The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved
~ Mother Teresa
Man is a social animal. We, human beings, live in a social, civilized society. In today’s fast moving world, when the world is a so-called global village and technology is said to have brought things and people closer, number of people feeling lonely has increased by legions.
We all feel lonely at one moment or the other, though the type of loneliness and the intensity differs. Sometimes we feel lonely for a few minutes or few hours when our friends or family members are not around us while at other time, this solitude grasps up for months or maybe years.
I have had several bouts of loneliness that sometimes culminated into Atypical Depression. Last time I felt lonely was when I delivered my baby and my hubby had to fly to S’pore. On 7th she was born and on 12th, he flew. At home I was always surrounded by my loving family and well wishers and my hubby kept calling me every 2 hrs.. but still only I know how lonely I felt. I was not alone but lonely! And the only reason was that the person whose presence I sought was not there.
Though this loneliness spell of about 12 days has made me realize how much I need him in my life, physically and morally and socially too; but spending hat time was difficult.. Nevertheless, I am happy that after every phase of such short loneliness, I come out stronger with few lessons learnt. And consequently, I am not afraid of being lonely because I know even if I feel lonely again, I would certainly gain something from it.
But not many people treat loneliness as a mere phase of time. Slowly and steadily, loneliness becomes a way of life for them. A lonely individual then forms a group of loners and thus the loneliness spreads. Research conducted at the University of Chicago also states that loneliness like bad cold, can spread among group of people. Research also shows that as people become lonely, they become less trustful of others, and a cycle develops that makes it harder for them to make friendships. The same research also reveals that loneliness undermines health by altering people’s cardiac function and disrupting their sleep as lonely people perceive world to be threatening and their orientation to others reduces positive feedback and emotional support.
The same study has studied the various causes of loneliness and concludes that loneliness is characterized by three conditions:
Isolation (such as absence or distance from a romantic partner)
Feelings of being connected (not having close friends)
Feelings of not belonging (not identifying with or not being accepted by valued social groups)
Loneliness can be devastating irrespective of its cause but its not that it cant be dealt with or got rid of. We can easily deal with loneliness with just a bit of preparedness and attitude.
Having a hobby helps in keeping loneliness at bay. Develop interests in something creative – be it reading books, writing, traveling, swimming, gardening, playing a game or learning a new art. Creative activities not only keep us engaged but also give us a sense of accomplishment.
If you are feeling lonely at any time, just remember that you can never be alone as your ‘self’ is always with you. If you have a relationship with your inner self, then you always have that company with you. You can best utilize these precious moments with your conscious and have a quality time with just yourself. You can have moments of immense rejoice by recollecting the most beautiful memories of your life or do a deep introspection into your past and learn lessons for the future. When you are lonely, you can run a test of true friends. Wait for the real friends who still knock at your doors when you slammed them hard! Your true companions can be discovered only when you feel abject and disconnected.
Loneliness gives us an opportunity to discover ourselves and our foes and friends. It lets us be with our soul and allows us to develop a new perspective. Now, its up to our attitude to either construct a positive view or to spread loneliness around.