In the wake of Valentine’s Day, it is important to remember the 49% of Americans who do not celebrate it and 46% who struggle with loneliness. The problem is so great that it has even been called a national epidemic.
To be clear, loneliness is different from living or simply being alone or desiring solitude. Loneliness is the experience of sadness and desperation which comes from not having intimate human connection. Loneliness can spring from isolation , being alone and not having friends but is also true that even married people or embers of large families or communities can be lonely and feel its pain.It is also important to understand the loneliness is not simply an unpleasant feeling. Loneliness can cause serious medical complications and is correlated with shortening life spans. Surprisingly, loneliness is a greater risk to longevity than smoking a half pack of cigarettes a day or being obese.
So, if you are in a lonely place, the first thing to remember is that it is not a terminal condition. Here are some tips to remember if you struggle with loneliness:
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it is a good time to look at the state of romance in America and how it has changed over the centuries. To do so is to recognize that relations between men and women have significantly changed due to the impact of the #MeToo movement. While the full impact of this consciousness-raising tidal wave is not fully known, it is clear that women (and hopefully men) are not going to tolerate the sexual abuse and extortion which, unfortunately, has been so prevalent in the past. While some men worry that romance has been ruined by those who have spoken the truth, I beg to differ. Most of us understand that offensive and exploitative behavior have no place in loving relationships. Likewise, there is no evidence that women’s increased awareness and caution has diminished their interest in romance or ruined the spirit of Valentine’s Day for men who know how to behave properly. Quite to the contrary, I suggest that this revolutionary movement has taken a major step in creating better, more equal and more intimate relationships between men and women than were possible in prior times.
Indeed, looking at Valentine’s Day as a symbol of cultural attitudes concerning love, it is obvious that our understanding of romance and the relations between men and women has evolved and progressed over time. Here is a brief review of how Valentine’s Day has changed over the centuries.
While communication is a complex topic, a key ingredient is empathic, non-anxious listening. But, putting our thoughts and emotions aside and being able to focus on another person is not easy. There are three common problems which get in the way of sensitive listening and create unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts between couples and among families, friends and workmates. Fortunately , these problems can be eliminated with some information and a little practice. Here are the basics:
This time of year is filled with year-in-review lists. Things like the best movies, the biggest news stories and the famous people who have died flood the media and internet.
Likewise, as we anticipate the beginning of the new year, people’s thoughts turn to new year’s resolutions and things they would like to change about themselves and improve on in the following year.
In this spirit I wish to recommend doing a psychological year-in-review. A PYIR is a time to look back and remember moments which have increased your understanding and have had a lasting impact on your outlook of life, that is the times which have helped you to make sense of the world and your place in it.
As the holidays approach, despite the celebrations, gift giving and merriment, many experience the pain of going through festive times in the wake of recent loss. Others are haunted by past memories of departed loved ones. Death, divorce, losing a job are just a few of the kinds of losses that seem more difficult at this time of year.
For those who are the friends and family of those who have suffered losses, the holidays can be tricky as well. Not knowing what to say or how to act often makes for awkward or uncomfortable encounters.
Here are some tips to help you and those your love better deal with grief and grieving .