Loneliness is something I feel I am an authority on, at least as a layman. There are several reasons for that, some of which I will get into later. The topic of loneliness was brought to my attention again by the CBS Sunday Morning show I just watched. It said that almost half of us feel lonely much of the time, and as the quote below shows the more you are attached to social media the more likely you are to be lonely.
So, why would someone with 3,000 Facebook friends feel lonely? “One is this idea of social comparison,” said Dr. Primack. “People are able to take 300, 400 pictures of themselves and post that one that makes them look like they are that much more thin or that much more attractive or that much more successful. The impression from the outside can easily be on social media, ‘Wow, I can’t measure up with my very normal life.’Source: CBS Sunday Morning
I have had that feeling about Facebook too. So many pages lead you to believe that you are the only one without an exciting life. I.E. you are the only one who is lonely. It is ironic that something tagged as “social media” is perhaps a primary cause for loneliness, especially among teenagers! They are one of the primary groups to have epidemic loneliness.
I have always been a loner, I was forty before I actually had my first serious relationship. I always used to say “Loneliness is being alone and not wanting to be.” I think that was a rationalization that helped me cope with the fact that I just couldn’t seem to seriously connect with those around me I’m still not very good at that, but at least, through life’s experiences, I have taken the edge off of it.
Of course, another source of my loneliness is being deaf. I’m sure that is the primary source for my particular brand of loneliness. I always say that I am not particularly lonely when I am by myself; I am the loneliest when I am in a group of people. I see all the interactions going on around me but don’t have a clue as to how to join in.
The third reason for my particular brand of loneliness is my wife. She is pretty much a recluse. She gets her joy from her daily activities and they don’t really include anyone but her. I love her and understand that is the way she is, particularly now that she is approaching eighty years.
So, with these three strikes, loneliness is a guaranteed part of my life. I think that is one of the reasons why I blog every day. I want the connection however trivial it might be. I cope pretty well with my loneliness but it looks like many, particularly those who are in earlier stages of life, aren’t doing as well.
Finishing off this post, I want to go back to the Sunday Morning show. We in the US are not the only ones who are lonely but we are likely the leader of the herd. Britain has deemed loneliness serious enough to warrant a Minister of Loneliness, whose job it is to find ways to combat it in their citizens. I don’t know about loneliness but I think we could do some really quick improvements in our country’s severe depression with a quick change in the Oval Office. It would help me beyond words.