Current estimates put the world’s population at somewhere around 6.8 Billion. Yup…that’s with a “B” That’s a LOT of people. And yet…there are still SO many people that think they are alone in the world. I would guess at a fair estimate of more than 50% of people, and probably closer to 75%, live with the feeling of being alone.
My goodness…with ALL those people cluttering up the world…these people feel ALONE?
So, if your logic is as amazed as my logic...then why do some people feel alone in a world FULL of people?
Let’s think about it for a moment. When our parents were kids, I will bet you that their parents knew most all their neighbors and probably a few people down the street. They could name off people that they saw each week in church and probably even tell you a bit about what was going on in their lives. They would be able to call to their neighbors by name as they went down the street and wouldn’t miss a beat if one of them asked for a bit of help.
Now YOU tell me…can YOU do that?
If you’re like most people today, then the honest answer is no…you don’t know all your neighbors or anything about their lives. We have each become a little island of isolationism that we guard rather fiercely.
But I think that this problem is about more than just whether or not you seclude yourself from the world. It’s about a deeper feeling of loneliness that truly isolates us from life. Through the experiences that we have and the feelings and thoughts we internalize, we pull away from the world and everyone in it. It’s better and easier to lock yourself in than to risk and hurt and find yourself vulnerable.
One thing that I’ve learned about all people is that we were made to be social creatures. We don’t do well in isolation. That’s why it’s such a punishment in prisons to be put in isolation. We need interaction with other people. Even if it is just a smile and hello from the shop cashier. There’s something inside us that responds to that. In fact…it’s something that our hearts and souls NEED.
We do have a tendency to pull away from the things that hurt us. It’s probably part of that self preservation instinct that helped keep the species alive for so many centuries. However, now, it seems that that instinct doesn’t serve us in the best capacity anymore. It’s now often an impediment to a successful and happy life.
Just in the same way that our fight or flight instinct hasn’t evolved into something that better serves us in this time, our self preservation instinct hasn’t evolved either. It now causes us stress and can become a lead in to depression and isolation.
So how do we deal with this? Well, understanding what’s going on is ALWAYS the first step. Now that we know what’s happening, we can start to deal with it.
So what are YOU going to do to start to fix this?
I think that the best way to deal with feeling lonely and isolated from life and people, is simply to put yourself out and say hi to everyone that you meet. If you see someone at work…anyone…just smile and say hi. 99% of the time, you’ll get a smile and a hi back. Do this everywhere. TALK to people. If you’re in a line somewhere, say hi! Greet the people serving you at a restaurant, at the store, and the gas station…everywhere.
What you’ll find is that there are other people out there, and some of them just might be feeling the same way. You never know…you just might help someone feeling just as lonely as you.
Call up a friend, or family, or pay a visit to your neighbors. You need to understand that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You’ve just pulled yourself away from the people that are around you. And, sadly, there aren’t many people that are going to reach out to you. We’ve all become used to the idea of family isolationism.
This is something that you’re going to have to help yourself deal with. It won’t cost you anything, just a smile and a hi. You might find a great conversation with someone you never knew was around you. I know that I have. Some of the best and most entertaining conversations I’ve had have been standing in line at Wal-Mart. :-)
Get out there and don’t let your fears control you anymore.
As Fox Molder always says…”We are not alone.” :-)