How do you deal with isolation and loneliness?

Humans are social animals by nature. We’re really good at communicating with others and creating community. We get a lot more done when we work together than when we work alone. It’s fair to say the majority of progress humans have created has been through collaboration. There’s something special about connecting with other human beings. Even the most closed off of people, have a close friend or two that they enjoy being around. It’s more than just being an introvert or an extrovert. Social interaction is a vital part of the human experience. Research has shown how easily people can go insane in solitary confinement. The interactions we have with others are an important part of our overall wellbeing.

But we can’t always spend time around other people. Sometimes we have no choice but to be alone for a while. We can’t always have a friend to comfort us. We can’t always have a love interest to talk with late at night. We won’t always have family around to spend the holidays with. There will be times of isolation in life. It’s bound to happen eventually. And isolation can be very lonely at times. Some people slip into a depression when they feel alone. Other people will try and force themselves to be more social when they’re feeling lonely. We all have different ways that we could handle being isolated or lonely. It’s how you handle the isolation that determines your wellbeing and the rest of your social health. So how do you deal with isolation and loneliness?

Here’s my thoughts on how I deal with isolation and loneliness.

Nobody likes being alone in this day and age. I mean we’re always spending time with other people. Even when we’re not spending time physically around other people we’re still spending time connected on the internet. And when we’re on the internet we’re usually just scrolling through some social media site. So we don’t even get real time alone these days. We’re on the internet spending time with people even when we’re alone in the physical sense. And that’s mostly because people don’t like being alone. Some people would prefer to always be around other people. There’s even people that are completely afraid of being alone. They hate it to their core. I know a couple of people that will almost instantly get sad if they’re completely alone.

I hate that. I hate that people get depressed from just being alone with themselves. I get that isolation can be pretty boring. But for the most part, isolation isn’t going to kill you. You will be completely fine at the end of the day. You won’t have someone to laugh and joke with. You won’t have someone to vent about life with. And you won’t have someone to hug or cuddle you if you crave physical touch. But honestly, it will be okay. You won’t lose your mind by being alone for a couple hours a day. It might seem like the longest day of your life but really you’re just uncomfortable with the feeling. And that’s how most people act when they’re alone. They hate it with all their heart. That’s sad.

I’m a little different than most people. I enjoy being alone. I think spending time alone is time well spent. I learn a lot about life when I’m alone. I’m usually in some kind of deep thought about how the world works when I’m by myself. And it is a pretty good time to me. I get to spend time thinking to myself without always being interrupted by someone’s random comment. I can take the time to write about my thoughts or learn a new subject. When I’m alone I don’t sit and dwell on how much I miss other people. I take the time to enjoy whatever I’m doing with myself. Alone time is a great time to learn things. Rather than fear being alone, I go out of my way to be alone at times. I don’t fear being around other people, but it can be really exhausting sometimes. So I enjoy being alone with myself.

But there’s a big difference from being alone and being completely isolated. When you’re isolated you can’t spend much time with others even if you wanted to. It’s a completely different feeling. You can be alone and then jump to call a friend if you want to. That would make you feel a little more social really quickly. If you’re isolated, you might not even have a phone to call that friend with. You might not be able to go outside to just interact with another random stranger. When you’re isolated you can’t convince yourself to get up and be social no matter how hard you try. Isolation is the extreme version of being alone. I remember being isolated recently and I kind of felt ashamed. I went to the grocery store and was feeling so isolated that intentionally tried to avoid all eye contact or interaction with anyone else.

When you’re really in isolation it’s really easy to get depressed. You feel more than just alone when you’re isolated. You feel like you’re on this Earth completely by yourself. And no matter what happens or who you meet nobody will truly understand you or what you’re going through. I’ve been isolated many times before and it really isn’t fun. But when I’m isolated I act the same way I act when I’m alone. I take the time to embrace the feeling and not try to fight it. I’m not the most emotional person. I suck at understanding my emotions and rarely do I want to show them. But if I’m feeling alone, sad, depressed, or even isolated I’ve learned the best thing to do is just embrace it. So I spend that time being isolated and not interacting with others. I spend that time to spend more time with myself.

Because truly if I’m feeling isolated and uncomfortable then something is wrong. I shouldn’t feel isolated when I’m alone with myself. If I’m uncomfortable with my own company, it simply means I need to spend more time with myself. So if I feel isolated I will take the time to read a book by myself. I will go for a walk at night by myself. I will watch videos or learn new things by myself. Because I can’t add any good value to other’s company if I’m already unhappy with my own. That’s my philosophy on being alone. If I’m alone I take the time to enjoy my own company. If you spend enough time with yourself you should learn to love your own company, not be scared of it. That’s why I don’t feel isolated as often as I used to. And after I spend a lot of time with myself, I become happier and more positive. Then I know I can spend time with others and bring good energy.

I don’t fear being alone. I fear never wanting to be alone. Thank you Tim, for being such a great friend to yourself!

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