Have you ever been in a room filled with people, but you still felt alone and unknown? Most people know what that is like. In fact, most people could probably update the cliché. They probably know what it is like to have Facebook, FaceTime, Twitter, Google Chat, Snapchat, and Instagram, but they still feel lonely. People intuitively understand that just because they are around people, either online or in-person, it does not mean that they are connecting with those people relationally. In fact, researchers are beginning to understand how the unprecedented access people have to their loved ones through social media may actually be a leading cause of the loneliness people are experiencing.
People may be sharing pictures of their delicious meal, but are they sharing their true selves? Are people opening up about their hopes and fears, their success and failures? Are they allowing their loved ones to share the same? A basic human need is to be known and accepted. When people feel unknown, they may feel lonely, whether they have people in their lives or not. Author Amy Tan explains…
“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.”
Instead of curating a social media presence, many people are fighting loneliness by courageously sharing their true selves. They are opening up to a friend about their promotion at work and about the struggles within their marriages. They are not hiding, but instead, they are being vulnerable and forming deeper connections with their loved ones.
Many people yearn for this type of community, but do not know how. Thriveworks Counseling in Westborough Loneliness Counselors and coaches are working with more and more people to show them how to overcome a disconnected world and form healthy, strong relationships. Thriveworks Westborough has seen many clients who were frustrated with feeling disconnected and alone. They worked closely with our professionals to find solutions that fit with their lives.
Relational Connection and Reducing Loneliness
For most of history, people lived their whole lives in the same town. They experienced all of life, from birth to death, within the same community and with the same group of people. Modern society, however, functions in a very different way.
Today, it is almost unusual for people to live in one place their whole lives. Children are often expected to leave their homes for pursue opportunities for their education and their careers. Each professional advancement can mean a new city and a new community. Many people do not live near their family members or long-term friends.
Modern life does not feel conducive for community, but loneliness and isolation are not inevitable outcomes. People are learning to make their own communities. Here are a few ways they are doing it…
Communities today are different than they were a century ago, and with any type of change, there are challenges and opportunities. While people are no longer born into a community, they have more opportunity to redefine community in a way that works for them. In many ways, community can be anywhere and anything.
Some people are drawn to bustling cities where corners stores are open 24/7. Others want a small, quiet town, while for some people, the rhythm of the suburbs is right. Think about where you want to meet people and build relationships. Seek out opportunities where you can be in those places.
Just as people can build communities anywhere, they can form relationships about anything. The key is finding activities where they feel known. That may be a religious experience, a civic club, an athletic team, a volunteering opportunity, or any countless other activities that bring people together. Most likely, if you pursue something you love, you will find other people who are doing the same.
Cultivate an Inner-Circle.
People will have varying levels of depth to the relationships in their lives, and at least a few should be inner-circle friendships. What exactly is an inner-circle friendship? There are at least three criteria for these deeper relationships:
- The relationship has progressed beyond the original context where it was formed. Acquaintance friendships are built upon convenience and often end when the convenience ends. Inner-circle friends may have met at work, but they now interact outside of work and about topics other than work. Inner-circle friendships can survive a change of context.
- You can spend time with each other and without an activity or crowd. Good friends will always go out for poker nights, rounds of golf, manicures, and pedicures, but they will also just be together…sit on one friend’s sofa and share about their day…cancel plans to process a bad day…and more.
- You trust each other with both the good and the bad of your daily life. When one friend in the inner-circle is struggling, the other knows. When one experiences a victory, the other knows.
Thriveworks Counseling in Westborough—Counseling for Community Building
If you are ready to meet with a mental health professional to form deeper relationships and overcome loneliness, then Thriveworks in Westborough is ready to work with you. We have appointments for conquering isolation available.
When you contact our office, you may be meeting with a coach within 24 hours. We accept most forms of insurance. We offer evening and weekend sessions, but we do not keep a waitlist.
Let’s get to work. Contact Thriveworks in Westborough today.