Loneliness is excruciating. Agonizing. Tortuous.
It would have to be one of the leading stimulants of depression, anxiety and a great number of other mental health struggles.
What is it about loneliness that is so painful? Why is it so hard to live with? Why is the burden of emotional isolation so crushing? And why is it that the more ‘connected’ we become with ‘friends’ on social media – or even in real life at times – the more solitary we feel?
For so many people today, isolation is the new norm. Our reservoirs of trust in the goodness of humanity are at an all-time low… and we feel the need to push people away to protect ourselves. We have exposed ourselves emotionally so many times… and been hurt beyond what words can describe.
Loneliness is rampant. On every hand, individuals are struggling to come to terms with feeling ignored, unappreciated, overlooked, despised and forgotten about.
We crave connection… we yearn affection… and we long for a warm cuddle with someone special. We just want to hear someone say ‘I love you!’ with all the sincerity they can muster.
Maybe there are many people in your life you can point to with assurance and say ‘I know for sure that they appreciate me and love me’. Perhaps you have a loving family… beautiful friends… and a loyal partner?
You are slowly dying of loneliness. Your heart is atrophying and wasting away. In spite of your assets, your accomplishments, your house, your connections or any other material possession great or small, you feel that your life is losing meaning. Your energy is ebbing away.
‘Is life worth living?’ you ask yourself.
‘How much longer can I endure this torment and unrest before it finally overwhelms me completely?’ you muse negatively.
‘If only there was medication I could take to cure my great loneliness’ you ponder desperately.
The hollow emptiness that prevails in your life drives you to distraction.
Wait, did someone say distraction?
Oh, yes… that’s right. In our efforts to mitigate and appease the pain of loneliness, our minds turn to distractions to run from the anguish, to numb the distressing pangs of misery, to muffle the dull heavy thudding of an empty heart and to assuage the distressing ache of unrequited love.
Distractions. What do they do for us? What do they look like in real life?
Trashy reality TV… and binging on tacky TV shows for hours on end. Incessantly checking alerts on your phone. Days of morbid inactivity spent gaming online. Compulsively ingesting alcohol and drugs to dull your sensibilities. Scouring dating websites in an effort to find the love of your life. Consuming a vitriolic and turgid torrent of porn. Chronic internet browsing and lazy YouTube surfing. Clicking an endless tide of links directing you to life changing articles on the ‘5 cool tricks to be a millionaire by 30’ and ‘3 easy strategies to guarantee success in your life’, or ‘Take this pill and lose 20 pounds in 20 days’ blah, blah, blah…
So what is the solution? What is the alternative to turning to distractions? Are we doomed to live a life of desolate solitude?
The greatest antidote to loneliness is love and everything that stems from love: affection, kindness, happiness, compassion, peace, joy and patience. Any and every positive emotion, feeling and experience ultimately comes from love.
Think of your heart like a sponge. It is the body’s natural organ for dispensing and absorbing love. It gives us the means to foster and maintain a healthy buffer of ardour and passion which helps to avert us from being overwhelmed with the negativity all around.
What happens to a wet sponge in the process of time? Moisture evaporates and it dries out. Thus it is with the heart. We cannot let our hearts and affections lie dormant and hope that they will remain infused and brimming with love and energy. We must keep them constantly exposed to the gushing brook of good deeds, to the healing balm of pure motives and to the gentle dew of kind thoughts.
Now imagine our heart ‘sponge’ is dry, and we turn to distractions to alleviate the loneliness. Before very long our hearts are palpitating with a thick gunge of negativity and lethargy and we feel even worse than before.
Or, instead of distractions, our mind ruminates furiously with musings of envy, bitterness, anxiety, animosity, prejudice, victimisation and self-pity. These thoughts have the same toxic effect on our hearts and leave us feeling emotionally destitute.
So… love. How do we get more of it? How do we keep our heart pulsing with the purity of true love?
Well, ‘love’ is a noun. But, wait… isn’t ‘love’ also a verb?! Yes! A doing word, a word involving movement, activity and action!
Love in operation is the surest way to ensure that we can consistently enjoy its healing and comforting balm in our lives. Love in operation means that we do loving things for others and think loving thoughts about others and say loving things where appropriate.
This, by necessity, includes a healthy love for ourselves. Which parts of our unique individuality can we look at with fond appreciation and affection? If you can find nothing then develop something within yourself that you can truly fall in love with. Achieve something, abstain from something or take action to get out of your vicious tailspin of failure and procrastination. Just do something that you can be proud of!
Something truly magnificent to consider is that love is its own motive!
Love negates selfishness, it dispels fears and calms troubled minds, it brings peace to the soul and overlays the path of life with happiness and joy; it inscribes a silver lining around clouds of disappointment and defeat and fills the lonely heart with comfort and contentment; it brings perspective to shattered dreams, healing to broken hearts and wisdom to the one confronted with exhausting unanswered questions.
May you, my friend, find true love in your life… and find that there is enough love to fill your heart to overflowing. May you see that love can be found and enjoyed in a greater way than you ever thought possible. True love never fails.
Cody has studied psychology and self-help strategies for many years and is very passionate about helping others to fulfill their potential and live happier lives. You can read more articles from Cody on his blog – www.quantumcoaching.nz/