“So this is how it feels to be lonely, this is how it feels to be small” ~ The Inspiral Carpets
Or, as defined by my dictionary
Lonely (adj): isolated, unhappy at being alone, rarely visited
Of all the human conditions that can be suffered, loneliness is perhaps the one that brings out the most pathos. It’s something that everyone has experienced at some point; a condition or state that is so very much “there but for the grace of God go I”
Every day, calls are put into the Samaritans from people who are lonely; housebound due to disability or age, no family in easy visiting distance or some with no family at all. There may not be any particular tragedy attached to their life, other than people they knew are no longer alive. Which, whilst a natural progression of life, is so poignant as to make one weep.
Advances in technology, the plethora of social media platforms; these things can provide an essential conduit to many. To be able to banter online, to be able to Skype your family in another country, the fact that these things are so easy to do amazes me.
Of course it is not necessary to be physically ‘alone’ to feel lonely.. The lack of likeminded souls in an environment can lead to feelings of isolation. That can happen in your work, with your friends, in your own home. And it can take a brave soul to admit to feeling lonely in that situation. For feeling lonely is seen a shameful thing, to be hidden away and not talked about. ‘How dare you not fit in with us here? What’s wrong with you? We’re all fine.’ Hard, very hard sometimes, to speak against that. It can be much easier to start to believe that there is something wrong with you, to push the loneliness of feeling different, the unease, deep down inside.
I don’t think there’s anything shameful in feeling lonely. I know it feels horrible, I know it feels small, but I wish I could help stop anyone feeling ashamed of it. I joined Twitter because I was lonely. It took a long time for me to be able to admit it. But in admitting it, in letting that deep down unease come out a little, I found that a fair few people felt the same and that in turn helped me to do something about it for myself.
That isn’t an answer for everyone, I know. I say it merely to highlight that when I speak of loneliness I am not coming at from the abstract pondering but from personal experience.
There are over 7 billion people in the world. We are all unique but also we’re not so very different. If you feel lonely, if you feel isolated in your world, then perhaps it’s time to stop thinking it’s something that is wrong with you, stop trying to suppress yourself, and take a peek at the wider world. You never know, you might be the missing piece that helps ease someone else’s loneliness too.