The word “Loneliness” has become increasingly common in the vocabulary of our modern societies. In fact, one big paradox of the boom in the social networking platforms is that the number of people suffering from loneliness has almost doubled since the advent of the internet and social networking phenomenon.
One big reason for this is the fact that the amount of time people spend interacting with each other on a person-to-person basis is the lowest in 25 years – as we now spend most of our socialising on the social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Besides the decrease in the face-to-face socializing, there are other reasons why loneliness is on the rise, such as, the increasing number of adults living alone and those whose disabilities have affected their normal daily activities. But my focus in this article is on the kind of loneliness that goes beyond just been alone, but whose roots are connected to our mental state of mind – what goes on within us, as opposed to what goes on around us.
As you may be aware, loneliness does not mean aloneness. You can be alone and not be lonely. Aloneness can be a deliberate decision to enhance reflections, personal growth and focus. But loneliness is the inner feeling that you are not part of the world. It is a mental alienation from the self and society. This kind of loneliness has nothing to do with whether or not you are around people. You can be surrounded with hundreds of caring people and still feel extremely lonely on the inside. This is the type of loneliness this article intends to address.
Of course, it is natural to be lonely at times. It is basically part of being human. But if one’s feeling of loneliness becomes chronic and extreme, with an increasing sense of being cut off, alienated or separated from other people, then this is a symptom of loneliness caused by, what I call, Real-Self Alienation.
Real-self alienation simply means loneliness from yourself. It is mental alienation from your true self and a psychological detachment from the basic social connections with life. Someone who has cut himself off from his real self can never find any satisfactions from other human contacts. If you get to a place of internally rejecting, hating and disowning your real self, it does not really matter what others around you do or how hard they try to come close to you, you cannot receive it, because your real self has been disconnected and the false self, which is frightened of people is now in charge.
The reasons why real-self alienation can happen to anyone are numerous. But all of them are connected to the inner sense of hurt, self-dislike, insecurity and inadequacies, caused by one’s unpleasant past experiences with life. For this reason, loneliness is a way of self-protection from further hurts, disappointments or humiliations from people. It is a subconscious defence mechanism for shielding away the ego or idealized self from being exposed again to pains, heartbreaks, shame or embarrassment.
Although lonely people frequently complain that they have no friends, or that nobody cares about them or that nobody is willing to mix with them, unconsciously this is the way they prefer it to be. It is weird, but that it is the truth. They have basically set this up themselves, often times unknowingly, by putting up defences, often in forms of passivity to others or other behavioral reactions that can easily put others off from coming closer. In this way, they feel safe and secure. They are in constant need to make sure they are not hit again with the same club on the same emotional injuries which are yet to heal.
Loneliness is fear and anxiety-driven. And that is why loneliness is highly linked with anxiety and depression. The recent studies conducted by the the Mental Health Foundation on the topic of loneliness (2010), show that 55% of the people aged between 18-34 suffered from depression or anxiety as a result of their loneliness. So, loneliness and anxiety disorders are, more often than not, inseparable because they share the same fueling energy – internal or irrational fear.
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you can click HERE to request for my free ebook: FREE eBook: The Essential Guide To Anxiety Panic Recovery.
Now, here is a crucial quote that is worth pondering upon regarding freedom from loneliness:
“Unless you reconnect to your real-self, you cannot overcome loneliness. But the only way to reconnect to your real-self is to reconnect back to human contacts. The only way to find yourself is by finding others in harmonious relationships- enjoying being with people again, engrossing yourself in socialising and serving others, as a fully functioning social being.” – Wale Oladipo
Coming soon: 6 Steps To Overcoming Loneliness
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