“What if you had it all
But nobody to call?
Cause I have had everything
But no one’s listening
And that’s just lonely”
That is how the well-known singer Justin Bieber expressed his childhood days of loneliness in his latest song ‘Lonely’. Did it resonate with you when you wanted somebody to be there to listen to you, pour your heart out or just wanted somebody to support you-on whom you can rely on? ‘Loneliness’ that’s the feeling when the quality of social relationships, that one has, starts deteriorating along with the time spent with the peers. Psychologically, loneliness can be viewed as a ‘social pain’ that one might suffer from, which in turn has an unpleasant emotional response.
Tahereh Mafi has quoted “All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not with my hands but with my heart.”. This tells us that a person need not be ‘alone’ to feel these pangs of loneliness; a room full of people, with chatter can also make one feel lonely. Loneliness is a feeling when a person’s mind and heart cannot connect with those of others.
LONELINESS V/S SOCIAL ISOLATION, DEPRESSION AND SOLITUDE
Social isolation is when one deliberately separates oneself from others. Isolation depends on quantity of relationships rather than its quality. Social isolation might take place because of various reasons like loss of a beloved person, embarrassing situations, low willingness or low craving of being around people etc.
While loneliness is a feeling, depression is a mental health condition. The signs in both may look similar but these two are different from one another. Though loneliness could be long lasting, still it is a feeling and might go away once the needs, due to which loneliness occurs, are met. On the other hand, depression doesn’t have such needs to connect with, it needs treatment for one to overcome it.
Solitude is when one, happily, decides to spend time with oneself by disconnecting with the outer world. At times the social and professional pressure might be so much that the connect with inner self might start losing. Unlike loneliness, solitude is a positive state of mind where you enjoy your own company. It is like rebooting your inner mechanism for a proper functioning!
WHAT ARE THE TRIGGERS FOR LONELINESS?
Having a thought of being disconnected, being unheard or invisible in a group of people can lead to loneliness. But what could be some important causes for having this thought and feelings?
- Lack of attachment in childhood: If the parental attachment with the child isn’t proper in childhood, then the child might develop insecure attachment which may lead to loneliness in the child’s adolescence or adulthood.
- Experiencing unrequited love: Loving a person with your complete heart and then knowing that the person doesn’t feel the same for you might be heartbreaking. A person might feel lonely in this situation because he/she might get so involved in the other person, in reality or in their minds, that they might already feel that they are connected to that person. When reality hits, it breaks this assumption, leaving the person with feelings of loneliness.
- Age difference: Having social groups where there are no or very few people of your age or who do not have same thinking pattern as yours could lead to feelings of not being inclusive and feeling lonely.
- Divorce or separation: A person might have feeling of loneliness after going through a break up, separation or divorce since the mental connection with the partner fades away. Feelings of loneliness can also emerge in couples who are living together but have broken marriages/relationships, where they might feel disconnected with their partner while being married or while being in a relationship.
- Loss of a loved one: Having someone in your life who is close to you, with whom you connect and then the person leaves forever. This experience might lead to creating a void where the connect loses and forming it with others may seem impossible.
- Experiencing empty nest syndrome: Empty nest syndrome is when parents experience grief and loneliness when their children move out of their house to pursue their education and start their independent life.
Although loneliness is a feeling, it might become overpowering, pulling you downward. But don’t hesitate to ask for help, may it be a friend or family member, for you never know you might find a helping hand who will help you in understand this feeling and overcome it!