A series of events overtook me few months back in such a way that I felt left alone amidst people. I know not why but when the feeling of loneliness comes, its effect is sometimes devastating leading to depression.  Is it because I smile when I actually want to cry, I talk but I want to be silent, or is it because that I pretend like I am happy where as I am not? I know not. I have observed in our professional, social and personal lives that as we grow up in our stature and also in age in our professional, social and personal life, our professional colleagues, social friends and the personal relations start dwindling because of various reasons like transfers, promotions, shifting from one place to another, retiring from service, retirement from business, deaths of dear and near ones and closely known people etc and also due to growing generation gap.  The feeling of alienation overtakes among many of us due to our conception coming out of the misplaced thinking that we are being avoided and evaded by our own people coming out of an ebullition of our tainted imaginations on account of our inability to face and withstand the stress and pressure of emergent adverse situations and the fear of dependency on others and other allied reasons which varies from person to person.

I understand now that people who part forever may not know the sorrow of parting but people left behind face the pain of separation. I never knew what it means to be alone until she, my life partner, left me creating a big void. Whenever I see couples walking together holding hands, sitting together talking or sharing and caring together, I look away staring into the vast expanse of the sky because I raise an unanswerable question ‘where can I seek mine’? It is a painful feeling of being alone uncared for and left to mend ourselves. Every one of us must have gone through this kind of pain, hopelessness, and loneliness at one time or another in our lives. All of us are connected through this shared pain and struggle sometime or other.

After having said about what I feel regarding loneliness, I was wondering whether the state of mind that we develop to be in loneliness would have been approved and appreciated by those whom we loved and being missed and who cared for us? Definitely not.  They would not have wanted to see us in an unhappy state and feeling lonely.  If that is so, why then have we to be in a state of solitude with a melancholy mood? It is true that we tend to feel lonely when we miss people whom we loved dearly or when we are in a vulnerable state of mind. In such a situation we feel we are alone neglected and negated and we tend to take shelter in loneliness. But that feeling of loneliness should not be allowed to lead into deep depression which will affect our mental wellness.

What is this loneliness? Is it an incurable disease? From where it is coming? Loneliness, in simple term, is a state of mind where we feel that we are alone, do not have friends, no one to talk to, creating unhappiness and melancholy leading to deep depression. Since loneliness is coming out of our own thought process making ourselves feeling miserable, it is in our hands to prevent it, if need be, cure it. Fear is the key that drives us to feel lonely. The fear of rejection, the fear of failure, the fear of facing the realities, the fear of hopelessness, fear of our inability to fulfill our duties and responsibilities and all types of fear that alienate us from the society, socially, professionally and personally, taking us to self-inflicted isolation. That is a dangerous situation to be avoided. How to overcome the loneliness?

If we analyse the reasons for loneliness, we may find it amazing that it is our own creation. It is not due to lack of friendship, relationship, company but due on account of lack of purposeful thinking. “It’s a myth to think that having many friends means you aren’t lonely. Loneliness is less about quantity and more about a lack of quality interaction, of the sort that leaves us feeling connected, valued and able to value”. Further, loneliness is a serious psychological condition. Overcoming loneliness is important because left unchecked it can lead to anxiety, addictions like alcoholism and substance abuse, and poor sleep patterns which can even lead to serious ailments.  Hence, it is inevitable that we have to prevent being lonely to keep us always in robust physical wellbeing and also in good mental health. Mental acuity is one of most important aspect of human survival and progress.

What causes the feeling of loneliness?

1. We are afraid of being close to others and intimate with some.

2. We are stuck with living in the past.

3. Our dependency on others to fulfill our needs.

4. We don’t understand our own self and the hidden powers we possess.

5. We don’t understand the changes taking place in us.

6. The mistaken notion that we are lonely persons.

7. We are depressed for the unknown reasons.

This self-inflicted malady is the result of our negative thinking and lack of understanding of our own self and our inability to adopt ourselves to suit the changing circumstances. “No condition or set of circumstances is in itself a calamity to be feared. It is our reaction to it that makes it ‘waterloo’ or a field of triumph.” Further, “Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers; powers that would astonish him, that he never dreamt of possessing; forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and put into action.”

What is needed is a simple change in our attitudes towards our life which can change our loneliness in to joyous moments. When we indulge in activities which we are fond of, we forget about our depressing moments even when we are alone enjoying our life without any interruptions. Reading books of our liking, hearing music of our choice, painting a picture capturing the beauty of the nature, writing on topics dearer to us, making some one happy without expecting anything in return or any action that we undertake that gives a meaningful response to our life and that of others, would open up a life of tranquility and happiness for ourselves and the society at large. It is said that a house without books and music cannot become a home. The joy coming out of extending a helping hand to the needy and downtrodden fellow human being cannot be expressed in words but can only be felt. All our good Samaritan activities are undertaken alone by us and that too in loneliness and behold, how joyous surroundings we can create spreading the fragrance of happiness all around us by adopting purposeful attitude towards life to make it better and not bitter!!!

Loneliness is nothing but a break from the routine to be alone to experience the bliss of solitude, to have an introspect on our activities and behaviour and to appreciate and love ourselves. When we start feeling being alone and facing the situation with true grit, it means that we are capable of handling things by ourselves. “Learn to be alone and to like it. There is nothing more empowering or freeing than learning to like your own company.” We all are longing for acceptance, appreciation and adulation. “It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” When we understand our own beauty and worth leading to high self-esteem, we reach the peak of self-confidence. Remember always, “love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” Remember that you are the only person who can make you happy and contended in your life. Life is beautiful and enjoy it.

T. R. Radhakrishnan

(The Author invites comments from readers and he can be contacted through his e-mail. trrk1941@gmail.com)

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