Many people tend to think that loneliness is primarily caused by lack of people around but they fail to realize that even being surrounded by the wrong people can bring about very lonely feeling. This is the reason it has been said that the quality of people around you and the emotional connection between you and them is more important than the number of people around.
Humans have basically evolved as a social and communal beings and are adapted to have deep emotional connection with other people (and to things), which is also part of out survival instincts. However, finding these deep emotional connections is not a very easy task and this is the reason may people, at a point in their lives, have experienced loneliness and the feeling of emptiness deep within themselves.
I read a particular report by CNBC a while ago and they made some shocking revelations about the increase in loneliness being experienced by people. Surprisingly, over 60% (about two-third) of adults are passing through a form of loneliness and this figure is more pronounced in the U.S.
One may be quick to guess why these figures are rising. Now let's bring in simple logic into play here. The world is now getting more digitalized and this can also be felt in our social media and mobile telephony system that someone can virtually connect with people from the comfort of their mobile devices. However, this also brought its own consequences: the usual face-to-face contact that characterized the last century is fast being replaced by social mediarism and virtuality and this has affected emotional connection of people. You will be right to say that the very thing that is meant to unify the world is also acting as a tool of emotional disconnection.
Many people on social media tend to live a fake life and other people following them will tend to feel they are not up to par in terms of standards and status, and this will also lead to the feeling of a loneliness.
To make the point clear, feeling lonely and being alone are two different things. Someone may be alone and still feel the company of someone miles away, while someone else may be in the midst of people and still feel very lonely. A very renowned psychologist, Estroff Marano (one of the publishers of psychology today) explained that being alone is constructive because it allows you to engage yourself in constructive thinking, but being lonely is a feeling of emptiness and being hypervigilant and hyper-aware of social threats.
To deal with loneliness, one must recognize that they are lonely - this is because the solution to a problem starts with the discovery of the problem. First of all, engage more in real life activities in lieu of social media. That is, instead of placing a video call to your next door neighbour, go and visit them instead (note: caution should be applied in this period of Covid-induced social distancing). Look for things that interest you and try get involved in social activities. Do not wait for people to engage you in discussion, engage them first.
The more you engage with people, the more you discover how it is easy to overcome loneliness. At first, it may be difficult but just keep at it. Very important point here is; do not expect perfection from people because, not only will you be disappointed, it may trigger another feeling of loneliness. Remember, when you show interest in people, it will be almost certain that they will reciprocate and be attracted to you.
Thanks for reading