Everyone starts feeling lonely every once in a while, but the reason and the specific emotions that come with it are unique for everyone.
Why do we feel lonely? Why do I feel lonely? Is it normal to feel so alone? What are the triggers that cause my loneliness? These are questions you most likely frequently ask yourself. You try to make sense of your loneliness so you can better yourself. You’ll begin to think answering those questions will lead to the cure of loneliness.
Does it help you find a cure for loneliness? Like it’s an illness that you can wash away with medicine? Well, not exactly, but knowing the root cause of your loneliness can help you react accordingly. If you know what’s causing your loneliness in the first place, then you can do something helpful about it. But first, you can ask yourself, what is loneliness?
Loneliness is a state of mind. That is the very best fact-of-the-matter definition for what loneliness is. Loneliness is what you feel when placed in an isolated situation. It’s the feeling that your brain associates with being alone, having no other person to latch on to, and having no companion.
Loneliness and isolation are two things that seem closely related when looked at on the outside, but they aren’t when observed properly.
Loneliness And It’s Relationship With Other Situations and Emotions
A lot of other things get associated with feeling lonely. Being alone and being depressed are often the two things loneliness gets mistaken for. While loneliness isn’t the same as being alone, and it’s also not the same as being depressed, it has a very close relationship with the two.
Feeling lonely and being alone
Loneliness and being alone aren’t exclusively synonymous, per se, but being alone for so long does lead to rushes of loneliness. With that in mind, loneliness is associated with being physically isolated, but they are not the same. You can feel lonely while being a part of a group of people, you can still feel alone in a crowd, so on and so forth. It’s not about how many people you’re with, it’s about your relationships with them.
A person who’s married and has their own family can still feel lonely. A college student living in a college dorm with hundreds of co-students can still feel lonely. You can go to a party, surrounded by many people, and still feel lonely.
You will feel lonely despite having people around if your relationship with those people isn’t absolute and solid. So, loneliness isn’t about just interaction, it’s about connection. It’s about longing for people you can rely on. To be a part of a group you consider very dear friends. It’s about being happy with the people you’re surrounded by. Loneliness happens when you have none of that.
Feeling lonely and being depressed
Similar to loneliness and being alone, feeling lonely and being depressed aren’t the same thing at all. Experts used to look at loneliness and depression in the same light, but over the years, they’ve stopped depicting the two as a similar emotion.
While loneliness and depression aren’t exactly similar, constantly feeling lonely does lead to depression. Loneliness is a symptom of depression or even a cause of it.
Another reason why experts have put loneliness and depression in different constructs is because of both’s differences in approach to socialization.
A person who’s depressed will most likely choose to isolate him/herself from social interactions. A lonely person, on the other hand, will crave it.
Depression will cause you to withdraw from other people. There’s a sense of apathy or lack of excitement to socialize and make connections with others. It will make you just want to stay at home, lock yourself in your room, be as far away as possible from being in contact with others.
Loneliness is a feeling that will make you want to be in touch with others. It makes you crave for interactions. It’s a similar feeling to your body experiencing hunger or thirst in the absence of nutrition from food and liquids. It’s your body telling you to get out there, socialize, make friends, and build real connections.
The relationship between loneliness and depression is symbiotic, in a way. One feeds off from the other. When you constantly feel lonely, this leads to depression. Once you start getting depressed, you are highly susceptible to isolating yourself. The more you isolate yourself, the more you feel lonely.
In this way, if you can’t fight off your loneliness in its early stage, this can lead to a much more harmful feeling of depression and your feelings of loneliness will only increase from there.
Why Being Lonely Is Dangerous For You
Being constantly lonely is not only an awful feeling that’s dark and sad, but it can also cause a lot of factors that can cause you harm.
For one, as I’ve mentioned earlier, constant loneliness leads to depression. Depression leads to isolation. Isolation leads to even more loneliness. This will cause you to become more stressed in general, or worse, lead to harmful addictions.
A person who’s constantly lonely has a higher inclination to use substances to compensate for dullness. Alcohol, drugs, or even over-eating are just some of the many dangerous addictions a lonely person can take up. These harmful addictions can cause a wide array of heart diseases, weakened systems, and different organ failures.
Loneliness also leads to decreased memory, lack of professional motivation, incapacity to remain physically healthy, and health problems. On top of that, researchers have also managed to pinpoint a change in your brain activities all because of loneliness.
