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I’ve had this on my heart to write for quite some time. Although I write with extreme vulnerability about a variety of struggles, this one seems to penetrate a little more deeply than other issues. It feels too personal, too weak. When we feel lonely, we blame ourselves, like it is a personal flaw that needs corrected. There are several reasons why people battle with feelings of isolation.
More Than One Way to be Lonely
Feelings of loneliness blanket us when feel we are on our own in any aspect of life. When the desire to be present and connect with others is wanted but we are not able to attain it. There is a physical sense of loneliness that is not being in the present company of others. Then there is the internal sense of loneliness, in which we may be in a room surrounded by people but still feel isolated due to lack of connection.
Times Have Changed
Isolation is an epidemic. An epidemic that grows more rampant despite this age of “social” media. We aren’t connecting like we used to. Decades ago, before we had technology at our fingertips, people spent more time with each other. Talking, sharing, and partaking in life together. There was more of a support system. Families helped raise each other’s children, and neighbors felt like family and could be depended on. Now we are in an age of isolation.
Empathy Goes a Long Way
There’s a Mother Teresa quote that has always impacted me “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” This is coming from a lady that witnessed starvation, disease, and poverty daily. She talks about how we can cure physical disease with medicine but the only cure for loneliness and despair is with love. Reading this always sends a deep sadness through my core. Thinking about all the people in the world that have no one, that feels nobody cares or can help them, all along we have the simplest solution. Offering yourself, your time, and your concern could change the outcome of someone’s life.
Loneliness is Bad for Our Health
Feelings of lonesomeness and isolation over a long period of time have been proven to be detrimental to our health. Numerous studies have pointed out that it can lead to Alzheimer’s. I believe those studies because I watched firsthand what solitude did to my grandmother. Being widowed before she even turned 50 years old and not possessing a driver’s license, left my grandma in seclusion for many years. In her 70’s she began suffering from Dementia. Spending summers at my grandma’s house during my childhood, I could partake in what daily life was like for her, living on her own without transportation.
I often think about all those years my grandmother endured complete isolation from sunup to sundown and it is unbearable. Yet, she maneuvered throughout her day keeping her own agenda trying to stay busy, not focusing on the company or social events she was lacking. She would clean, talk on the phone, write letters, read, watch tv, do crosswords, and walk to the library and places nearby. Most of her days were anticlimactic. Every day was nearly the same for the most part while the world was busy and family members worked and lived far away at times.
When we are alone a lot, it leaves a lot of time to spend in our heads. Thinking, ruminating, and spiraling into a negative realm, this makes some turn to drastic measures to fill the void. Not only can loneliness be a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s, but also a segue to dependency use and suicide. Lonely people want to know they are cared about and that they matter, but it is not an easy fix.
Inability to Relate to Each Other
When we have people physically in our life but still feel alone, then we are not connecting. This can occur for several reasons. Lack of common interests, a difference of opinions, morals, and lifestyles drive a wedge between people. The inability to relate to each other on a deeper more sincere level leaves us feeling secluded and misunderstood. Sometimes relationships are toxic.
And a toxic relationship is not worth maintaining to try to avoid loneliness. The thing is… any company is NOT better than no company. Nor is trying to run yourself ragged staying busy to avoid feeling alone.
Moms are Lonely
Loneliness, I’ve found is inevitable as a stay-at-home-mom. I’ve spent loads of time at home while my husband is gone providing. Night shift, day shift, a newborn, family, and friends working, there’s a lot of reasons stay at home moms deal with loneliness. In my case, it is in the physical absence of people but also in the internal sense. There have been many times in my life where I may be surrounded by people but also feel a loss of connection.
Friends, I may not have all the answers and solutions to cure loneliness. But I want to tell you that it is not just you. We are united in solitude. Although, you may look around and see no one, and on the days when your phone doesn’t make a peep, someone else is living those moments with you. When you are up alone in the dead of the night nursing a baby, rest assured there are thousands of mothers across the world doing the same thing.
Times when you haven’t laid eyes on anyone in days, there are people in the world living the same way. The bad health diagnosis, divorce, addiction, overwhelmed with motherhood, being widowed, rejection, being estranged from your family, feeling misunderstood, living miles away from familiar faces, are some of the ways that people feel isolated. Rest assured YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
We are all just searching for ways to feel connected. Nobody likes feeling vulnerable and being lonely makes us feel that way. Letting others know that we feel lonely subjects us to the potential of being rejected.
So, in turn, sometimes we convince ourselves it is just easier to suffer in silence and solitude. But this is not the right way. We were created for connection. We were created for community and to help each other. And let’s not ever forget that there is one that knows exactly what loneliness feels like. Not only did Jesus experience the loneliness so many of us have felt while he was among us, but He also feels what we feel right now.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4-6 NLT