Our culture and loneliness. Are you part of the issue?

Have you ever been in a room full of people and still felt alone? 

Have you ever sat in a meeting or conference room and felt like you were out of place? 

Would it surprise you to know that the person standing across from you on the commuter train feels just as lonely as you do? 

I write often about connection and how it is something each of us as human beings needs but often don’t know it’s what we are missing. Even coaching clients don’t realize it’s what they are searching for, craving in their lives, desperate to find.  It surfaces in statements such as:

I need/want a girlfriend/boyfriend.

I’m new in town and I can’t seem to make any friends. 

I’m in a new job and I can’t seem to fit in. 

I’m recently divorced and I just feel so alone now. 

I’ve recently started on anti depressants, I just can’t seem to shake this sadness. 

My son/daughter recently left home, it’s so quiet now. 

Whatever it looks like, however you word it, the bottom line that I see in all of these statements is that connection,  the need to fit in, to be needed, to be loved, to be desired is key to many of them and key to all human beings survival. 

Researcher Brene Brown says in her book, Daring Greatly, “ Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect to others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering. “ See quotes above for further evidence. 

I’ve recently finished reading Johann Hari’s book Lost Connections, book review forthcoming, and though I did not readily accept everything he is professing in his book I did find some tremendous value in much of it. 

He speaks about our first world society and how we have broken apart from one another as we live in cities and online, separating ourselves more and more from real life, face to face relationships. We move blindly through our days, our eyes and ears elsewhere  from where we presently find ourselves.  To sooth ourselves we disconnect, by plugging into our phones for music or videos, by watching our TV’s, by surfing the net on our own, by shopping, drinking or drugs., or simply even by just staying at home.  We have sadly, no sense of belonging, no sense of being a part of a community. 

I have worked with several clients from the same European country, a country where their culture was strong on community. All of them have left their home country and made their way to North America, to greater success and opportunities. 

One of the things that I am observing, and sharing with them as they share their stories of growing up back home, is that they have moved to a culture that values independence and individualism and away from a culture that offered them community. 

Think about it. 

If you were North American, or any first world country born and raised, you have been taught to stand on your own two feet, take care of yourself, don’t rely on anyone but yourself, others will only let you down. You don’t want to be a burden to someone else. 

We are far removed from our families and the people we grew up with, we are not a part of a community.  We are alone in our culture. 

When I point this out to those European clients they agree, yes that aspect of the culture is very different here.  In their quest for our “better way of life and more opportunities” they have lost their sense of feeling connected and of being a part of a community. They have lost their sense of belonging. 

This is disappointing as it was not talked about in the  “moving to North America brochure.” 

It was only during a conversation recently with one of my clients that an idea came to me as we were speaking. 

Is this reason, this disconnection we are all feeling in the world, the reason that coaching came to be? Is this the reason so many are reaching out to create a coaching relationship? Sure many have goals that they want to achieve and they want someone to hold them accountable while they work towards that. But with my clients, and perhaps it’s because my niche is communication, I am hearing in many, the need for connection.   

And it’s not just me observing this.

From Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly about how connecting is what we are hardwired for, to couples therapist Esther Perel’s mantra, “ The quality of your life depends on the quality of your relationships. “ to Johann Hari’s book, “Lost Connections”.  We are in a crisis of not being in connection with others in our lives to the point where our hearts and souls are in a state of stress; empty, lost and hungry. 

If through coaching I am able to make that connection with another human being then my bucket is filled. It is the special something that I bring to my clients when I coach, my ability to connect with them and it is my hopes that through our time together I can help them find ways to bring it into their own lives. 

Coaching may very well have developed for this very need, if that is true then it is both sad but hopeful at the same time. 

Regardless of the reason, seeking connection is a path many people are on at this moment in their lives. 

 If you have it in your life then you have worked hard to create a good life for yourself and you are reaping the rewards.  

But if it is missing, if there is a hole in your bucket that you seem to be unable to plug, then it may not be a better job you need, a bigger bank account or a new car, it may be an intrinsic thing that is missing, 

the feeling of being connected in your life, 

of mattering to someone else, 

the feeling of being alive. 

By focusing on those inner things in a coaching relationship it is my belief that my clients will make better, stronger and even more connections in their lives.  By focusing on life skills such as real listening, curiosity, compassion, better communication skills and self confidence we begin to build the bridge that allows us to connect with others. 

If this is missing in your life join me, I'm on a mission to help others create connection in their world, one person at a time. 




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