If you’re constantly lonely, you’re less likely to associate negative situations to danger. Rather than getting that “fight or flight” feeling, you’ll start to feel indifferent instead. Your body will not release the hormones necessary for you to jump-start the day and be aware of the dangers of the world. It will not establish a biological shield, so to speak. Without it, you’re left there vulnerable and weak.
Loneliness also leads to a lack of empathy. Empathy is your ability to put yourself in the position of others. If you find yourself unable to do something like that, it will be difficult to create a connection with other people.
Humans are social animals
Humans are what’s considered as a social species. We live in packs, we’re preordained to start our own families, we rely on others for support in many aspects, so on and so forth. No man is an island, so they say. Every single human being on this planet needs at least one other person to remain healthy in mind, body, and soul.
Considering that, it’s no wonder why loneliness is such a harmful thing for us humans to experience.
Throughout the history of humankind, we’ve only ever dominated as the apex predator because of our ability to communicate and interact with intelligence. Individually, a person isn’t the strongest animal in the food chain. But as a collective, we humans are very powerful.
We’re better off as a part of a group. You will have a much better life if you have people around that you consider close friends. Restrict yourself of your social inclination and loneliness sets in.
The Magic of The Internet and Its Relationship With Loneliness
The internet was presented to us more than 50 years ago, and it remains a vital aspect of our civilization to this day. I’m using it now to write this article and you’re using it now to read it. We use it every day for entertainment, work, learning, and yes, for social interactions.
It’s amazing how we can get in touch with many people from all around the world in just a single click of a button. That’s the magic of the internet and we hold that in our very hands every single day. It is a great tool that we can use as social beings.
Oddly enough, when a study was done to assess how the internet affects a person’s level of happiness, their levels of loneliness increased instead of the other way around when given access to the internet.
Why did this happen? If the internet allows you to become much more sociable, then why does it cause more loneliness instead of less? If loneliness stems from social absence, why is the existence of the internet causing more loneliness?
As it turns out, a lot of people are using the internet as a replacement for actual and physical social interactions. This shouldn’t be the case. Instead of letting it replace your social life completely, it should only be used as an extension. You need to use social media when you’re unable to go out, meet people face-to-face, and socialize physically.
Why the internet can’t replace real-life socializing
Socializing on the internet can never replace socializing in real life. The feeling of seeing someone walk up to you gives a different feeling of satisfaction to someone chatting you up online.
Face-to-face conversations are the best ways to share stories and experiences. You’re able to see someone else’s facial expressions whenever you tell them something. You can hear them laugh when you’re telling a joke. They can hold you personally if you need comfort. Physical interactions are a better way of socializing than communicating over the internet.
This is why people still feel lonely despite being on social media all the time. It’s just not the same as actual socializing. You are better off hanging out with your friends in your favorite bar rather than talking all night in a chat group.
There’s nothing wrong with using the internet. The internet is a beautiful place where you can learn so many things and contact your loved ones even if they’re miles away. They just can’t act as your primary source of social interaction. Leave that to the real world and your level of loneliness should decrease as it should.
Opening Up To Combat Loneliness
Feeling lonely will come if you’re never open to confiding in others, if you’re withholding a lot of information, and don’t feel like you can share anything significant with anyone. If no one knows how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking, then it’s hard for them to connect with you.
Feeling that social connection is the key to get rid of loneliness. If you can’t create that connection, you’ll still feel alone even if you spend time with people. The best way for you to make a connection with someone else is by opening up to that other person.
Disclose more information about yourself and how you’re feeling. Say out loud what you’re going through, or just talk about those subjects you always assumed people just don’t understand. These are some of the ways you can open up to people
With that in mind, let’s discuss more ways you can open up more to other people so you can completely combat loneliness.
1. Contemplate on your past
The first step you can take if you want to be more open to others is to think about your history. Your past. Think about certain aspects of your childhood or teenage life that helped shape who you are now.
Was there something in your childhood that made you want to be in the profession you’re in now? Is your personality somehow influenced by something in the past? For example, if you love telling jokes now, maybe someone from your childhood kept telling jokes around you and you loved that?
The reason for this is it makes you understand yourself better. It also helps if you can tell a few stories about your past as it allows you to make a better connection with the person you want to befriend. They will be more than happy to do the same if you start it out.
