They say love makes the world go round, but with more distractions and everyone getting busier and busier, are we loosing the ability to really connect to people and love with our whole hearts? I think so.

I read an article recently that warned that loneliness and social isolation have the risk of becoming a greater public health threat than obesity. However, we can interact with pretty much anyone, anywhere at any time; our world is more connected than it has ever been. How is loneliness even possible?

I thought about it some more and realised that personally I have felt quite lonely the past few years, even though I have a lot of great people and things in my life to keep me busy. So I can only imagine what life is like for someone who doesn’t have these things and how lonely they would feel.

So why is loneliness on the increase?

I believe it’s because of a lack of quality connections with others.

Many of us have war scars from life, where we have ‘loved and learned’ and it makes us very weary to let others in. A lot of us hold people at arm’s length so that we cannot be hurt by them and so that we don’t hurt them too. But the downside to doing that is that we feel like no one really understands us, we aren’t really close to anyone, and we feel lonely, unworthy, and unloved.

Most of us are living life a bit like a robot; do what needs to be done, keep your emotions stable and try not to let anyone upset you or anyone around you, and above all keep moving forward at all costs.

So what should we do if we are not feeling the love?

Here are a few things to think about.

1. Work out your love language.

If you haven’t read “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” by Gary Chapman, it’s a great read. It helps you identify how you show love to others, and also what you need to feel loved by others. You rate whether Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving of Gifts, Quality Time, or Physical Touch is most important to you to give love and receive love.

You could show your love through Acts of Service, but to feel loved you need Words of Affirmation. The problem that happens is that people around us feel love in a different way from us too. So, to feel loved, your partner may need to receive gifts, but you don’t show your love that way very often. But once you know your love language and that of those around you, you are better at giving and receiving love.

2. Work out what you want. It’s paper and pen time.

•• Write down the qualities you love about yourself that are important to you.
•• Write down the qualities you want the world to see in you. Are you showing them?
•• Write down the qualities you want from the people in your life.
•• Write down the things you want more of in life.
•• Write down some things you could do for your lover, children, family, friends, colleagues and community to show them that you love them. The more love we show others, often the more love we feel.
•• If you are up for it, you can also do the opposite to all of these questions too.

3. Take some time out.

It’s really hard to get clarity on your life when you are in it. Get some alone time so that you have time to reflect and have some honest conversations with yourself, even if it’s an hour to go for a walk.

4. Do an audit.

Take a look at your life and write down all of the things that make you feel less love. Less love for yourself, less love for others, and less love for the planet.

I stopped watching TV three years ago, limited my engagement with negative news, stopped doing things that made me feel less love for myself (eating crappy food, and not taking care of my body), and began trying my best to do better for the planet. Even cutting down by 10 per cent will make a difference to your life, like only hopping on social media between 8pm and 9pm once a day. Observe how things in your life make you feel.

5. Plan some connection time.

Everyone needs attention. But with less time, we give less of it to the people we love and not in the way that they want.

What gets planned has more chance of getting done than just going with the flow. Work out the top ten
people (or however many people you want to connect with) and plan them in.

•• Do a phone roster. Call parents every Saturday, call brother first Saturday of the month, call friend every Wednesday.

•• Have a socialising plan. Do lunch monthly with BFF, do dinner fortnightly with partner, plan a girls get together bi-monthly.

•• Have a weekend/holiday plan. Annual holiday with family, 3 weekends away, annual girls weekend, annual weekend to yourself. What does it look like? What do you want to do?

•• Work out some rituals. What are little things you can do daily to give love to yourself? Exercise, yoga, meditate, have a bath? Write on little pieces of paper all the things you do to give love to yourself, put them in a jar and pull one out at random every day if you need variety.

It’s very easy to be negative, cold and robotic in this world. So we need to get clarity, and focus on what is important to us and those around us, and make considered decisions that help us have more love in our life.

To give more love, and get more love, it starts with you. Only you can control the love in your life.
So please, love yourself as much as you can, and do things that light your fire and fuel it with all the things you need to keep burning. Only then can we can warm others, have them drawn to us and in turn, hopefully fuel the fire within them too.