Coping with Loneliness: Strategies for Overcoming
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I rarely get any idle time, given my schedule. On one such day when I was looking at trees outside the window, I thought that this is a good time to call up someone. I suddenly drew a blank and realized that it has been months since I called somebody to have a casual conversation, which is not related to business or solve an issue etc.
This incident made me think, that as a kid I had a large circle of friends and the people I could talk and relate to was huge. As time passed by, and I climbed up the corporate ladder, people with whom I could talk kept on diminishing to a point that I end up feeling very lonely at times. I’m sure that most of you at some stage of your life must have felt nostalgic about the times you had with your friends back in college where you could just pick up the phone and discuss almost anything. However, the older you grow, the more you focus on your career; you start losing touch with your old friends to whom you could confide in. Now is it a consequence of growth, is it a consequence of the materialistic chase that each one of us pursue, or is it just negligence on our part, is something that I gave deep thought to. Was I negligent or did I not do something that I should have done. Did I just not take out the time to keep the relationships alive and treasure friendships I had. Was I so obsessed with work and career or maybe loneliness is the curse of the times that we live in, where we are always connected and yet somehow it feels like the contrary is true.
I further dissected the matter and realized that this wasn’t the curse. I interact with so many people every day - customers, business partners and employees. Why was there a need to categorize them into the roles they belonged to? Was this the same that I was receiving back? This approach seemed to be the curse. At the end of the day, they are all amazing people and can make good, lifetime friends. Business happens, but that is incidental. It was only when I tuned my mind to focus on outputs and objectives rather from people, that I lost touch. This I think is one of the reasons that despite having so many people around, there are hardly any true connections. It’s like the famous adage, water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. A paradigm shift in perspective is needed to counter this, as perspective is where these issues stem from. The moment I can change my perspective, I think I won’t be so lonely. So I thought, that the moment I start sharing my worries and feelings with the person that I meet with trust as a base of the relationship and not distrust, it would make a huge difference.
I decided to try this approach and see whether it makes a difference to my feeling of being lonely at the top or not. I made this conscious effort of not looking at people as customers, intermediaries, employees and instead saw them as people whom I could trust. Even if I had a small issue, I could be candid with them. I saw a massive transformation in me and in the people around me. It then became a two-way communication where even they would come to me with their problems and talk to me about their personal matters. Suddenly from being lonely, I had immense number of friends. People with whom I was interacting since days or may be years, we had so much to talk to and so much to do. My mindset improved and so did the business. My outlook towards people and subsequently my life changed.
I feel that somewhere in between these materialistic goals we are losing touch with people around. It’s all a matter of trust and changing your perception towards them. The moment you open up, the entire world around you becomes a friendly place. Life is long and full of ups and downs, it’s the companionship of friends that makes this bumpy ride a happy one.
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About the author
Tapan Singhel is the MD & CEO of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited. This blog has been initiated by him so that he can directly interact with all the valuable customers and employees of this company.