Are You Feeling Lonely?

The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved. Mother Teresa

Nearly half of Americans report that they sometimes or always feel isolated or left out. But this loneliness epidemic isn’t just happening in America. Experts from many countries are looking at the scientific facts of loneliness and what health implications the emotion carries including heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s. 

Michelle H. Lim, scientific chair of the Australian Coalition to End Loneliness, states, “You might meet people and be embedded within families, be married, but you might still feel a sense of disconnection from other people.” Lim sees loneliness as more to do with the quality of the relationships people hold than the quantity of people they’re encountering day to day. “You can have social isolation but not feel lonely, or you can feel lonely and not be socially isolated.”

Hiding our loneliness from each other makes the problem worse. December is a particularly difficult time for those who feel lonely. Be aware of the people around you and notice who might be feeling isolated and lonely. Experiencing a recent loss of a loved one can magnify these feelings. Ending on a positive note, Lim says, “Humans are designed to be kind to each other, and we’re designed to rely on each other and to thrive.”

Affirmation: I strive to be kind and to help others thrive.

Coaching questions: When have you felt lonely? What has caused you to feel this way? If you know someone who is lonely, how will you reach out to them? 

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Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

KISS

Live simply so that others may simply live. Mother Teresa

We’ve all heard about the KISS system of living…Keep It Simple, Stupid. We live in a complex, complicated age. Although, people in every age probably had the same thought, “A wheel? Why do you want to complicate our life with a contraption like that!?”

Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame have launched yet another project, Magnolia Journal, a lovely magazine that has their Magnolia Manifesto in each copy. I quote only part of it here, “We believe that newer isn’t always better and that there is something inherently good in hard work. We believe that it’s time for the pendulum of trend to swing back to the basics. We believe in subtle beauty, the kind that doesn’t deteriorate with age or wear.” They go on to talk about the importance of family, life balance, courage to try new things, and learning from our mistakes.

I too believe that “stuff” isn’t what makes life fulfilling. For me, it is family, friends, faith, a sense that we are making a difference…simple things that take a lifetime to cultivate. Sometimes, if there is a hole in our hearts, we try to fill it with stuff…in my experience, this doesn’t work.

Affirmation: I  strive to live simply so others may simply live.

Coaching questions: In what ways are you unnecessarily complicating your life? If you pared down the “stuff” what difference would it make? Are you accumulating stuff in order to fill an empty space in your heart?