In a world full of more than 7 billion people, where most of us are connected digitally to hundreds and virtually bump into thousands regularly, we are still increasingly lonely. We’re not convinced that anyone actually understands us or cares what we think or how we feel. But one positive about all those people being out there is that it’s quite likely that a lot of them feel like you do, share your values, or have faced what you face. You’re actually not alone. The trick is how to find the people to prove it.

Imagine living in a tiny village in medieval times. Everyone knows everyone else, and not many people ever have any experience of life outside the village.

Now imagine that for some reason you’re different. Maybe you were found as a baby and you’re actually from somewhere far away. Maybe you are the only one who wonders what it’s like out there and longs to travel and make something of yourself. Maybe you have some skill or trait that nobody understands – maybe a skin disorder that nowadays would be understood as harmless, but back then would be feared. Nobody else in your village understands you, and you have no idea if anyone else in the world will either. You’re probably just a freak, and you would probably believe it when others told you so. You’d feel completely alone.

Back to the present. Pretty much anything that you might have about you that’s different has a community associated with it. You have global awareness of different cultures and groups. You know that the chances of being the only person in the whole world that looks or feels or thinks like you are very slim. There are support groups for people of pretty much every background, ideology, psychological state, or whatever. So you always have people that you can identify with.

At the same time, I wonder if, when though that’s the case, the day to day feeling of being abnormal still weighs on us – and we still feel like we don’t belong and need to find people who understand us.

But there are people near to you, even if you don’t know them, that would help you if they knew how. You are not expected to do everything yourself, to somehow have it all under control. Anyone who judges you for not having it all in hand is covering up their own insecurity, and you can be sure that there are areas in their life that they don’t know what to do about either. Don’t worry about them, and don’t believe anyone who tells you that you are alone. Because you don’t have to be.

There are plenty of people who know that life is there to be shared, and who make it their purpose to help others. You could be one of them. Let someone else know that they are not alone. And in doing so, you will be helping not only them, but also yourself.