How can so many of us be so incredibly lonely? We have never had more gadgets and apps to assist us to stay connected to one another, anywhere or at any time. Yet despite this we have never been more disconnected. I believe that the modern mediums designed to connect us actually encourage us and support us to disconnect. We see our friends count on social media as a validation of our popularity. Friends many of whom we don’t really know and may never have even met or talked to in person. Friends who remain at a safe distance both emotionally and physically. The illusion of friendship without the responsibility or the risks involved in real connections.
This distance is created emotionally because in most cases it’s difficult to meet people who will allow us to express how we feel without them attempting to fix us. That or deny us the healing that comes from simply being heard through what Tich nhat Hanh refers to as compassionate listening. It takes presence and courage to sit with someone in pain and just listen. The ability to sit in silence with someone in pain without the need to judge or fix.
My opinion on loneliness is that in order to be lonely I have to disconnect or pull away. I have to see myself as separate from all others. Therefore to be lonely I have to withdraw by becoming aloof or going into a poor me victim stance (refer to my earlier posts on control and control drama personality types).
Loneliness therefore isn’t a lack of company but rather a disconnect from the people I am with or situation I am in. To be lonely we don’t let anyone or anything in.
Choosing to consciously disconnect, to find time to go within and to heal our pain or recharge can sometimes be hard work but it frees us from our pain and gives us breathing room. This is more of a retreat where the disconnect from our surroundings and people is replaced with a deeper connection to the self. However, to disconnect and go into self-imposed loneliness, then fight or resent the feelings of loneliness in an unconscious state is both futile and painfully unrewarding. .
If we can be present to the pain and unpredictable nature of everyday life without attaching to it, walking with trust in the process, remaining open, then loneliness cannot settle upon us.