5 ways to help you feel connected and loved
Feeling lonely? I am too. Though we are the most interconnected generation of all time, we are the loneliest generation as well. We have hundreds, maybe thousands of ‘friends’ on social media, but rarely spend time with people one-on-one, eye-to-eye, really getting to KNOW each other.
We may text and comment on pictures, but rarely have a heartfelt, deep, face-to-face conversation. And when was the last time you HUGGED someone (besides your children)?
The pandemic made it worse! We were asked to STAY HOME and STAY APART.
After moving to Minnesota, I’d been feeling lonely. My loneliness was causing me to be on social media MORE, but that pseudo-connection left me feeling emptier and lonelier.
We now live in a world that makes it possible to live void of human contact. We can live a virtual life.
VIRTUAL connections are not a SOUL connections.
The same technology that promises to help us be more connected than ever is – in some ways – making people more disconnected that ever.
My loneliness caused me to spend the day in tears. I had left all my friends years ago, when we moved from the Chicago area to Colorado. Then I left all my new Colorado friends to pursue an adventure in Minnesota.
My husband saw me and listened to my sadness … then encouraged me to do a few things that he thought might help. (Husbands love to FIX things.) At first, I didn’t want him to FIX it … I just wanted to FEEL it. Then, I slowly acted on his suggestions and it really DID help! If you find yourself feeling lonely, these ideas might help you too:
- Reach out to old friends.
I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to catch up with people who know you and love you. Do it. Call an old friend today.
It’s important to choose a handful of friends that are “lifers” – friends that you want to stay connected with for life. Those are the friends you need to continue to check-in on and reach out to.
Call one (or five) old friends and tell them you are LONELY! Letting someone know how you feel invites them to encourage you, pray for you, check in on you and spend time with you.
I was feeling sad that very few friends had reached out to me, then I began to realize I had not reached out to anyone either. I have one friend who lost her father, another friend who just went through a divorce and another one who moved across the country. I had not reached out to ANY of them!
Wow! I was throwing myself a pity party, then realized I was not doing what I wanted others to do for me!
2. Reach out to new friends.
I had very few people in this new state that even knew my name. But the few who knew me, I contacted.
When you sow genuine seeds of friendship – love, encouragement, time and affirmation – you WILL reap a harvest of good friends.
One was my neighbor. We just sat on each other’s porches and talked, while our kids played. I invited the one other lady I knew out to dinner. It was refreshing to chat with other ladies and begin to build friendships.
3. Get outside.
Get OUT of your house! Take a walk; soak in the fresh air.
BONUS: PEOPLE are outside!
This might sound silly, but I intentionally went on walks and bike rides with my kids around my new neighborhood JUST to meet our neighbors and find potential friends.
My first good friend in Colorado was someone I met at the playground when our kids were playing together. So, get outside!
Since it’s winter in Minnesota and harder to be outside, I’ve found places to go INSIDE! The library, classes at the gym, my church and a Bible study.
I was actually writing this post from the cafe inside my local gym. As I’m typing, a lady from my church recognizes me and says hello. We talk for a few minutes and she asks me what I’m writing about. I was so embarrassed to answer honestly, but took a deep breath and said, “Loneliness.”
She then INVITES me to her house. This is exactly what I needed and would not have had happened if I’d stayed inside – wallowing in loneliness.
Movement creates opportunity!
Get out of your house. Smile. Be friendly. Stop and chat with people.
4. Start a Gratitude List
Start writing a list of things you are grateful for. I’m currently writing a list of 1,000 things for which I’m thankful based on the book One Thousand Gifts.
If you look for the good, you WILL find it!
When I began to focus on the things I DO have rather than what I don’t, my attitude began to change. My shift in perspective caused my heart to mend.
5. Connect with your Heavenly Father.
We are never really alone. Our Heavenly Father is always ready and willing to spend time with us, comfort us and heal our wounded hearts. It’s easy to forget that God is with us all day long – ready to listen and connect. He’s the one Friend that will never leave or disappoint us.
- “But I am always with you. You have held my hand” (Psalm 73:23 ICB).
- “You can be sure that I will be with you always” (Matthew 28:20 ERV).
- “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18 NIV).
- “So don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you. I will support you with my right hand that saves you” (Isaiah 41:10 NCV).
The closer we get to God, the fuller our hearts will be and the less lonely we will feel. However, it’s okay to ask Him to provide us with strong friendships! He’s the one who said, “It’s not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18 NIV)!
Kathryn Egly is a wife, mom, and author. Residing in the beautiful state of Minnesota, she is a part-time teacher, and full-time referee to her four busy boys. When she’s not mediating epic battles over the last cookie, you can find her fueling up on her two secret weapons: coffee and Jesus. Kathryn’s faith, love for others, and her unwavering commitment to her family inspire her writing. With a touch of humor and a whole lot of heart, she shares her experiences through the written word, aiming to connect, uplift, and remind us all that we’re not alone in this wild ride called life. kathrynegly.com
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