All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
They are everywhere and there are many of them. Many of us.
All the lonely people.
It is important to appreciate that loneliness is very much part of the human condition. It is not a sickness. It is not a curse or a disease. It is simply part of who we are. Believing and embracing this reality goes a long way in finding happiness and meaning.
But it doesn’t make it easier.
Loneliness is not fun. It can lead to some pretty dark moments. It is flush with nightmares. Compounded with regret. A prime time for self-hatred and dreadful doubt.
The time of human history we happen to find ourselves in is not much help either.
We are busy, noisy, fidgety, directionless, addicted, and tired.
And that’s just Monday.
Take Facebook as one example. It truly is a wonderful place. A wonderland where we can stay connected with people and share our memories over vast distances. It makes the world so much smaller. It is a place to laugh and a place to vent our frustrations and angst.
It doesn’t help much however that most of the posts we see are only filled with likes, hearts, and other meaningless icons. Words are often absent, unless you sound depressed, then a few brave souls reach out to see if you’re ok.
Why is that?
Why don’t we use words? Words come from our mind. Our minds are connected to our hearts. It seems so natural to write. Yet, the very thing that gives us a tremendous advantage over all the other species, is ignored and underutilized.
Why don’t we comment on each other’s thoughts? Ok. Maybe not the goofy video of a drunk guy playing beer pong. But for everything else why don’t we write a simple sentence. A word. Something. Anything.
At least we are consistent on social media. We are busy in all aspects of our lives.
What is fascinating about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms, is that it presents us an unconscious illusion of human connection, but in fact, allows us to become anti-social.
We are under the illusion that we have many friends. We know many people. They seem so close to us, so present. Ever available at any time to reach out and touch them. Yet we share so very little of who we are with anyone. We have an overdeveloped delusion of telepathy.
We don’t respond to our friends, yet we telepathically imagine that they somehow know exactly what we think of their post. The intuitively know that we think their baby is adorable, that they mean so much to us, that we are here anytime for them to be vulnerable.
How can we get our meaning across without the use of words? How can this be done without human contact? How can we be less lonely, if we don’t consciously take the time and effort to be present in the lives of those that mean the world to us.
Most of us end up taking jobs that keep us frustrated in traffic for two or three hours every day. We then get home and are too tired or too frazzled and just want everyone and everything to leave us the hell alone.
The thought of finding another job, another way of life, never enters our consciousness. We never entertain the thought. We believe we are stuck. We believe we are incapable of finding something better. We convince ourselves to be grateful for the very little that we have. Just shut up. Go to work. Be glad you may yet see tomorrow.
All these lonely people.
Where do they all come from?
I think the more important question is, will we speak to them today?
Which lonely person will you reach out to? Who will you talk to? Who will you write to? Who haven’t you called in a long time? Who haven’t you seen? Who deserves to get flowers? Who deserves dinner? Ice-cream? A good scolding? A break from their kids? Who will you bring a coffee?
Who do you know that is living their life in isolation? Pretending everything is fine.
Are you brave enough to disrupt the sound of silence?