Loneliness is a killer! Literally; spiritually; emotionally.
Loneliness has little to do with how many people you are with but a great deal to do with who is with you and who are you when you are with them.
Some of the loneliest people I know are those who are also the busiest! They spend lots of time doing things, going to events, being at the centre of activity but they are lonely as hell! Their driver is often the insecurity of “What happened if I stop?” “Who will notice me?” “I’ll have to face up to my uncertainties” or perhaps “They’ll see the real me!” The saddest part is that the things they’re afraid of showing to others are the very things people see most clearly in the midst of the activity and busyness.
Others are lonely through no fault of their own. They spend time trying to make friends with others, but their efforts are not reciprocated: people are too happy to exist in their own little cliques and secure groups to allow anyone else in … or worse … they just are blind to those around them! I remember back in the late 1960s when we moved from a town to a village … the difficulty with being accepted as something other than an ‘East Winder’ i.e., someone who wasn’t born in the village was very difficult. Even when we got to know a few people there was a definite ‘us and them’ mentality. It seemed that nothing we could do would ever get over the barrier. We were in their hands … when/if they decided to let us in was their decision, and for some that decision was never made. We remained outside their camp until they died. So sad.
Others are in relationships that have gone cold and they feel trapped, unloved, unappreciated or simply forgotten.
What can we do for lonely people?
Perhaps the first thing is to keep our eyes open and see them. Another thing is spend time with people who are able to make time for others … you’d be amazed how quickly it can ‘rub off’ onto others. Another is to allow yourself to lower the barricades sufficiently for others to see that you are no different to them. Offer a supportive word, a helping hand, a cup of tea or coffee, some friendship or company, or even a bit of your time.
We all need friendships and relationships. They are the lifeblood of successful human interaction. Sometimes, just sometimes people are lonely because of us, not because of themselves. A shift in our thinking can make all the difference.