, but never got around to? Now is the time to begin new projects and inject some positive action into your life.
Have you got a support network you let slip in the past? Can you re-join and re-connect with people? Why not have a go? Very often we have a support network near to us, that we just aren’t communicating with. Maybe your family has drifted apart, and you can be the one to pull them back together.
Are there people around you, that you see every day, who you have often thought you would like to get to know better? Perhaps you see the same people walking their dogs when you walk yours regularly. Could you suggest a connection picnic, at the place you all walk, so that you can meet properly?
When we were children, most of us didn’t find it so difficult to reach out to others and make new friends. As we grew up, we became more reserved socially, and also more selective, until we had ruled a lot of potential friends out of the equation. Start being as brave as a child again, and don’t be afraid of trying. What’s the worst that could happen? They could say no. So what. You will be no worse off.
# State of Mind
How you think will have a bearing on how lonely you feel, and how easy it is, or difficult to attempt to meet others. It may be that you’ve been alone for a long time, or that you had a special friend, who is no longer around. When this is the case, you are likely to have isolated yourself, and find the idea of taking great strides out of your usual comfort zone difficult.
If this is so, try taking baby steps to begin with. Make connections via Internet chat rooms and discussion sites. Get used to speaking to others, even it’s via a computer screen. Get a pen pal. Write to someone abroad, or who as similar interests to you. You never know where it may lead. The possibilities are endless. All it takes is for you to get the ball rolling. What have you got to lose?