I live alone. It is not by choice, it is by life circumstance. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate my space. I enjoy having my times of solitude, and room to stretch out in. But every day, I long for conversation, a companion to go out with and to be touched. Not having these desires fulfilled as I would like leads at times to loneliness.
I say at times, because, I’m not always lonely just because I am alone. I have a wonderful family that include, parents, sisters, aunts, and cousins, that I keep close contact with. I have friends both in town and out of town. Though I am not in a romantic relationship, I do have a handful of male friends and that satiates some of my need for male companionship.
Everyone find themselves feeling lonely from time to time. The problem occurs when loneliness takes over and brings your emotion and health down. There was a study done that resulted in showing that if you don’t have adequate social networking, it can lead to early death. Apparently, this situation is twice as harmful as obesity and just as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes each day.
The above is how loneliness effects one physically. Emotionally speaking it tends to make people vulnerable and that can lead to desperation. Desperate people tend to make poor decisions. With the need for attention, a desperate person may choose any kind of attention, and if the wrong is chosen, trouble quickly follows.
Technology has enabled a pacifier to loneliness. With social networks people can get on line and make friends with folks all over the globe. But I find virtual connections just not enough. I want all of my senses engaged. I want to hear a person’s tone when speaking and their laughter. I want to see the body language and facial expressions. All of this is part of the communication and companionship that I want.
So what’s a person to do?
Don’t get bent all out of shape. Loneliness isn't everyone else’s fault for not choosing you to hang out with. For me, I don’t have a car so getting out is a challenge as I rely on someone having to come get me, the bus system, my bike on good days and if location is a reasonable distance, and of course my feet. I don’t always have money to offer for gas of people coming to get me, so in veritably, I have to stay home. Not to mention the extra time it takes for people to have to pick me up that I’m imposing. I understand that. Therefore, I get left out of invites more than I care to mention.
This line of thought keeps me from blaming others for me not being in their Instagram pictures of the good time a friend of mine is having. Our attitude can lead us to the despair of loneliness or the possibly concluding it's just circumstance and we can therefore say, “I’m glad they are having a good time, now what can I do to occupy my time.”
Case in point. I have a friend that is always going out socially. I was connected to her via Instagram and would see her with all these people either going out to eat or engaging in some fun activity. When I am in her company, she smiles and hugs me as if I am an important friend of hers, but I never get an invite to her social functions. To take it even further, I noticed none of her friends were of my race but all of her race. At first I was just mad that she never invited me, but when I saw contemplated the race situation, I started seeing her as fake and a racist, so I knew I had to change something. I decided to changed me and I stopped following her Instagram page. I figured, if I don’t see the photos, I’m not worried about her motives as to why I am not there. I when I am in her presence, I only see her pretty smile and enjoy her warm hug of greeting. Why should I force myself upon someone or allow someone’s actions negatively affect me. She has no clue about what I am feeling about wanting to be with her and our mutual friends, so I can either invite her to my functions or not, or I can look at her social feed with hurt feelings, or not be bothered with it so as to keep liking her.
It’s so important not to make sweeping assertions about your social life. “No one ever invites me out.” “No one wants to be my friends.” “They just don’t like me because…”. Such thoughts just make you feel bad about yourself, then you feel like you’re an outcast and isolate yourself which leads to loneliness. The kind of loneliness that causes physical and emotional deterioration.
Don’t Limit Yourself
When I was a little girl, my family and I went to the Kingdom Hall for worship three days a week. At the end of each meeting we would fellowship, which meant conversing with everyone we could. My mother would always take me and my sister to talk with the elderly ones in the congregation that couldn't walk around to visit with others. At the age of four I had people I considered my friends that were well past the age of seventy. Even today, my friends range in ages. There are times when I am feeling like talking that I get on the phone and check in on my older friends. Other times I send text messages to all my family (cousins as I call my parents each day) and arrange times later that week to hang out.
Being alone or being lonely
There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. There are times in our lives where we spend way more time alone than we want to. It is our attitude that can take us from being alone to being lonely. When I am at that point in my day where I want companionship and I can’t arrange it, I find a way to fill that time with activity. I embrace being alone and start a project. I write or read a book. I have done craft projects and crochet blankets. I paint or take a walk. I try to remember to do something I don’t want to do like work-out. I’m not going to let loneliness take me down.