For all of 2018 and part of 2019, I’ve spent most of my time taking care of my mom. I didn’t really focus on creating a life full of friends, family and fun when I moved back home to California. Instead, I focused on the job I had to do and I was going to do it to the best of my ability.
If someone were to ask me during that time if I were lonely, I would have answered that I didn’t have time to think about it. Between family, work, and caretaking, I didn’t really have enough time to recognize what I was feeling at all. My focus was to get the job done and that’s what I did.
I felt like I was on red alert a lot of the time, and while I had the love and support of my family, I still felt alone and that overall feeling wasn’t registering.
Now that I have had some space to look back and reflect on my experience, I find that I had often felt lonely. It was not only the feeling of not being able to connect with my mom around activities like we used to, nor was it a lack of social contact – I had plenty, rather, it was that I didn’t want to share the emotional burden I was carrying with friends and family. I didn’t want to bring them down or impact them in a negative way.
That desire often left me feeling stressed out, alone, and mourning, wrapped inside a “Can Do” personality that kept striving to get the job done.
Mistakenly, I believed that loneliness was only caused by a lack of social contact. I didn’t realize that there was so much more to the epidemic of loneliness that we face worldwide and so much more to the havoc it wreaks on individuals, families and communities.
For the next month, I’ll be taking a deep dive into this concept with the book, loneliness – Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T Cacioppo and William Patrick.
In this amazing book, published in 2008 , the authors posit that loneliness is a bigger problem than previously thought. In their insightful and well-researched book, we learn that loneliness can cause us to feel miserable, but more than that, it can make us sick, lose productivity, and fail at the simplest of tasks.
So stick around for the next few weeks, as I share with you my takeaways from this insightful book and what you and I can do to help ourselves and our children manage our feelings of loneliness better.
If we can help each other to feel less lonely, we not only get the benefit of creating deeper connections, we make the world a better place. Do it for yourself, do it for your children, and you’ll be happy you did!
Until next time,
Coach “It’s Going to be Okay”