2. Learn how to articulate better
The next thing you need to concern yourself with is your ability to speak properly. Knowing what to say will be somewhat useless if you don’t know HOW to speak.
This isn’t just about knowing the right words to say, that’s something you can rehearse to perfection. It’s also about controlling your voice in a way that grabs other people’s attention. Your voice needs to clear, not loud.
For your research on this matter, you can study two groups of people. Talk show hosts and stand up comedians. Learn how they speak, their body language, their facial expressions when they talk, the nuances of their voices, how they construct their stories, so on, and so forth.
3. Transform questions into statements
A good way of opening up to somebody is to turn your questions into statements instead. You might want to ask questions to encourage others to say things about you, but try to avoid that from now on. Instead of asking, just think about how you can turn your question into a statement.
For example, instead of saying “Did you enjoy talking to me?” you can say something like “I enjoyed our conversation”. With both, you’re kind of hoping that they’ll let you know if they did have a great time speaking with you, but flat-out asking it seems pushy. Instead, just say that you enjoyed speaking to them, and they’ll respond with how they felt about it too.
You can do this with so many other questions, but the point is turning these questions into statements is a much better way of opening up to other people.
4. Be accepting of your opinions and emotions
You need to realize at this point that everybody will have their own unique opinions. A person’s emotions on certain things can be different from each other. You will find people who share your opinion and emotion on things every once in a while, but you’ll also meet people who won’t.
You need to accept that that’s completely fine.
It’s okay that other people have their own opinions and it’s okay that you have your own. You don’t need to adjust to theirs and they don’t need to adjust to yours.
There doesn’t always need to be an argument when it comes to differences in opinions, but there can be healthy discussions about it. That’s what you should always aim for. Keep an open mind, don’t be afraid to open up your own opinions, but always listen to the ones of others.
5. Acknowledge your need to socialize
Let me reiterate the fact that we humans are social animals. You have something inside of you that needs to socialize to thrive. You just need to acknowledge the existence of that side of you. Embrace your nature to socialize and your drive to do so will increase greatly.
Just know that the social animal within you needs to grow, and the only way to do that is to socialize. One of the best ways to socialize is to open up to other people. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place and you’ll strive to reach your goal.
6. Never be insincere about who you are
Finally, you need to be true to yourself. You don’t need to wear a mask or put on a facade just to impress someone else. A lot of people will be able to spot insincerity from a mile away, you need to stay away from that.
Just be confident in who you are. Whatever flaws and perks you have, embrace them. Nourish them so you can use them to your advantage. If you do have any traits you think are negative, work on them so you can turn them into advantages. Use and highlight your strengths.
Whatever the case, don’t try to be someone you’re not. You can always improve as a person by learning and adopting new positive traits, but you don’t need a full overhaul just to impress other people and make friends. It’s easier to open up if you remain true about who you are.
These are the ways you can open up to other people so you can create a better connection with them. This is one of the best ways you can combat your loneliness. Once you find those connections you’re seeking for, the ones that make you satisfied, you’ll slowly feel your loneliness seeping away.
Loneliness is a state of mind. It’s an emotion, a feeling. The good thing about that is, it can go away. Make a few connections and create satisfaction and boom! Your loneliness will fade away like a puff of smoke. On the other hand, the thing about emotions is, they come back.
Just because you’re able to overcome loneliness once, it doesn’t mean it will never find itself back to you. Somehow, it will always try to come back to you. But, as long as you keep the connections you make, as long as you nourish those, you will never have to worry about loneliness. If you know how to create connections with other people, then you’ll know how to fight off loneliness.
Don’t be afraid of your loneliness, but don’t just accept it either. Know that you can do something about it, and you should do something about it. Don’t let your loneliness grow inside of you. Although it isn’t a sickness, it does have a cure. Making friends, building connections, and being socially satisfied, that’s how you cure loneliness.
Get the friends you want
Aside from opening up to other people, there are so many more ways you can create a connection with other people and form lifelong bonds. For that, you need to improve your overall social skills. By this, I mean you need to better your communication and conversation skills, you need to overcome your shyness and anxiety, and you need to know what to do once you’re faced with the people you want to make a connection with.
For that, I recommend that you give my eBook a read. Everything that you’ll need in your goal to socialize will be found there. Feeling lonely will be a thing of the past once you’re prepared to socialize and make connections. Be sure to take the time to check it out.