Are you lonely? Some people are indeed. But do you now that you don’t have to be?
There’s a lovely saying in Irish that gives great comfort on that front. You may have heard Uachtarán na hÉireann using it and even Price Harry has a go at it when he visited us recently. It is ‘Ar scáth a chéile a mhairfimid’. Roughly translated, ‘It is in the shadow of each other that we exist.’ In other words we are all interdependent. So you see you do have connections.
Loneliness is a condition that clouds our view. Once we hook into that pact with self we easily convince ourselves that nobody cares about us. Nothing could be further from the truth. But the chances are that you are wallowing in self-pity. Your existing connections may not be the closest buddies but they are still connections, connections that you could build on if you could be bothered.
So how much are you to blame for your current situation? You have a neighbour. Put an effort into getting to know him or her. There’s probably a local library with friendly faces. Or how about having a coffee in the local café or pub and getting to know the staff? Then there’s online. You can use Social Media platforms to develop relationships offline. Make the effort to go and meet that connection in person.
The possibilities are endless once you lift the ‘poor me’ veil from your eyes.
But what about when that fit of loneliness hits you? It’s overwhelming. You feel isolated and cut off from the rest of humanity. In extreme forms it can feel like this. These are the words of Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami. “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 hushed at four o’clock in the morning.”
So here’s how you deal with it. When it hits, allow yourself to feel lonely. BE lonely. But then remember the mantra ‘This too shall pass.’ Because it does. No perfect situation lasts forever and no lonely situation does either. But we forget that when we’re down in the dumps.
Find something easy and interesting to do online. Most likely it will be free of charge. Teach yourself something new. But be gentle on yourself. Go for a walk. Surrounding yourself with nature can be very healing. Notice the magic that is in the natural world. Remember that famous poem that you first learned n school? William Wordsworth when he wrote about his wanderings.
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
Or play your favourite music. Relax on your favourite chair. As Dag Hammarskjold from the UN wrote, ‘Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for.”
You can find it. You, and you alone, can stop this loneliness. You have to take personal responsibility for it. And remember it’s not the quantity of social contact that solves it but the quality. And more than anything, remember that loneliness is a sign that something needs to change n your life. You know what it is. Cultivate a friendship. Make it happen for YOU.