Walking away from people in my life was a hard choice to make. I had had enough unhealthy relationships and was tired of the perpetual popularity contest. Despite being in the company of many, I felt deep-seated loneliness. I knew change was necessary, and it was time to embark on a new path.
I spent much of the following year alone, deliberately distancing myself from my old routines to avoid the unhappiness they brought me. I knew I would eventually overcome this challenging phase by dealing with my isolation, prioritizing my well-being, and holding out for a while.
Loneliness has become a global epidemic affecting people of all ages, generating a sense of isolation that can cause severe psychological distress. People may develop depression, anxiety, or self-worth issues. As people increasingly rely on their devices for communication, the opportunities for authentic connection and meaningful relationships become rarer.
As stated by Matt Johnson, Ph.D. in Psychology Today's article, 'Why Loneliness is On the Rise,' loneliness rates in the United States have increased since 2015, starting well before the pandemic. According to a recent survey, about 75% of individuals in the UK consider their neighbors as strangers. Furthermore, one in every eight British admitted in a 2020 report they had no friends, shedding light on a vital aspect of our lives – social interaction.
Indeed, social interaction is crucial to our mental and physical well-being, happiness, and longevity. Meaningful relationships make us feel we belong and boost our self-esteem. They make us feel appreciated and safe, knowing that people deeply care about us. However, building such relationships requires a concerted effort from us all.
During my personal experience with loneliness, I realized that my happiness had to start with self-love. As the saying goes, "You can't pour from an empty cup." I began to care for myself physically, mentally, and spiritually, finding contentment from within. As I began to feel better, I started recognizing the incredible people already present in my life. Knowing I couldn't merely wish for friends to come knocking at my door, I actively began establishing new connections.
With time, I developed beautiful, lasting relationships beyond mere acquaintance. They were relationships where I could be vulnerable and create deep, intimate bonds. While these relationships may be rare, they have the power to illuminate your soul and spirit upon discovery. I could have easily remained within my former mindset and avoided personal growth, but I willingly stepped out of my comfort zone into discomfort, knowing the outcome would be rewarding.
We are all entitled to enjoy light-hearted relationships in our lives. We deserve to develop profound and significant bonds with others. We should experience feelings of inclusion and community, which typically originate from within us.
Remember, in any relationship you have, it's a two-way street. You must be willing to put out the effort to extend your friendship and also be open to accepting the same in return. When people are open to giving and receiving, the seeds of friendship can take root and flourish.
My best to your health and happiness,