5 Crucial Truths for Overcoming Loneliness in the Digital Age
Loneliness is awful.
I’ve felt alone many times. At times, loneliness seemed to take over my life. I still feel alone more than I admit, even though I’m constantly surrounded by people.
I’ve heard the phrase, "We're alone together." We say we’re connected because we have more access to one another—email, social media, smart phones, etc.—but our technology skims the surface. Attention spans are shrinking. Information seems less safe and secure, causing us to be more private and withdrawn. Things are more global, but less personal.
Some say the digital age might be the loneliest one in history.
Then there are the hits that come—the emotional bullets of life: conflicts, break-ups, estrangements, illness, financial trouble, accidents, disasters, and deaths. Our lives are in constant flux. All this can leave us stunned and gasping for breath. Feeling alone together has become the norm.
We’re lonely, and it hurts.
We were created for connection. Our hearts long to be seen, heard, and understood. We hunger to love and be loved.
No wonder loneliness hurts. It’s the opposite of what we’re wired for. It messes with our hearts and can even rattle our souls.
There is no magic pill for loneliness, but here are five truths that can help. Try standing in front of mirror and saying these out loud to yourself.
1. "It’s okay if I feel alone."
I tried to ignore loneliness. I gritted my teeth and said, “I will not feel alone.” A lot of good that did me.
Feeling alone is part of being human. It comes and goes for all of us. Problems surface when loneliness unpacks its bags and takes up residence in our hearts. We can't afford to let that happen. And if it's already happened, we need to find a way to change it.
Accepting our feelings is often the first step beyond them. It’s okay if you feel alone.
2. "My feelings are real, but not necessarily reality.”
Our world glorifies feelings. Emotion runs the show. As a counselor friend of mine says, “Mood is king.” The feelings of the moment can override rationale and logic. Common sense can be steamrolled aside.
We’re constantly looking to feel good, and if we don’t, we think something is wrong. When we’re in pain, we’ll do almost anything to feel better. This can be a dangerous place to be.
Feelings are momentary. Living based on emotion is like chasing after the wind. We end up searching but never finding what we're looking for.
3. “I'm not alone in feeling lonely.”
Almost everyone experiences loneliness on some level. Your emotions are your own, but someone around you is dealing with something similar right now.
Look around. Observe. The valley of loneliness is more populated than you realize.
4. “I need safe, helpful people in my life.”
Safe people take your heart seriously. They accept you as you are. They don’t try to fix you. They’re willing to walk with you in your mess.
Many safe people have battled loneliness and won. That doesn’t mean they never feel lonely, but they no longer allow emotion to rule their lives.
This is what we thirst for—real people who see us, hear us, understand us, and stay. Spending time with safe people brings healing.
5. “I can make my loneliness count.”
Loneliness doesn’t have to stop you. Instead, let it be your fuel for love and service. Refuse to be defined by what’s happened or how you’ve been treated. Instead, live intentionally to make a difference. Your personal battle with loneliness has prepared you to see, hear, and understand others’ hearts.
Make your loneliness count. Live with purpose for the greater good.
Loneliness is a natural part of living in this competitive and disconnected world. It’s all around us, everywhere. We're alone together.
Yet, there is great hope. In this frenetic age, hearts can still connect. Soul wounds can still be treated and healed. We might all walk with a limp, but we can still travel together. And that’s what it’s all about.
Alone? Far from it.
Award-winning author, speaker, and grief specialist Gary Roe is a compassionate and trusted voice in grief-recovery who has been bringing comfort, hope, encouragement, and healing to hurting, wounded hearts for more than 30 years. Get a free excerpt of his new book, Comfort for Grieving Hearts.
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