Loneliness is a something that people often talk about because it’s something many of us, if not most, have to face at some point in our lives. For many, loneliness can feel like a major battle. However, helping other people can often end up helping you deal with your own loneliness!
When you look at the statistics for loneliness, it can affect anywhere from 30% to 50% of the population, depending on location. This doesn’t mean that the rest have not gone through periods of intense loneliness. It’s a universal human issue and is not surprising considering we are social, by nature. We have an innate need to connect and bond with other people.
Some people can get through this by taking care of pets, but even long-time pet owners can often feel like they need human companionship and friendship. This can be both a physical, psychological, and emotional need.
- We can feel alone if the people we are with ignore us or aren’t giving us the attention that we want or need. We crave attention; but not just any attention. We crave the right kind of attention from people we care about. We crave the right kind of attention from people we are trying to impress.
- We can feel alone when we feel like we don’t know our purpose in life, or even in a job or function. It can make us feel listless and directionless. Not having a purpose can make people feel a sense of being lost and alone.
- We can feel alone in a situation where there is unrequited love, affection, or attention. This particular situation can feel intense and that sense of loneliness can sometimes even feel like total isolation. Perhaps because emotionally, we feel that we’re shut out.
Loneliness is especially felt during the holidays when it can become so intense that it leads to depression and even higher rates of suicide. This is astounding when you think that the holidays are supposed to be for fun, family, and enjoyment.
For people who have a knack for helping others, you may not ever think about it, but doing so can even be a type of self-therapy where the act of listening and empathising with people closes that loneliness gap for yourself. Helping others and listening to them is a way to bring yourself closer to other people. It keeps you engaged and connected, and should be proof against loneliness, but is not a gaurantee.
You should not take it for granted and should always make it a habit to check in on yourself to make sure your own emotional needs are met. Sometimes, there are things you may need to get off your chest. Sometimes, you may need to just be yourself and not have to worry about helping or being there for others. Helping others and being around others may help combat loneliness but be aware that you need to sometimes actively address your own issues and not make assumptions that you’ll be alright.
Join us at College of Allied Educators to learn more about yourself, what motivates you, and how you can find happiness, meaning, and success in work, love, and life.
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