In our modern world--we have a plethora of options for communication. You can ring, ping, email, fax, text, post, comment, tweet, myspace, facebook or skype. Nearly anywhere you go--anytime you want--you can be logged on and dialed in. We are easily the most connected society in the history of mankind. Yet, despite our ability for constant contact, (or perhaps because of it) feelings of social isolation persist. It is my hope that these tips will help you work through those feelings.
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Other People Are Reading
Stop comparing your life to the lives of others. Absolutely everything you "know" about others is based on assumptions of a partial picture. We can never really know what goes on inside the mind and heart of another person, because what we show to the world is an edited version of ourselves. You know how it is: we put on happy faces and rarely talk about our pain even with those who are closest to us; therefore, what we see of others is really an incomplete picture. Comparing the complete picture of your life (which, of course, only you see and experience every day) to the incomplete picture of another person's life is futile and stupid. Remember, just because you see a group of people laughing while hanging out together at a bar doesn't mean they are all having a good time. Just because you see a couple locked in a loving embrace doesn't mean they don't fight beyond closed doors. You cannot and should not judge the quality of your life based on what you see of the lives of your friends or stories you hear in the media.
Speaking of media, be conscious of what media you consume and how it affects your beliefs and feelings about your life. All media stories are witnessed, sifted, filtered, crafted and edited. Media stories are also partial pictures created to evoke a certain feeling or prove a specific point. By media stories, I'm not just talking about traditional television programs or movies, but I am also talking about "reality" television, blog posts and even Facebook pages. Things that appear in these formats are always edited to show a desired slant, even casual snapshots or off-the-cuff status updates.
Allow yourself to feel your feelings of loneliness. It is OK to feel lonely. Loneliness is not unique to you, nor is it proof that you are weird or a social outcast. Loneliness is a natural part of the human condition. When you feel loneliness, know that you are not alone. Hopefully, this will help you feel less lonely.
Find something you love to do and find a group of people who also love that thing and do it together on a regular basis. It really is that simple.
Be patient. Friendships and strong, fulfilling bonds take time to develop.
Volunteer to help people who have less than you do. Not only does helping people increase your opportunities to have meaningful social interactions, it also helps you to put your suffering into perspective.
Transform negative thoughts with gratitude. If you keep telling yourself things like, "I am weird. I have no friends. I am alone. Everybody rejects me," then your life will form to these thoughts, and you will create a socially isolated reality for yourself. You will look around and see only the things that reinforce your negative worldview. You will dwell on the person who ignores you, while completely missing the three other people who smiled at you. Instead of allowing your negative thoughts to become you, be grateful for all that you do have and put your focus there.
Remember, emotions are like weather patterns passing through your mind. Just because you are lonely today, does not mean that you will be lonely tomorrow. Your future only resembles your past if you allow it to do so.
Work through feelings of jealousy, hate and rage productively with a counselor, meditation, yoga or genuine prayer. If you find that you are unsuccessful in reducing your feelings of social isolation on your own, seeking help from a mental health professional, a spiritual teacher or life coach can help you make the life changes you crave. Do not let continued anger fester and get out of control.
Get off the computer. Get out and start interacting with people. Right now! Surfing the web, reading blogs or sending email is not interacting with a person; it's interacting with a machine. If you feel socially isolated, you need to have more face-to-face interactions with other human beings.