There’s a wonderful video I’m sharing below. It’s basically about loneliness and how it affects us all.
Loneliness is a bodily function like hunger. Hunger makes you pay attention to your physical needs loneliness makes you pay attention to your social needs. Your body cares about your social needs.
Being together meant survival being alone meant death so it was crucial that you got along with others. For your ancestors, the most dangerous threat to survival was not being eaten by a lion but not getting the social vibe of your group and being excluded. To avoid that your body came up with social pain. This kind of pain is an evolutionary adaptation to rejection. A sort of early warning system to make sure you stop behavior that would isolate you. Your ancestors who experienced rejection as more painful were more likely to change their behavior when they got rejected and thus stayed in the tribe while those who did not get kicked out and most likely died. That’s why rejections hurt.
The loneliness epidemic we see today started in the late Renaissance. Western culture began to focus on individual intellectuals. This trend accelerated during the Industrial Revolution. People left their villages and fields to enter factories communities that had existed for hundreds of years began to dissolve while cities grew as our world rapidly.
Loneliness can become chronic. While humans feel pretty great about things like iPhones and spaceships our bodies and minds are fundamentally the same they were 50,000 years ago. We are still or biologically fine-tuned to being with each other. Studies have shown that the stress that comes from chronic loneliness is among the most unhealthy things we can experience as humans. It is twice as deadly as obesity and as deadly as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
Every one of us has a story about ourselves and if your story becomes that people exclude you others pick up on that and so the outside world can become the way you feel about it. The first thing you can do to escape it is to accept that loneliness is a totally normal feeling and nothing to be ashamed of. Literally, everybody feels lonely at some point in their life it’s a universal human experience. You can self examine what you focus your attention on and check if you are selectively concentrating on negative things. Was this interaction with a colleague ready negative or was it really neutral or even positive? What was the actual content of an interaction? What did the other person say?
We get what we need from each other and we need to build our artificial human world based on that.