Updated: May 15, 2018
There’s nothing worse than being surrounded by friends, family, colleagues and strangers, but feeling lonely. All too often the holidays magnify our feelings of loneliness.
It is human nature to want to connect with others. We are social beings, and as such, want companionship. But oftentimes our fear of rejection stands as a barrier. Connecting with others isn’t just trivial, it is important for both our mental and physical health. Social isolation can impact negatively on our health.
Two barriers, shyness and unrealistic expectations, usually contribute to loneliness:
1. Shyness: Not all people want to resolve their shyness issues. Why? Because of the secondary gains, which include being able to avoid criticism, playing it safe, or not having to become emotionally invested in other people’s lives.
2. Unrealistic expectations: Too often we disengage from people when we discover them to possess human limitations. We need to expect and accept the human fallacies that exist in all people. The great thing is that if we accept others for who they are, they will in turn be accepting of our imperfections.
Intimacy with others takes time to develop. You’ll gain the feelings of closeness with others when you dig deeper into your relationships and cut through the superficial connections you have with them. You can do so by sharing thoughts, feelings, ideas, interests, concerns, beliefs – anything that is authentic to you.
By expressing genuine interest in others, and truly listening to them, you will establish an empathy with them. You will discover that the bonds of intimacy and caring will be greatly enhanced between you and them.
Self disclosure means moving out of your comfort zone and permitting yourself to be open and honest with others. To do so, you will have to drop your mask and be your true self. Being open with others will result in deeper and more meaningful relationships with others. You’ll find yourself developing tighter bonds with others; bonds that will help you combat feelings of loneliness and isolation both today and in the future.
So why not try taking a risk with someone you already care about? Take the first step towards developing a deeper level of an authentic relationship. The rewards can last a lifetime.