Existential Psychology

Combating Loneliness in the Age of Covid

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Fighting the spread of Covid-19 has included a lot of forced isolation and with that isolation comes painful loneliness.

Loneliness is an oppressive state. It makes us feel helpless, powerless. We perceive it as something foisted upon us, something external over which we have no control.

It’s no wonder that many of us have little idea of how to overcome the state of loneliness since our own sense of personal efficacy is sapped by that very loneliness. Loneliness is a black cloud that makes it very hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What is the light? It’s coming to the realization that we have the power to reach out for more human connection, that we don’t need to wait for friends or family to reach out to us.

Human connection requires a first mover to reach out beyond him or herself, to reach across the existential divide and make contact. When we’re lonely not many people have been reaching across that divide, and so we might sit there sulking, wondering why nobody seems to care, when in actuality we’re engaging in the very same ‘non-caring’ behavior since we’re not reaching out either!

Here’s what to do today if you’ve been feeling lonely. Stop waiting for somebody to save you from those feelings and save yourself, and maybe somebody else too, by deciding to take your power back and become a first mover in human connection. Reach out to somebody you haven’t talked to in awhile. Schedule a video conferencing session. Send an email or text message. Check in.

You know, when we’re not feeling lonely we do the above almost effortlessly. We reach out to others, we try to make plans with friends and family, we act as first movers because we’re not in an oppressive loneliness state that saps our felt power to reach beyond ourselves. That power doesn’t suddenly disappear when you’re feeling lonely, but your loneliness tricks you into believing your power has disappeared.

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