- Pearl S. Buck
There are many different kinds of loneliness. There is that place, in between boredom and excitement, where we just want another person to go do something interesting or fun with. There is the loneliness that can arise when we need to be heard but find ourselves with no one to talk to. There is that “incomplete” feeling we feel before we find our life-partner, the person with whom we can share our love, our affection, and our whole experience of Life. And there is that dark, empty loneliness that can take hold of us when we allow ourselves to believe no one understands us and no one cares. The latter type of loneliness can lead to severe depression and hopelessness, if left unattended. But all of these forms of loneliness are important, and they should not be ignored.
To feel lonely is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. Feeling lonely, occasionally, is what drives us to reach out to one another and to connect in meaningful ways. If we never, ever felt lonely, how motivated would we be to develop and maintain healthy relationships? How much would we care about interacting with one another in positive and constructive ways?
If we never felt lonely, there would be no desire to truly get to know other people or to share experiences with them. If we never shared ourselves and our experiences with friends, family members, and loved ones, we would each be living in our own private Idaho – navigating Life’s experiences as automatons, just going through the motions. As such, loneliness is a feeling that can have tremendous value. The value comes, not from that unpleasant sensation in the pit of our stomach or from the negative self-talk that loneliness can easily feed, but from what the loneliness is trying to tell us. And what we can do about it.
When we feel lonely, there is something inside us that is trying to tell us we need some good, old fashioned human interaction. We need to share some laughs, cry on a shoulder, talk about things that interest us, get a hug, or otherwise feel connected with another human being. While I am well aware of the school of thought positing that all sense of loneliness can be eliminated through one’s relationship with the Divine, I would suggest that proponents of that school of thought are ignoring the divinity in humanity. I would posit that our need to feel our connection with one another and to solidify it through positive interaction is a divine calling itself.
While it is not always easy to answer this call for connection, it is important that we address it anyway. Addressing loneliness is not so complicated as we often make it out to be. A little human interaction can go a long way; and there are many different ways to engage in human interaction.
Today, I want to encourage you to avoid ignoring any feelings of loneliness that might arise within you and to start looking at loneliness as a signpost for something important that needs to be addressed. See it, not as something terrible, but simply as an indication of a need you share with every other human on the planet – the need to feel connected with other people. And address that need. Be proactive about finding ways to connect with others, even if only for brief periods of time. If you go into it with a positive attitude, addressing loneliness will help you make leaps and bounds on your personal journey of healing, happiness, and self-realization. It will make you feel better. It will empower you. It will introduce you to new experiences that can lead to incredible possibilities.
In a post I wrote last year on this same topic, I shared several tips for dealing with loneliness in positive ways. You can read that post by clicking here.
In addition to the ideas I previously shared, I’d like to recommend something new. I was recently introduced to a website called Sendoutcards.com. The site provides a quick and economical way to send postcards and greeting cards out. My friend, Stephanie Whitaker, introduced me to the site and to the concept. I loved it because I’ve been a card sender for many years. It has been my experience that taking a few minutes to send someone I care about a card actually helps me feel more connected to that person. They might be hundreds of miles away but, in those few moments when I’m writing to them and saying “Hello. How are you doing? I’m thinking of you.,” I feel as though we are together. Over the next few days, I’ll think about that person several times and imagine them being happy when they pull the card out of the mailbox. Over the years, several of my loved ones have started sending me cards too. And I am always excited when I open the mailbox and find a card from one of my friends or my daughter. It makes me smile. It warms my heart. And, most importantly, it makes me feel connected with them. If you’re interested in using Sendoutcards.com to save time and money, please use Stephanie’s rep link, which is here. I know she would appreciate the support.
Sending cards and the other ideas I shared in my earlier post are ideas that have worked in my life. But I would encourage you to get creative and explore as many different ways as you can find to reach out and connect with other people.
If you have any additional ideas about positive ways to deal with loneliness, I hope you’ll leave a comment and share them with me and other readers. We all get lonely, from time to time. But we don’t have to stay that way.
Live Free! Be Happy! Connect with other people.
Photos by Sanja Gjenero