Loneliness is not just a sad feeling that we need to get rid of because we want people to be slightly happier. Loneliness is dangerous. People suffering from loneliness are in a constant fight or flight mode. These increased stress levels lead into a number of things but there are some consequences that are more severe than others.
Several studies have shown that feeling lonely results in a 29% increased risk of heart disease. Feeling lonely also increases the risk of having a stroke by 32%. You might not believe it, but when it comes to heart disease, loneliness is a bigger killer than obesity.
All of us have experienced loneliness at some stage and who knows you are feeling right now reading this article. The youngest and the oldest generations are the loneliest generations. And while most research is focused on seniors; the amount of loneliness in young people is severely underestimated.
It should be no surprise to anyone that lonely children, teenagers and young adults perform worse at school and experience more suicidal thoughts than their socially connected peers. Same is the case with teenagers, adults etc. An employee cannot give a satisfactory output if he/she is victim of loneliness. Let’s be true for a moment that we all have experienced that as it is humanly possible.
Loneliness is a pandemic. It does not discriminate on age, gender or borders. It happens all over the world and it happens more frequently to those of us who are already vulnerable. And the worst scenario is that the people who suffer from it does not speak openly and thus fall into the darkness of depression from where it’s not easy to escape. And the eye of the depression doesn’t count whether it’s hazel, amber, black or brown when you are trapped already. Loneliness is often at the root and always a contributor to depression.
So, let’s talk about this known stranger openly breaking all the boundaries we know and put loneliness in its place.
Loneliness can be attributed to things such as:
- Thin Family Fabric
- Bad Memories etc
Nowadays the family texture is wearing ragged. The calming touch of loved ones, family, friends etc has been a characteristic of the Nepali society. But that is in decline. The family touch is much valued in Nepal but unfortunately, it is depleting with time and is a significant reason for distress particularly in old age. Realization of the beauty of our culture is immensely necessary for the new generations or they can witness the value of western family culture in this very COVID-19 pandemic. (I’m not a criticizer of the western civilization).
Seeing the current scenario a child flies away for higher education, job etc just a few years after entering teenage. And hence loneliness starts in a parent and is neglected. We all have seen that in our neighbourhoods, in family, friends. Weak family bond causes loneliness among senior people. And it is likely to develop into a serious health issue in the future, if not now. Globally, depression affects 7% of the older population and is predicted to become second leading cause of disability by 2020.
So, is the case with expectations, rejection, bad memory etc. Actually, every point is connected to expectations. You begin to deplete inside, since the day you start germinating expectations. It begins to suck you like parasite from inside and you never know when the days of yours ends.
As Lao Tzu once said: “No expectations mean no disappointments. And, never being disappointed means your spirit never grows old”
Rejection can be from anyone you love unconsciously. It could be parent, seniors, boss, co-worker, crush, friend, girl/boyfriend, spouse etc. Even your own body sometime rejects the change inside you biologically. It wonders if you chop your own body due to the pain of rejection. But we don’t. Why? We can see and treat what is happening physically but it become hardly incurable when the disease is connected to our emotions, I would say soul.
It is simple you cannot cure the infected, contaminated soul by outside medicines. You have to go inside; you have to transcend yourself into love.
We can cure physical diseases with medicine but the only cure of loneliness, despair and hopelessness is love, Mother Teresa once said.
How to deal with loneliness, what is the solution to this? Let's have some spiritual contemplation.
Here I am talking about the love which is fabricated with the fabric of consciousness. But as soon as you hear the word love, your inner experience may give its own definition. You may start to think that the love that did not succeed or happen.
Those who have succeeded here, where they are also successful, think a little carefully. Here everyone fails. Those who fail are the ones who succeed, those who succeed also fail. Because the relationships built in ignorance and fainting does not come to fruition. Awaken yourself and the fruit called love will grow enriched in your inner being naturally. To be loved, to love and to become love are different phenomenon. To become love is godliness, the quality, the inbuilt properties what existence provided you. Unfortunately, that godliness is murdered by society on a daily basis. What I want to say is you become love yourself. To love one needs another person, but to love oneself has no meaning for another.
Like a flower blooms in solitude, no one sees the flower bloom, the flower blooms in its own pleasure. Flowers are not saddened by the thought that no one came to see them today, no one complimented them, no painter, photographer or journalist came. Nature simply doesn’t care.
If you aren’t in love with yourself, your love for others will be betrayed. It’ll just be acting. It is said that there must be fragrance before there is fragrance. Where there is love, there is forgiveness. The shadow in the back of love moves like a shadow in your back. Not being able to forgive means it was something else. You may be looking for authority or ownership in your alleged love. You made a request and that request disappeared somewhere in the sky. Now you are looking at the sky with a sad heart, it is a proof of your unconsciousness. In fact, the answer never comes.
First of all, it is important to know that loneliness is the ultimate truth of the world.
Some may think that getting married, making girl/boyfriends, shopping, drinking, etc. is the solution to loneliness. But believe me, all these moments are fragile, dependent on each other, the last journey is that of loneliness.
I have seen married and unmarried couples, friends being sad, lying to each other. All this is evidence of unconsciousness.
People like to destroys the things which gives them a trouble. But trouble is not caused by others. Say, if there is anything wrong with your wife, you are free to go to the Himalayas. But the evil is not in the wife but in yourself because even after going to the Himalayas you can find a wife again. The nuisance is inside you. You can't be alone. You need someone who can be your friend. And hence the trouble begins.
But loneliness is natural. And unless you recognize your inner self, you will continue to be weak. Weak ones are self-violent.
So, sing with the whispering wind, identify the present.
It is said that the flower that is to bloom tomorrow has its bud getting ready today.
Every now and then you are creating the future to come. Each moment is being built inside you. You create your own time.
So, live today, if it doesn't feel awakened living in the present, it may not feel tomorrow, it may not feel near in the future. There is no other way to live, there is today and there is life.
So, let’s transform every bad memory in a pleasant one, a new lesson and move forward.
Bad memories will play the most often, but just because the memory comes up doesn't mean you have to watch it. Change the channel or replace the network if it needs.
Let’s watch the loneliness from the mirror of science. But keep this in mind that even with the science you have to be in moment, present and alive. Otherwise there’s a slight difference between magic and tragic.
Modern science explains that we as humans are fundamentally built to be a part of a group. We are fundamentally built to depend on others and to have others depending on us.
So, if we keep the momentum of science it simply means that there’s nothing cool or brave or great about going through life alone. So, please call the friend that you all have and just be bored together. And then let people in. Because when you lean on others, you are helping them and you are helping yourself.
According to the study by Holt Lunstand and team, the support of family, friends and neighbors can increase your chance of living to a healthy old age by 50 percent.
Hence, the decisions are ours, the ceremony to choose is ours, the festival to lighten up our lives is ours, to celebrate the awakening is ours. Choose wisely.
See you in the future, if the existence let me live, if the present allows me to write.