This summer at Fresh Sends, we are looking beyond ourselves to practice selflessness towards others. We all know the value of selflessness because we have all experienced the feeling of loneliness - and few things feel better than someone else’s care when we are lonely! Loneliness is a twofold concept, because even though our loneliness feels unique, everyone actually knows what loneliness feels like - making the experience of loneliness actually something we can all understand.
While loneliness cannot be cured from one Get Together article, there are tangible ways you can address loneliness for yourself or a loved one. Combating loneliness first requires an inward look at yourself followed by taking outward action in response.
The first questions to ask yourself are this: What is your loneliness asking for? What experience does your loneliness wish others could understand?
Once you have an answer for this question… you can move outward. Seek out people, places, or outlets that might have this same desire or offer the solution. Pursue joining a group of likeminded people who share a similar hobby or swing by the library and explore books related to your experience. As debilitating as loneliness can be, it requires action to change.
Another inward question to consider is this: What gets in the way of you connecting to others?
This might feel like an obvious consideration, but whatever is getting in the way of your connections to others must be addressed with outward action! So often we experience the feeling of loneliness without actually exploring the why or how we developed barriers to connection that caused the isolation. Addressing these obstacles might be simple or complex and the process of making change might require creativity and courage. If conflict with a friend caused your isolation… Can the relationship be repaired or do you need to move on? Are your boundaries around work hours preventing your social opportunities? Is your mental health impacting your social battery and you need to find a therapist/group? All of these barriers have solutions, no matter how intimidating or lofty. Break the process down into small steps and the changes will start to compile.
Above all else, remember: others can relate to your loneliness and its potency is temporary. Humans are wired for connection and caring for one another - embrace the vulnerability and courage that comes with addressing loneliness, because the payoff might just change everything!
– Kylie Lahey, LCSW