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COTMU Enrollment Opens June 1st
February 03, 2022

All the Lonely People

Have you ever been lonely? If you’re a human being, then the answer is more than likely yes. Loneliness is an epidemic. The Beatles once wondered of lonely people, “where do they all come from?”  And we’ve wondered that too.

Loneliness is isolating and all-encompassing. It can come as a tide, pushing in and just as quickly fading away. Or it can come as a thick fog, heavy and unrelenting, obscuring your view of reality. Loneliness is, well, lonely.

 

Where do they all come from?

Before we talk about solutions, let’s talk about where loneliness comes from and why we experience it.

Loneliness doesn’t discriminate. According to a study called Loneliness in America,

“There are no significant differences in rates of loneliness based on race or ethnicity, gender, level of education, income, religion, or urbanicity.”

The survey found 36% of adults admitted to feeling lonely all the time or almost all the time, while 61% of those adults in the 18-25 age range reported feeling these severe degrees of loneliness. And the issue can be a compounding one, as “many lonely people suffer from mindsets that make them more vulnerable to loneliness.”

Loneliness is not a state of being, but a state of mind.

Social psychologists define loneliness as the gap between the social connections you would like to have and those you feel you actually have.

It has much less to do with physically being alone than it does with the feeling of being alone, or unwanted, or empty, though physical isolation often plays a big part. A global pandemic that requires social distance definitely served to remind us how important genuine human connection is to our mental health, but it didn’t start the problem.

So, how do we combat loneliness? What do we do?

UCLA Three-Item Loneliness Scale

Let’s start by assessing our own loneliness. Using the assessment below, take a few minutes to reflect on your own feelings associated with connection.

  1. How often do you feel that you lack companionship
  2. How often do you feel left out?
  3. How often do you feel isolated from others?

 

Hardly Ever? Some of the Time? Often? As you assess your level of loneliness, think about the places where you feel the most lonely. Identifying the times, situation, and surroundings where you feel most lonely will help you combat it in the future.

Now, here are some ways to combat loneliness:

1. Connect with people

Human connection (real, genuine connection) is vital. We can’t stress this enough, REACH OUT TO PEOPLE.  Even though it’s often the last thing you feel like doing. When you see one of those isolating situations coming up on the calendar, reach out to someone. See if they can go with you or schedule a connect before or after the situation. This will reenergize you and fill you with the connection you’re looking for.

2. Be mindful of how you’re spending your time 

It’s easy to retreat to safe and comfortable spaces. But if you are continuing isolating habits, you will stay stuck in your loneliness. Force yourself out of comfortability and into situations that will foster meaningful connection. When you’re with people, put away technological distractions during conversations and make it a priority to really listen and engage. Make a habit of going to church, signing up for different activities, or accepting invitations no matter how nervous it might make you.

3. Engage in technology wisely

Social media can both help and harm lonely individuals. It can help people make new friends, build connections with like-minded people, or maintain existing relationships. But social media can also serve as a breeding ground for comparison, feelings of deficiency, and an increased sense of isolation. If you’re going through a season of loneliness, assess how social media is affecting you. If it’s harming you, log off!! Only invest in life-giving habits.

The good news is…you’re not alone in your loneliness.

Ironically, one of the most isolating feelings in the human experience is also one of the most universal. But when you’re in the midst of the fog, it’s easy to forget that and become bogged down by self-defeating thoughts.

Reach out to people you trust and be honest about how you’re feeling. You will likely be surprised by how many people are feeling the exact same way or have at some point in their life.

Most importantly, in times of loneliness, turn to the One who will never leave you or forsake you.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

 

Need prayer? Reach out! https://my.churchonthemove.com/connect

Are you having difficulty connecting with others? You’re not alone! Read our blog on this topic.

Why is it so hard to make friends?

 

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