It has taken me roughly two months to come clean and admit to harboring loneliness. Side effects are subtle. They can manifest in many different forms. As I'm 5,327 miles from home due to the Covid 19 Pandemic I hadn’t considered that my loneliness was attributed to internal factors such as low self- esteem. People who lack confidence in themselves often believe that they are unworthy of the attention or regard of other people. Paradoxically, people who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult to form connections with other people.
By definition aloneness is a disposition toward being alone. It is healthy reclusiveness. A preference towards seclusion or isolation. Loneliness by definition is a sadness due to lack of friendship or company. It implies feelings of depression and abandonment. It is rejection, separation, and remoteness. As May Sarton puts it, loneliness is the poverty of self, solitude is richness of self.
Not only has lockdown demanded of me social sacrifice but my mental apparatus has been exposed. It has stripped me of my own sense of purpose. Loneliness also disrupts the regulation of cellular processes deep within the body, predisposing us to premature aging, increased inflammation, and decreased sleep.
“Since lockdowns and stay-at-home orders were instated, roughly a third of American adults report feeling lonelier than usual, according to an April Survey by social-advice company SocialPro. Another survey, also in April, put the number even higher, at 47%.
If the stereotype of a lonely person is a frail, elderly adult who lives alone, the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the truth that was there all along: anyone, anywhere, of any age can experience loneliness. SocialPro’s survey of 1,228 people ages 18 to 75 predominantly living in English-speaking countries found that at least 20% of respondents from each age group polled were lonelier than usual as a result of coronavirus. Millennials were among the most likely age groups to feel lonely before COVID-19, research shows, and that’s no different now; 34% of millennials in the survey said they were “always or often” lonelier due to the pandemic.”
If you're feeling lonely try making direct eye contact with whom-ever you speak to. Reach out to those who bring out the best in you and remind you the value you bring to others. tay connected to the cycles of nature. Be aware of seasonal changes until you begin to see your own lives movements reflected in them. This connects us to the ‘Life-Death-Life- cycle. Helping us mourn our losses, let go of what has passed, and open to new life. Acts of selfless service are also a great self-esteem booster and provide a way to find your value through the acknowledgment of others. Find purpose in being useful and needed in your home and community through actions big or small.
Accepting your lonely as a palpable and tangible experience that is real and that you must take care of is step one. I feel the majority of our power lies in our ability to see each circumstance as an opportunity for growth and resurgence. Living in a world of marketed independence the way we learn about solitude during this time can be of great value. Biologist Lynn Margulis notes that independence is not a concept that explains the living world. It is only a political concept we've invented. Individuals cannot survive alone. They move out continuously to discover what relationships they require, what relationships are possible.
We asked some inspiring creatives to share their piece on Loneliness.