A modern epidemic.
"We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s." (Harvard Business Review)
What is Loneliness?
Loneliness is not being alone. It's not being isolated. It is a deep-rooted, painful feeling that I am disconnected from others, even though I am surrounded by many. Disconnected from others, and at the same time alienated from my Self.
Empty? Different? With no purpose? I don't even know how I became this person.
What keeps me away from talking and opening up to other people?
Why I let them touch me but not feel me?
I have so much to share: my passions, my dreams, my fears, my burdens, my worries.
I am well aware that if let them see the real me that they will love me.
And at the same time, I am utterly devastated with the idea that if I let them see that, they will get scared, they will leave me, they will reject me.
Loneliness is a vicious circle. Drawn into my lonely cave, I start seeing the ugly side of loneliness. I am in pain and that pain makes me more and more self-absorbed every day. Not only I cannot imagine myself in others' shoes, but also I start feeling less trusting and more suspicious towards others. What if I get hurt again? What if I get rejected?
And that is the paradox:
Loneliness is a state that pushes me to seek relationships in order to feel less lonely. At the same time, it can push me away from others in order to protect me from them.
I am in a self-protective mode.
Can loneliness kill?
They say, loneliness is like smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Sleep problems, high stress, low immune system, depression, high risk of heart disease.
In the end, my quality of life is changed in a way that it is difficult for me to find pleasure in small things. I cannot help not thinking of the vanity of relationships.
Eventually, my loneliness has become my only company; my friend and my enemy.
Loneliness can be temporary.
Loneliness can be temporary. It can be the aftermath of a transition, of an emotionally heavy period (a new job, a new place, a divorce or a breakup, a lost friendship). Every time that I think of what scares me most about my loneliness, I am given the opportunity to face this fear. I have to take the risk: to reach out to others and to create bridges. I have to decide how I want to live: with Fear or with Trust? Either one or the other. Because one excludes the other; one counteracts the other.
But at least, I know. I am not alone. You are not alone.
Let's defeat Loneliness.
The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness.
Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life's cruelest irony.
Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it's not because they enjoy solitude. It's because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them,
There is no loneliness like that of a failed marriage.
Love is something far more than desire for sexual intercourse; it is the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives.
The most terrible povery is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.
But even so, every now and then I would feel a violent stab of loneliness. The very water I drink, the very air I breathe, would feel like long, sharp needles. The pages of a book in my hands would take on the threatening metallic gleam of razor blades. I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was rushed at four o' clock in the morning.
Online communities are an expression of loneliness.
Keep in mind that to avoid loneliness, many people need both a social circle and an intimate attachment. Having just one of two still leave you feeling lonely.
The world is suffering from an epidemic of loneliness. If we cannot rebuild strong, authentic social connections, we will continue to splinter apart — in the workplace and in society. Instead of coming together to take on the great challenges before us, we will retreat to our corners, angry, sick, and alone.
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