How did you spend your holiday?
Alone or with family and friends?
I thought about this subject because I see articles on it every year. About how some people dread the coming of the holidays. They have even made movies and written novels about it.
In this article I’m not referring to people who have lost a loved one through or via any way: Moved away, death or whatever the reason they aren’t there. It’s natural to feel lonely and miss them. It’s best that you keep busy to lessen the pain of you loss. Yes, holidays without them is brutal. I am not talking about that type of loneliness. I am writing about the type that can be remedied.
In the US, the homeless population has increased drastically in the past thirty years. So many people literally have no place to go if they lose their home. Years ago, people used to crash at friend or relative home until they could afford a place of their owns.
According to statistic, back in 1985 the average person reported they had 2-3 close friends. Thirty three years later, most people report they don’t have any close confidant.
The loneliest groups to be those above 65 and those btween 18-25. However, we are more connected now than ever before so why are there so many lonely people?
Nearly a third of all Americans say that they feel they have no close confidants with whom to share joy, sadness, frustration — their life experiences. This seems to be amplified by the holidays.
Meanwhile, rates of depression and anxiety have skyrocketed in the three past decades. People are committing suicide at an alarming, unprecedented rate, and each successive generation gets lonelier and lonelier. Why is this the case when we have so much more in this era than previous generations had?
Most people believe that the spouses of those above 65 are deceased but most aren’t. This generation of so-called free love had the highest divorce rate in American history. The lack of romance played a large role in the high divorce rate. Those who practiced romance didn’t practice a practical version. The moment the demands of every life rolled in. They split or said it wasn’t love.
I agree, to make Love work it is going to take a lot of hard work. It’s Simple as that. There’s no easy way. It isn’t easy. It takes two people who wants to make it work in order for it to work.
One partner can not running around behaving like a child while the other is behaving like they are the parent. The parent-partner is going to get tired of trying and leave.
I blame a lot of the loneliness of the older generation on the patriarch system. Which is defined as the father or male ruler, or a man regarded as the undisputed leader. It never taught men how to share a relationship nor how to relate to women as sociable equal. It never taught men how to relate to women as humans not as something serviette to him.
The rise of feminist toppled this pilaster the patriarch system placed men upon and many men never recovered leading to divorce and often times domestic violence.
Men raised under this system didn’t fare as well as with the changes of the 60’s and 70’s their younger brothers and sons who wasn’t under the heavy manly man idiom of the patriarch system and learn how to relate to women as human beings.
But on the other hand…I noticed too many of the 18-25 age group have no idea how to relate to the opposite gender or even their own gender. Social skills aren’t taught anymore.
Another reason for loneliness being an epidemic is that we have come to value material things above humans and human contact.
We no longer think for ourselves. We look to others to tell us how to think. Not thinking for oneself get oneself up for exceptions to be fulfilled by someone else. And when they are not disappointment and loneliness can set in for the ideology we rooted ourselves in we learned it had no foundation.
However, loneliness is rarely one individual’s fault. There are social, and economical systems in play that contribute to a nationwide epidemic of quiet isolation: the pressure to work constantly, the sense that no amount of work completed is ever truly enough, and, yes, the rise of smartphone use has shut us away from face-to-face interaction.
This mentality comes from the founding days of this country when one had to stay busy from sun up to sundown in order to survive but these people still found time for socialization. Many people do not realize that the staying busy ethnic in America is a mentality that is a carry over from slavery in America. Just as it is in Europe and other countries, it’s a carry over from the days of serfdom and feudal system.
But one can break the norm. Just because something existed doesn’t mean you have to still live by it. A good way to make friends is outright introduce yourself to others. That’s right. Take up a conversation with a stranger near you. Walk up to someone you’ve seen several times and introduce yourself. I know people nowadays think that’s crazy and many people frown upon it. Forget those kind of people. They’re more stress than you need in your life.
Many feels you always be in a social setting to make friends. For example: Everyone must belongs to club A or group B or I can’t be friends with them. That’s ridiculous. Friends aren’t meant to be a carbon copy of you nor like everything you like. A variety of different friends add spice to life.
We have isolated ourselves into some sort of it’s chic-to-be- alone-society that isn’t helping us. It’s killing us.
Studies have found that people who have frequent, meaningful in-person interactions with other people have better health, stronger immune systems and less loneliness than those who have little face time with others. Studying and getting ahead is great but there’s a life outside of work and studying.
