You need someone on your side. You need somebody who you can talk to, somebody you can lean on, and somebody who you can connect with at all times.
As people, we learn so much just from those who we are closest to. This is why it’s so important to surround yourself with as many individuals who bring out the best in you as you possibly can.
I have been blessed in the fact that good people are all my life’s filled with. From my family to my closest friends, there isn’t one bad soul in that mixture.
Unfortunately, these relationships tend to be some that many of us take for granted.
It may come as a bit of a shock, but according to a national survey, 25% of people don’t have a single close friend. 25% of people don’t have someone who they can turn to when life gets challenging or someone they can lean on when they need to be picked up.
How scary is that?
Despite the amazing relationships I have been blessed enough to have, I can relate to that all too well.
It wasn’t that I was unpopular or anything, I just wasn’t popular for any of the right reasons. I was the person who tried desperately to fit in. I was the person who would do anything and everything for a little extra attention. I was the person who needed to be accepted by others in order to feel good about themselves.
But I never allowed anybody to see the real me. Nobody had any idea of the pain I constantly felt on the inside, the negative thoughts I would constantly repeat to myself, or the destruction that I was doing to my body. I was like a magician and hid it all too well.
When I was graduating high school and making the transition to college my loneliness hit me like a ton of bricks. Made of pure and utter shit!
Why Are Relationships Important To Have?
As much as I loved by my friends and closest family back home, college was a rude awakening for me. People were smart and they saw right past the fake image I was portraying. At the end of the day, college became one of the worst experiences of my life. I was lonely, miserable, and severely depressed.
If I tried to share my deepest feelings with anyone, I just felt like I was going to be judged. I never had that relationship to lean on during the first few years of college. I never had somebody who I could talk to or relate to. Because of that, I just kept to myself and allowed the monstrous thoughts inside of me to grow in size and strength.
Without the emotional intimacy, everything felt all too shallow.
I can’t express how painful this experience was. I knew my parents loved me. I knew I had a select few friends who were always there for me and wanted the best for me. But without a peer around me who could relate to what I was going through, I felt like I had been stranded in a desert.
The years following college were just as hard. After packing up and making a cross-country move, I really felt distant from any friendship. I had my family, but nobody who was of my age and was going through the same transition that I was.
I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life as a recent college graduate, and I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. I felt the same way I had at the beginning of my college experience; lonely, miserable, and severely depressed.
When it comes to relationships, there are really 5 main categories. Your family, a true friend, a soul partner, someone to mentor you, and a community that you feel comfortable in. At best, I had one of them.
During my first few years of college, I had none. No friends, no relationship life, no mentors, a very unfamiliar community, and my family was 3+ hours away.
After the cross-country move, I had one of these – my family. I had no friendships, no relationships, no mentor, and again, a completely new and unfamiliar community.
What would have happened to me if I didn’t have my family there after the cross-country move? Well, I can tell you that I wouldn’t be alive today. Without these types of relationships, I probably would have called it quits. As upfront and depressing as that may sound, it’s the truth. That’s how bad of a space I was in mentally.
How I Fought My Way Through Loneliness
The important thing to understand about loneliness is that it’s all subjective. People think I’m still lonely today just because I don’t do as much or have as many relationships as others.
That’s just not the case.
Sure, I tend to be more introverted than most, but I have at least 4 of the 5 relationship categories very much present in my life at all times. I may not have hundreds or thousands of friends, but I have more than enough to thrive in life, and more than enough that I consider to be extremely close.
It’s not how many people you can call your “friends” or how popular you aspire to be someday, it’s about whether those people can really see you and whether they will always be there to support you.
Relationships, friendships, communities all mean nothing if you still feel out of place or like you can’t be yourself in them. What good are any of these if they don’t bring out the best in you and help you to become the best that you can be?
You don’t need 10 “best friends” in order to be happy. You don’t need every single person in your community to support and approve everything that you’re doing in life. You just need a select few that you can count on to always be there for you no matter what.
Oddly enough, the more people we try to connect to, the less we truly connect to anybody in an intimate and meaningful way.
What’s The Next Best Thing You Can Do?
If you are struggling with loneliness and don’t feel as though you have anybody in your life with whom you can truly connect to, try to narrow your focus. Focus on building relationships with those who are frequently around you. Ask questions, get to know them, be open about your life, and be willing to be vulnerable.
We are the sum of the 5 people we spend the most time around. Pick the 5 people who you admire the most and spend as much time with them as you possibly can. Lean on them, get to know them, and choose them to be your allies as you walk this amazing gift that is life.