Conquering Loneliness and Isolation—Coaches and Counselors in Hampton, VA
Snapchat. Google Chat. FaceTime. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. With a smart phone or tablet, people have unprecedented access to their friends and family. With the click of an app, they can see their loved one’s latest status updates and newest selfies. Seeing and speaking to someone on the other side of the world would have been unimaginable 30 years ago, but people do it all the time today. Unfortunately, just as people can feel isolated in the middle of a room full of people, they can also have 24/7 access to a social network and still feel alone. In fact, much research is discovering that social media may be a significant contributor to why people feel lonely.
Being around people and feeling connected to them are difference experiences.
The root of loneliness is emotional disconnection. People may be sharing a picture of their gourmet meal, but are they sharing their feelings—their fears, hopes, frustrations, joys, and more. Further, are their friends and family members seeing and accepting what people are sharing. Finally, are people seeing their loved ones and receiving their experiences? Connection works both ways.
“Our uniqueness makes us special, makes perception valuable—but it can also make us lonely. This loneliness is different from being ‘alone’: You can be lonely even surrounded by people. The feeling I’m talking about stems from the sense that we can never fully share the truth of who we are. I experienced this acutely at an early age.” —Amy Tan
Author Amy Tan makes an important point: people need to share their true selves. People’s online and social media presence is often curated, leaving out bits and pieces of who they are. The disconnect between how people present themselves and who they really are is often filled with loneliness and isolation.
The disconnect can be filled, and people can learn how to cultivate community where they share their true selves. Many people are working with a mental health professional to do just that: share more of their lives with people who care about them.
More and more people are reaching out to Thriveworks Hampton because they are experiencing loneliness. They are working with our counselors and coaches to build up their community and fight isolation.
Overcoming Loneliness—Two Keys
People who feel isolated often long for deeper relationships, but they do not know how—they are not sure what steps to take. Many times, when people improve their social skills, they find more community in the process. Thankfully, social skills are like any other talent—it does not matter how much ability people naturally have, everyone can improve. Working with a counselor or a coach can help, but here are a few keys to improving one’s social skills and building community…
Key # 1: Reimagine Relationships.
Sometimes, when people imagine what community should look like, they think of a 1960s, idealistic picture in The Saturday Evening Post by Normal Rockwell. Small towns. Parades. Clean-cut and straight-laced. But communities have changed, and with change, there is opportunity. People are defining community in a way that works for them and that is different than past generations. Truly, people can form healthy relationships anywhere.
Think about who you are and how you feel known. Maybe tattooing is a significant part of your identity, and you have found community within that artistic community. Maybe you love sports and find community through an adult ultimate Frisbee league. Maybe religion or service is important to you, and you have found a community of likeminded people. Community can be formed around anything. When you feel known and connected, pursue those activities and more than likely, you will find yourself among others who are doing the same.
Key # 2: Form an Inner Circle.
Not everyone in your life will be a close friend. Everyone needs acquaintances, but people also need an inner circle. Friends who are in the inner circle are close and these relationships last. Inner circle relationships have three main characteristics. Inner circle friends…
- Have grown beyond the original context where they met. Acquaintance relationships are built upon the convenience of their context. However, inner circle relationships go deeper and recover from scene changes.
- Can simply be together. Their relationship has grown beyond the original context where it was formed and beyond the original activity where it developed. Of course, good friends will go out to a movie, have poker night, play a round of golf, or go get manicures and pedicures. However, good friends also scrap these plans when they need to talk.
- Trust each other with their true selves. When one inner circle friend is stressed about his marriage, the other knows it. When one inner circle friend is struggling at her job, the other knows it. They share fears, hopes, failures, and successes.
Coaching at Thriveworks Hampton—Building Community and Deep Relationships
If you are experiencing the loneliness and isolation of modern life, you are not alone. Many people are feeling the disconnect. Many people are also fighting for community by working with a coach or counselor. If you are ready to meet with a mental health professional, know that Thriveworks Hampton has available appointments for overcoming loneliness and building relationships.
When you contact our office, you may have your first appointment the following day. We accept many forms of insurance. We never put our clients on a waitlist, but we do offer evening and weekend appointments.
Let’s get started. Contact Thriveworks Hampton today.