In our daily lives, approximately 5% of us will report feeling lonely often or always, and within this, those of us aged between 16-24 will report this more significantly than those in older age brackets.
Now, while this may not seem that significant, it’s still something that I’m sure we can all relate with. It’s so significant that in 2017, the British Prime Minister announced plans to combat this issue (1).
This subject in particular has been on my mind lately as it’s something that I’m constantly coming across and having to battle with; while I’m not sure what I can add to the topic, I wonder if I can try?
I believe that we all have an innate need to understood. To be deeply understood and loved. To have that person, even one person, who truly understands us – what we’re like and how we behave, who doesn’t hold it against us. To have that person who understands us and accepts us without judgment. And I believe it’s the lack of that that’s aiding the loneliness problem we’re currently facing.
In some cases, we go to work and although we try, we just find that we don’t ‘fit’ in. We stick out in comparison to others. While we have those that love to socialise, to go to all the work events and all the work drinks; there are others (much like myself) who prefer to dwell in the quieter places, apprehensively awaiting the time they get to unwind and truly relax. Who prefer to think and reflect, and prefer to open themselves up to more personal relations. However, in an environment where your loudness reflects your level of confidence and social prowess, this can often be hard and can often lead to feelings of isolation, misunderstandings and ultimately, loneliness.
I’ve learnt that it’s hard to be fully understood; and your intentions will not always be valued or regarded positively. And honestly, people will just not always be available to be there for you. So what can we do?…
What can you do? – Take time to invest in the relationships that matter to you; not just online but offline. Physically pay a visit to your friends and loved ones, drop them a message to check on them when they pop up in your mind. Life is not easy but it gets easier when we feed on the things that bring us joy.
As for me, I’m learning to accept myself and the consequences that come with it. I will most likely be the quiet girl in the corner, observing and there’s nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t mean that I’m mute or that I’m disinterested. It just means that I prefer to ingest information in a different way. I build relationships differently and whilst not everyone will like that, I’m starting to realise that it doesn’t matter. Not everyone will like/accept you but I will accept myself. My introversion doesn’t mean that I’m disinterested, it doesn’t mean that I’m unable to be social, it just means that my idea of social is perhaps different from yours but the value I bring can never be diminished.
This world can be tiring, and expectations unending. To keep up with trying to please everyone, and be everything to everyone can be mentally tiring. But let’s ultimately find peace in the Lord, in the quiet place where it’s just us and God. Only He can give us true rest, he’s the One that’s closer than a brother, the lover of our souls and the One that has known us inside and out even before we had our first breaths. In in Him that we find perfect love and acceptance…
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8 (NLT)
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 (NLT)
Ope O ❤
(1): Office for National Statistics, 2018