First steps for ending loneliness.

First steps for ending loneliness.

First steps for ending loneliness.

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If you tell someone that you are feeling lonely, they will probably give you a list of a hundred things that you can do to meet other people. They may say, “If you’re feeling lonely, why don’t you just take up a new sport, join a dating site, go dancing or find a book club?” If only it were that simple!

What most people don’t realize is that loneliness is a complex problem. For starters, most of us have limiting beliefs that prevent us from meeting others. Many of us have a fear of rejection. Others suffer from low self-esteem or anxiety. Some of us are just naturally introverted. Making us feel like we are just being lazy for not “getting out there and meeting people” is counterproductive.

To make matters worse, loneliness is perpetuated by a negative spiral of actions and emotions. Feeling socially isolated, some of us turn to comfort foods or alcohol to dull the pain. Even the strongest of us spend more time than we know we should in front of the TV or clicking on other people’s Facebook posts. These behaviours draw us further away from good health, confidence and a desire to engage with the world.

In many ways, these problems become harder to deal with as we reach our 50s and 60s. Many of our bad habits are deeply engrained in our daily routines. In addition, we also have to deal with the fear of loneliness itself and the persistent worry that we will end up as the stereotypical “lonely senior.”

The good news is that the loneliness spiral can spin in both directions. Our healthy decisions can perpetuate an increase in self-esteem and a desire to meet other people once again. It is for exactly this reason that I say that the first step to dealing with depression starts with ourselves, not others.

Our world is getting lonelier — and the technology we hoped would bring it closer together has largely succeeded mostly at speeding it up and making it even more impersonal. And, to make matters worse, that same technology makes it seem darker by creating the appearance that everyone else is connecting, living, loving and engaging others — except you.

The solution presented, of course, is mostly a series of formulaic approaches to actually rubbing shoulders with others again — surely that should make us friends.

And, it’s a decent idea — but it’s not enough.

What they fail to notice is that the world and culture we have created has done a much deeper number on the very fabric of our worth and value. Unless we start by fixing that, the rest isn’t likely to change.

The above linked is just the first steps of changing such — but it’s a start.

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