Are We Confusing Loneliness For Independence?

Are We Confusing Loneliness For Independence?

Loneliness has been officially declared a global epidemic of major urgency by the World Health Organization (WHO). Many of us might be confusing it with independence without realizing how much it’s affecting our everyday lives.



  • In 2023, the WHO declared loneliness a “pressing global health threat.”
  • The US surgeon general has stated that loneliness can be as damaging to one’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic elevated the index of loneliness worldwide by limiting social interaction.
  • Loneliness can be even riskier than obesity and excessive drinking, increasing the chances of developing dementia by 50%, coronary artery disease or stroke by 30%, and risk of early death by 25%.
  • One in every four adults experiences symptoms of social isolation.


    Misinterpreting Loneliness as Independence

    It can be easy to misinterpret the symptoms of loneliness and confuse them with being an independent individual. Independence does not exclude the craving for companionship. You can be an independent person and still yearn for human connection. Loneliness, on the other hand, involves more than just wanting to spend time with someone. It encompasses several distressing emotions and can have significant health consequences.


    The Difference Between Loneliness and Independence

    Independence itself can sometimes be lonely, but that doesn’t mean you are experiencing loneliness at its core. Loneliness comes with a combination of distressing emotions and consequences that directly impact your overall health. It’s essential to distinguish between the two to address the underlying issues effectively.


    Global Efforts to Combat Loneliness

    In response to this growing issue, the WHO launched the Commission on Social Connection in 2023. Led by the US surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the commission aims to build a global agenda to address and mitigate the impacts of social isolation on mental and physical health. The proposal involves collaboration with high-level commissioners to develop social connection strategies, national policies, and psychological interventions to provide measurable solutions.


    Are We Lonely or Independent? Strategies to Overcome Loneliness

    As the WHO states, “social connection is a force for health, well-being, and economic good.” At The Skin Deep, we are dedicated to fostering deeper, healthy, and meaningful connections with those around us. Here are some strategies to help overcome loneliness:

     1. Recognize the Signs

    Understand the difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Recognizing the signs of loneliness can help you address the issue sooner. Some of the symptoms of loneliness can look like the following:

    1. Avoiding social interaction most of the time.
    2. Feeling distressed when alone.
    3. Increased buying sprees.
    4. Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.
    5. Negative feelings of self-worth.
    6. Difficulty connecting with other people.
    7. Feeling extremely sad, lonely, tired or depressed.
    8. Spending large amounts of time alone.

    *Note: Experiencing these symptoms does not necessarily mean you’re experiencing loneliness; these are just a few examples of potential indicators.

     2. Reach Out to Others

    Make an effort to connect with friends, family, or colleagues. Sometimes, a simple conversation can make a significant difference.

     3. Engage in Community Activities

    Participating in community events or volunteering can provide a sense of belonging and purpose, helping to alleviate feelings of loneliness.

     4. Utilize Technology

    While technology can sometimes contribute to feelings of isolation, it can also be a valuable tool for maintaining connections. Use social media, video calls, and messaging apps to stay in touch with loved ones.

     5. Seek Professional Help

    If feelings of loneliness persist, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and support to help you navigate through challenging times.


    Fostering Connection Through Deep Conversations

    Deep conversations can also be a powerful tool in combating loneliness and fostering meaningful connections. Here’s how engaging in more profound, heartfelt dialogues can help:

     1. Building Trust and Understanding

    Deep conversations allow individuals to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences on a more intimate level. This sharing builds trust and understanding, creating a stronger bond between people. When we feel understood and accepted, it reduces feelings of isolation.

     2. Enhancing Emotional Support

    Engaging in meaningful conversations provides emotional support. Talking about our worries, fears, and dreams helps us feel less alone in our struggles. It also allows others to offer comfort, advice, or simply a listening ear, which can be incredibly reassuring.

     3. Promoting Empathy and Compassion

    When we engage in deep conversations, we practice empathy and compassion. Understanding another person’s perspective and emotions fosters a sense of connectedness and reduces the feeling of being misunderstood or alone.

     4. Strengthening Relationships

    Deep conversations can strengthen relationships by allowing individuals to connect on a deeper level. This stronger connection can lead to more fulfilling and supportive relationships, which are essential in combating loneliness.

     5. Encouraging Self-Reflection and Growth

    Deep conversations often involve reflecting on personal experiences and emotions. This self-reflection can lead to personal growth and a better understanding of oneself, which can improve one’s overall mental health and reduce feelings of loneliness.

     6. Creating a Sense of Belonging

    When people engage in deep, meaningful conversations, they often feel a sense of belonging. Knowing that someone cares about your thoughts and feelings and is willing to engage in meaningful dialogue can create a strong sense of community and connectedness.



    Understanding the difference between loneliness and independence is crucial in addressing this global epidemic. By recognizing the signs, reaching out to others, and utilizing available resources, we can work towards overcoming loneliness and fostering meaningful connections.


    How The Skin Deep Can Help

    At The Skin Deep, we believe in the power of deep, meaningful conversations. Our projects, such as {THE AND} documentary series, {THE AND} Conversation Card Games, Honest X, Senior Orientation, The Window and The Dig, are designed to encourage and facilitate these connections. By providing tools and platforms for people to engage in heartfelt dialogues, we aim to help individuals build stronger, more meaningful relationships, thereby reducing loneliness and fostering a sense of community. Let us recognize and harness the incredible #PowerOfConnection by having meaningful conversations. Experience deeper connection with {THE AND} Relationship Card Games.


    To learn more about the Commission on Social Connection visit

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