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Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone. Paul Tillich
Last night I watched identical twins marry identical twins on TV. This was their dream, to all live in one house and have their twin-ship be understood and supported. The two women are both lawyers and the only time they say they understood loneliness was when they went to separate Law Schools.
Loneliness is a problem for many people, it makes us irritable, depressed, self-centered, and is associated with a 26% risk of premature mortality. In industrialized countries, one-third of people are affected by this condition, with one in 12 affected severely by it.
There are many types of loneliness caused by different situations.
We can be lonely because we’ve moved to a new city, country, job, or school.
We can be lonely because we don’t fit in. We don’t share the same faith, background, are socially awkward, or have different interests.
We can be lonely because we have no love interest in our life. We are single at the family wedding. We are newly divorced, separated, or widowed.
We may be lonely because we don’t have an animal in our life and without one we feel deep loneliness.
We may be surrounded by people who don’t have time for us. They are friendly “enough” for them, but not for us. We want a deeper connection. Maybe their life situation has changed and we wish it could be how it was when they had lots of time for us. Maybe our best friend just got married or had a baby and her life revolves around her new life, we feel stuck in the old one.
Sometimes we are hurt by those we trusted the most. A friend may have hurt us deeply. We have not replaced that friendship yet. Sometimes we never do.
We can feel lonely because our family has grown up and we miss the boisterousness that used to be our home as children go off to build their own life.
We are all born alone and die alone. The loneliness is definitely part of the journey of life. Jenova Chen
It is important to understand why we are lonely. If we can name it, we can change it. We go through stages in our life that when they are over, they are over. Sometimes parts of our life we didn’t know how we’d get through we miss when the busyness of that time is gone. Are we are adrift with time we don’t know what to do with?
Can we be in a relationship and still be lonely if we don’t spend time with each other and create intimacy? Do we need to make the effort to connect with people, our spouse, grown children, friends, groups of people with similar interests, or would a cat or dog fit into our life and mitigate a degree of loneliness?
Maybe having roommates is a better fit for some people than living on their own? It was for me. I’ve never lived on my own. I never even thought of getting an apartment on my own. I went for shared accommodation and I stayed with shared accommodation. I’ve even thought for widowed and single women that shared accommodation may be the answer in later years.
Is living in an apartment building or Condo’s more social than living in a single family home, alone?
Many people will say they are alone, but not lonely. Others will say they are lonely but not alone. This is an issue we will have to deal with for our self. It won’t be something others can do for us. We need to learn to make new friends, fit into groups, or find groups we fit into. We need to make the effort.
All the lonely people need to get together. The lonely hearts club should become a real thing. It takes courage to reach out to people. They may break our heart. If we don’t reach out we live lonely lives. We never know what could have been if we’d made the first move toward friendship, or love.
Is there someone we’d like to reach out to or get to know on a deeper level? What is holding us back? Are we lonely, or enjoying solitude?
Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. Mother Teresa
Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering. Dalai Lama