What does that word conjure up for you? One definition has it as a “feeling of disconnectedness or isolation.” It doesn’t necessarily mean that we are physically alone. We can feel lonely in the middle of a crowd. I frequently feel lonely, despite living with family. What about you?
Loneliness is probably one of the most dangerous conditions of our time. The statistics on loneliness are alarming. I highly recommend reading The Facts on Loneliness as found on the Campaign to End Loneliness website. It might surprise you.
Part of the problem, I think, is that we have forgotten that human beings are pack animals. We were never designed to live individually, locked away in boxes, separate from one another. We were always designed to live in community. Yet individualism is rampant in our society. We are under the illusion that we have to go it alone, not need anyone else, move out of the family home as soon as possible, and we even mock those who in later years are still living with their parents, as if it is a sign of weakness. Yet the reality is, for the vast majority of people, they are likely to be happier living with others than all by themselves.
The pandemic hasn’t helped. So many were locked down in solitude. Think about it like this, solitary confinement within a prison is a punishment precisely because it plays havoc with your brain. Yet for so many during the last two years, they have been subjected to such a confinement and through no fault of their own.
There is also another kind of loneliness, and that is the feeling that we are different to everyone around us. I can relate to that. A common trait of being adopted seems to be the feeling that we are different, that we don’t quite fit in and belong. In my case, I have also found it hard being an intellectual without many other intellectuals in my life, a collector of information, a brainstormer of ideas. But I am also a contradiction. On the one hand, I love Disney and Harry Potter, and watching trashy TV shows, and on the other hand I love high brow debates, being part of a spiritual community, and mentally challenging literature. Where is my tribe in the midst of all of that? Oh, and I’m also an empath.
So in this day and age of increasing isolation and solitude, what do we do when we want to connect with others, when we yearn to feel part of something bigger than ourselves? How do we overcome the feelings of quiet desperation, the sense that we are alone?
One way I have tried to do this is by doing things I enjoy and hoping others will enjoy them too. This has worked for a while. For example, I spent four years being very active on the genealogy website, WikiTree. This was a fantastic community for me to join as it combined my love of genealogy with my desire to meet interesting and intelligent people from around the globe.
I have also participated in the gaming community, both on Steam and elsewhere. This too gave me the opportunity to meet people globally, and to share with them a mutual interest.
Perhaps the hardest time of day for me is at night, when the rest of the world seems to be sleeping. I am sure I am not the only one. I have decided to set up a Discord server for those who feel the same way. It is going to be a safe place in which people can simply come and hang out and talk about anything. There may only be one or two of us at first, but perhaps the word will spread and reach the other lonely people from around the world so that together we can become part of something bigger than ourselves, so that we can finally find our tribe.
Join me today in the Loneliness Hub and let’s start stamping out loneliness one person at a time.