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March 5, 2024

Fighting Loneliness

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Something that breaks my heart, and is all too prevalent in today’s world, is loneliness.

One of our most fundamental human needs is love and belonging, and in my opinion, we’re spending so much time superficially connecting with each other that we’re not getting the depth of connection we need. This is perpetuated by the social media led, be-busy culture that keeps us from allowing ourselves to be present.

One side of loneliness relates to being alone. Especially since work has shifted to be on computers and at home, we don’t get the same quantity of interactions that we naturally used to. On top of that, levels of social anxiety have increased and people who are naturally shy have a hard time finding outlets to be more social.

But there’s another side of loneliness that is becoming more prevalent as well. Many people feel lonely even though they’re not alone. This isn’t due to a lack of social interaction but rather a lack of meaningful social interaction. Over time people have gotten more guarded, it’s harder to be vulnerable than it used to be, and we’ve been taught to be more independent. All of this has led to less intimate moments, and therefore less feelings of connectedness.

So how do we fight loneliness?

First, if you’re feeling lonely, you can make a subtle shift in your language to invite more meaningful conversation when you do have social interactions. Instead of asking someone “How are you?”, my favorite thing to ask instead is “How is everything in your world?” It asks them to reflect a bit deeper and more holistically, and pulls you into a more meaningful conversation. 

If you’re not feeling lonely yourself but you want to help fight loneliness, all it takes is a micro moment of courage. When you see someone by themselves, ask to sit with them. If there’s a friend you’re concerned about who’s having some mental health struggles or going through something heavy, reach out to them in a heartfelt way. I’ve found that these small efforts to acknowledge someone create disproportionate impacts. 

Making the world a better place always starts with you - Making your world a better place whether that be internally or immediately externally.

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