You Are Not Alone!

You Are Not Alone!

Did you realize that loneliness is at epidemic proportions? (https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/modern-mentality/201807/what-you-need-know-about-the-loneliness-epidemic). Why is this so? In a society infused with social media where people have hundreds of ‘friends’ and Instagram followers people are more lonely than ever. Is this an individual problem or a social problem? Slater tells us that we inadvertently are pursuing loneliness in the way we seek connection. The Pursuit of Loneliness, p. 11 The Great Illusion. Slater suggests our culture is at “breaking point”.

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I sat the other day with a manager on a building and construction site who told me he was deeply lonely. He had no satisfaction in his work. He was too busy to see his children and tears came to his eye when he told me his marriage was fragile. I was there to listen for a coaching session about management and here I was listening to a manager trapped in loneliness.

Many times we seek comfort in things that don’t provide fulfillment; alcohol, ‘shits and giggles’, social media friends, work meetings and online activities. However, deep down the loneliness epidemic is something people suffer in silence.

A Lifeline survey found from over 3100 respondents that:

  1. 60% of respondents said they ‘often feel lonely’
  2. 71.51% of respondents had never called Lifeline or a similar service (27.97% said they had)
  3. The top three living arrangements of those surveyed were: 21.55% – lived with spouse or partner; 21.13% – lived with only a spouse or partner; 19.58% – lived alone
  4. 53.38% said they have someone to confide in when they feel lonely (33.65% felt they did not, 12.97% were unsure / didn’t know)

  5. 82.50% said that the feeling of loneliness is increasing in society. Of these, 44.14% were currently living with a spouse.

  6. The question of ‘Do you feel more lonely when you use social media’ was inconclusive (31.46% said yes, 29.58% said no (the remainder was a mix between ‘other’ and ‘unsure’)

Most of the time people think they are alone and yet are looking in the wrong place for resilience. Many people associate resilience with individual strength. Resilience is often portrayed as an individual problem. It is often framed as the ability of the individual to ‘bounce back’. Social resilience is none of these things. In many cases people are led to look in the wrong place when seeking resilience.

Often organisations have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) that sound good but are hardly ever used. The data shows that EAP services are virtually unknown and unused. (https://www.smh.com.au/business/small-business/employee-assistance-programs-endangered-service-20180315-p4z4jw.html). This strategy is quite often the only strategy available.

The truth is if we looked in the right place for social resilience we could find it. Instead we are often told to look within ourselves for solutions to depression, anxiety, stress and for coping strategies. The resilience shows that organisations that project resilience onto individuals don’t do enough for employees and workers in social support structures. Social structures are not about ‘Fitbits’, fruit on the table, social clubs and birthday cake morning teas. Social resilience requires a whole new disposition towards understanding organisations and work. Our language needs to be more about social resilience rather than individual resilience. This is captured in the Ubuntu philosophy as “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_philosophy).

Van Dijck in his book The Culture of Connectivity tells us that we will not find connectivity in social media but in social reality.

GABRIELLE CARLTON

M | 0407 220 094

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Gabrielle Carlton

Gabrielle Carlton

Director & Principal Consultant at Resylience
Gabrielle Carlton

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Gabrielle Carlton
Gabrielle Carlton is a specialist in human factors in risk and safety. Gabrielle provides training, advice, coaching and mentoring for leaders and managers. Gabrielle has well over 10 years experience as an advisor and consultant to industry as well as a strong personal background across a range of industries including: electrical generation & distribution, aged and disability in large residential facilities, construction, property management, rail, manufacturing, government bodies and corporations. Gabrielle is able to use her expertise in analysis, training, organisation psychology, research, systems auditing and human behaviour to serve a wide range of needs. She has conducted a Probability Risk Analysis (PRA) using Resylience's methodology Culture and Organisation Modelling in Risk (COMIR). This work was conducted with National power generation companies. Gabrielle has developed and delivered a range of risk and safety leadership consultancies to Tier 1 organisations in Australia.

4 Replies to “You Are Not Alone!”

  1. Good one GabStar. Not at all surprising that we both shared blogs at a similar time with similar themes after spending much time reflecting together over the past few weeks. I’m grateful that I’m able to share reflections and sensemake with such a dear friend, which is a great example of us ‘living’ and ‘resyliencing’ together. Thanks for sharing the references and your experiences in this article. I’m fortunate not to feel lonely when I have a friend like you to share and ‘live’ with. Samsy

  2. Yes Samsy no surprise at all however interesting almost at the same time! The reflection is the key when we sit in ‘meeting’ and reflect on what we have or could have not look externally outside ourselves for platitudes and ‘things’! Thanks mate.

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