The problem is hardly that youth spend all their time alone and on screens. It is that they spend too much of their time with peers working: running meetings, producing something, organizing something or studying. They prioritize activities that achieve goals, not meaningful connection. Goals are fine but they can not take the place of a meaningful connection to another person. When the goal is reached…then what? Usually the group dissipate.
Kids used to actually talk to each other. Visit each other even if it was to get into trouble. They sought out other kids to join them in games. I don’t have an easy solution to the fact kids can’t do the things I did growing up. But I do know something is going to have to give or we are going to lose an entire generation to this chicness , sophistication or modernism that isn’t worth it.
Studies have found that 69% in this age group (18-25) feels that the people around them are “not really with them,” and 68 % feels as if no one knew them well. This is true because young adults are far less content to be than to do. We need to work on teaching them to be content.
There is a difference between being lonely and alone. Being alone doesn’t means the person is always lonely. Some people thrives being alone. But people who are always busy may not know that. They may not know what to do, or who they are, when they are idle. Overscheduling their lives compensate as a defense against solitude and stillness, or the fear of it.
We also live in a society where admitting one is feeling lonely is something to be ashamed of which keeps so many people alone. People may feel there’s something wrong with them as to why they are alone. There’s still a stigma attached to this dreadful feeling. This medieval way of thinking couldn’t be the case in almost twenty years into the 21st century.
There appears to be a norm across the country that people fear that if they are not constantly busy studying, working, involved in sports or some type of activity or attending something or another, something must be wrong with them. Wrong with their schedule or their work ethic. People even exhibit this belief in their walking and driving and isn’t aware of why are they walking so fast or driving at break neck speed. These new norms of stress culture translate to fewer opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations and let our minds wander and become creative without someone telling us how to think.
If anything, many young adults turn to the phone or computer screen because they feel it’s the only authorized recreation in a culture of constant busyness. You don’t have to leave your library to scroll through social media. But what does that truly do for connecting with others? A ‘like’ on a picture or article doesn’t signalize you know the person. It only say you saw the contents.
I know it’s intimidating to introduce yourself to total strangers because you never know how they will perceive your introduction. But if they don’t return a warm greeting. Then move on to the next person. It’s their loss, not yours. They missed out on the opportunity in getting to know what a fabulous person you are.
A friendly good morning or good afternoon can help open the doorway to a causal conversation. It doesn’t have to be anything deep and profound you talk about. Something as simple as the weather can do wonders.
There’s nothing wrong with being alone if that’s your cup of tea but it isn’t what everyone enjoys.
I have long noticed online if you visit some people’s website or blog. Some people get on defense. Why? I wish I knew. How are you going to make friends if you behave as if you don’t need nor want any?
Another trend that exist today that wasn’t so much a norm thirty years ago. People look for perfect people to befriend. One flaw and they call off the date or budding friendship. Online, they unfriend people. Most people today are hypercritical of everyone’s faults.
It’s ok to be social conscious of important issues and some things need to be political corrected. And should have been corrected long ago but when it gets to the point it’s a pain rather than a learning tool then it has gone too far.
Newsflash! There are no perfect people. Never has been and never will be. What you see in the media, magazines, television, etc., has been rehearsed, air-brushed and painted over. Those people do not actually look nor behave like that.
It is no doubt that social media amplifies feelings of social insecurity and the feeling of being left out. Especially when we look at millions of lives and all seem better than our own. But how do we know if it’s true? So, what if that person can afford to jet across the world and send out zillions of pictures of exotic locations. How do you know if they’re happy? Anyone can snap a picture of themselves smiling. Have you ever asked your, “If they were happy wouldn’t they stay in one place? Moving around a lot for some is a way of searching for what’s missing in their lives. It’s the same as those who have stay busy in order avoid feeling lonely.
In the social media agenda. A person’s worth shouldn’t be judged by how many followers or stars they have by their handler or name. But unfortunately, in cyberspace it is. So, ignore that. Develop a stronger sense of your self-worth. Tell yourself again and again ‘you don’t need anyone validation of who you are and your self-worth.’
Yes, I’m aware that there are probably more abusers out there than thirty years ago but just as you carefully selected the place you wanted to live, the car you wanted to drive and etc. Carefully select those you let into your life. Don’t accept just anyone because you’re lonely. There are those who will take advantage of your loneliness.
I am not a psychiatrist nor an expert on human emotions but I’ve lived through more than enough to know that one can enjoy being with themselves. You can learn to enjoy the still quietness of being alone. Like yourself and be kind to yourself. Don’t listen to the holiday hype about being alone during the holidays is a failure on one as a person.