Feeling lonely is difficult to talk about. At times, it feels like loneliness is not just a feeling, but, a reflection of our place in society. Maybe we feel like we should be able to “take control” or “just get out there and meet people.” That’s certainly what society would like us to believe. Or perhaps we feel like we are alone in our loneliness – that we are one of only a handful of lonely people.
The truth is that loneliness is nothing to be ashamed of. For starters, loneliness is not rare. Study after study has shown that around 33% of people over 50 consider themselves lonely. And, that’s just the people who are willing to admit it.
Loneliness is also not a reflection of our worth in society or how other people view us.
Most of the time, our loneliness is the result of our changing social environment. Children move. Spouses leave. We change jobs or retire. All of these things are a part of life.
Over the last several years, I have had the opportunity to talk with 100s of men and women over 50 and every single one of them was fascinating. Some were struggling with loneliness. Others were surrounded by grandchildren and close friends. But, all of them were precious and unique.
If you are struggling with loneliness, the first person you probably need to connect with is yourself. You are amazing. So, let go of any feelings of guilt that you have and breathe deeply. Your feelings are real, but, they do not need to define you.
Why do you think that it is so hard for some people to admit that they are feeling lonely? What advice would you give to a friend who is feeling lonely right now? Please join the conversation below.