Last week’s article covered the difference between Solitude and Loneliness. This week I thought to look at why does loneliness occur and what causes loneliness. I have experienced it and still do on occasion and I will cover what you can do about it next week. It is always a work in practice in my experience.
Remember: what works for you may not work for someone else. Everyone is unique.
Loneliness is a complex human emotion that can occur for a variety of reasons, and on occasions, more than one reason compounds the feeling.
The reality check is to acknowledge it is happening and do something about it before it ‘grabs’ hold.
Here are some common causes of Isolation:
- Social Isolation: Physical separation from others, such as moving to a new city, working from home, or living alone, can lead to feelings of loneliness. Of course, with home working now a big part of society. You can not see or talk to anyone for days on end, and of course, you may be an antisocial individual.
- Personal Circumstances: Certain life events or changes like divorce, bereavement, or retirement can cause feelings of loneliness as they often lead to a change in one’s social circle. There is also the potential for a shock to the system that occurs, which can lead to stress and dis ease – every change when it can be planned for in advance, needs to be.
- Health Problems: Chronic illness, disability, or mental health issues like depression and anxiety can make it more challenging to connect with others, leading to loneliness.
- Low Self-esteem and Social Anxiety: People who have low self-esteem or experience social anxiety may feel lonely because they believe they are unworthy of attention or fear negative judgment from others. Please hear me when I write you do not have to keep the social anxiety or low self-esteem; they can be ‘healed’
- Age: Elderly individuals often experience loneliness due to the loss of a spouse, family, or friends and decreased mobility or health. PLEASE if you have elderly neighbours or relatives, connect with them and make sure they have a conversation and support. Remember, many will not accept help willingly – pride can get in the way, and that is regardless of age.
- Technology and Social Media: Despite their ability to connect us, over-reliance on technology and social media can lead to loneliness, particularly if they replace face-to-face interactions. They can also lead to feelings of exclusion or inadequacy if you perceive others as having more fulfilling lives. Comparison in a negative sense is never a good thing.
Remember: Loneliness is a universal human experience and is nothing to be ashamed of, and of course, if you are experiencing it I do not expect that to make you feel better – and it may just knowing you are not on your own.
Everyone feels lonely at some point, and it’s a signal, much like hunger or thirst, that you need something – in this case, social interaction.
If you or someone else is feeling chronically lonely, reaching out to mental health professionals for support and resources can be beneficial.
Next weeks article will cover other options you can follow to connect or reconnect
One of the things you may have to do is ‘get over yourself’. I know I have had to in the past (&still do at times, my love of solitude is not always healthy for me) and make yourself do something rather than resting on your laurels
Please listen in to the Conscious Leadership Podcast. There is a lot to support you in reconnecting with yourself and others