Loneliness Is Much More Common Than Many People Realize Or Want To Admit

  Loneliness is tough and much more common the most people realize. It can be painful, exhausting, heartbreaking, and potentially devastating, especially when we let it consume us. At times, it can feel hopeless, overwhelming, and has the potential to increase the risk of mental and physical health problems.
   Anyone is susceptible, from individuals with lots of people around them to others who are physically isolated.  All ages, genders, sexualities, races… No one is immune.
   Kinda scary isn’t it.
   I know all about loneliness because I’ve been living with it for many years. I understand the pain and challenges. Seeing other people have significant others and numerous close friends while I’m on my own.
   As to why loneliness occurs, that is complicated and varies from person to person with numerous factors potentially coming into play. Physical isolation, lack of common interests, being different from people in one’s environment, depression, social anxiety, shyness, and low interpersonal communication skills are a few examples.
   Age can play a role as well. Studies have shown that for most individuals over 30, the number of friends they have decreases. This is probably connected to people getting into long-term relationships, starting families, dealing with careers, and so on. As a result, some of the friendships they had from before drift away. As to the established friendships that continue, there may be changes such as not seeing each other quite as often because for many individuals, their significant others and families have become their main source of social interaction. The result is that most people over 30 aren’t particularly looking for new friends. From their perspective, they’re too busy or don’t need them. So for individuals who are lonely and searching for new friends, finding them becomes even more difficult.
   Loneliness can be terribly challenging to deal with, but we should work hard at not letting it consume us. We must learn to control it, not let it control us.
   Believe in yourself, even at the most difficult moments. Remember that you can rely on yourself no matter what. I know, it can be brutal at times, but never give up on you.
   Stay open to the possibility of connecting with someone because after being hurt so much and so often, it can be easy to automatically shut people out to try to protect ourselves from further disappointments, letdowns, rejections, and crushed hopes. The problem with shutting people out is that it can also isolate us even more and prevent us from establishing contact and potential relationships with others. 
   So be open to meeting people. Don’t automatically rule out letting them in. If they hurt you, don’t let it bring you down. I know it can be frustrating and terribly painful, especially when you don’t have any close friends and attempts to find one seem to keep failing. Still, metaphorically speaking: Get back up, brush yourself off, and keep moving forward.
   Another thing is to try to find happiness in yourself. There is truth to the idea of love and have faith in yourself.
   Believe in you! Doing so will help make life more enjoyable and also increase the possibility of perhaps connecting with others. And if you don’t find someone to connect with anytime soon, you’ll still have you!
   Do things you enjoy, even if you are doing them on your own. Use your imagination because there, you can experience, explore, and do whatever you want.
   And don’t be afraid to talk to a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. There is absolutely no shame in doing so, and it may help you cope with your circumstances a whole lot better.
   And please, never give up!
   Remember that you can always rely on yourself and be your own best friend!

There Are Multiple Factors Leading To Intolerance And Hate

   Where did all the hate and prejudice that is pervading society today come from? It’s the 21st century! Many of us want to think that society would be better than this, so why does it feel like so much intolerance is all around us.
   We live in an age of incredible advancements in terms of technology and communication. We have access to more information than anyone in human history and the ability to exchange information with one another faster than ever before. You’d think this would help broaden people’s minds as they learn about other people and far away places. And for some people, it has. But for others, it appears that this is not the case.
   So where is all this hate and prejudice coming from?
   I think the answer to that question is very complicated and varies from person to person. Often, it’s probably a combination of multiple factors that come together and lead to prejudice and hate.
   Lack of knowledge is a big one. People often fear what they don’t understand, so when they are confronted with something that they know very little about and is different from their own life experiences, many people respond with mistrust and intolerance. Their automatic response might be suspicion that it must be something bad and that they must stand against it.
   The influences of people and/or organizations in a person’s life which that person trusts are also major factors. If those influences consist of open-minded and tolerant attitudes, that could help broaden an individual’s mind. But when the influences are intolerant and close-minded, that increases the likelihood that an individual will adopt those attitudes as well, especially if the person was already leaning in that direction to begin with.
   Another issue is how so many people these days surround themselves with (or follow) individuals, websites, organizations, and other sources of information that tell them what they want to hear instead of giving them objective information and showing them diverse points of view. Again, this can reinforce intolerant and prejudiced attitudes that a person may already have and even make them worse.
   Fear of the unknown and of change also frequently comes into play. Many people don’t want to step out of their comfort zone. They want to surround themselves with what is familiar and what they prefer.
   So when you think about it, it’s easy to see how all these factors can combine in leading to intolerant, prejudiced attitudes.
   As a society, we must do better than this. People need to have the courage to open their minds and broaden their horizons. Think for themselves and don’t automatically believe some individual, organization, or website. Seek out sources of information that are varied, independent, and reputable. Have the courage to seek out new ideas and learn about different points of view. Recognize that there is often multiple ways to do things and accomplish goals. That this is a diverse planet and that we need to learn about one another, learn from one another, and strive to work together as best we can.
   It’s time to do better.

It’s Time For Everyone To Start Working At Healing This Battered, Divided Nation

11-8-20
   Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the presidential election, and yes, this is a big deal. A potential turning point to begin the process of healing this bitterly divided, battered nation.
   I’m an Independent politically. In some ways, I’m very liberal while in other ways I’m moderately liberal and moderate. Like many people in this country, I’m a mixture.
   We’ve all seen how viciously divided this nation has become. While Donald Trump’s outrageous rhetoric has seriously inflamed this state of affairs, others on all sides of the political spectrum have contributed to it.
   Many people have gotten to the point where they see almost anyone who doesn’t agree with them enough as a mortal enemy. Instead of calmly discussing issues, learning about (and from) one another, people often lash out. They frequently refuse to listen to the other side or even consider different points of view.
   Another trend contributing to this problem is how many people only surround themselves with others who agree with them and exclusively seek out information from sites that tell them what they want to hear.
   Thing is folks, this is not healthy, and it’s hurting our nation.
   Like it or not, this country is made up of people with a whole plethora of views, ideas, and outlooks. We are not going to agree on everything, yet we still have to live together. We need to find ways to talk and listen to each other. Learn from one another. Find ways to work together.
   I think most people in this country are sick of the vicious divide that has been tearing things apart. It’s time for change.
   We need to do better. We should be able to have healthy, rational, calm discussions with people who hold different views. We ought to be learning from one another and seeking out ways to work together. Frankly, people (whatever their political views) need to get out of their comfort zones and seek to open their minds. Get information from a variety of different sources and hear what others have to say. Try to find ways to educate, learn, listen, and work together.
   And yes, sometimes this will mean making some compromises, and I’m talking to everyone here. Liberal, conservative, in between, whomever you are.
   I truly hope that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris start bridging some of the serious divides plaguing our country and get people talking again. Strive to get some bipartisanship back in government.
   But they can’t do it alone. Let’s all start working at the process of healing this battered, divided nation.