What everyone wants from life is continuous and genuine happiness.

~ Baruch Spinoza ~

Feeling Lonely?

April 25th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 20 secs

What's the answer to feeling lonely?

Let me ask you, “Are you feeling lonely?” Despite being surrounded by people, loneliness is an all too familiar experience worldwide. As one of the greatest hardships of modern life, it’s a condition that seems difficult to fix. What makes it more troubling is the feeling that most people don’t even want to know.

Somebody new to might be wondering why I’m talking about such a tough subject. After all, isn’t this site about being happy? Shouldn’t we all be “up, and atom with enthusiasm?” While there are people and sites trying to convince you that a good life is just like that, I believe they’re being misleading. We physically aren’t capable of staying ecstatically happy all the time. Even if we could, how can we be persistently overjoyed when others are suffering? To be unmoved by another’s pain is not only self-centered, it’s immature.

When your life lacks the satisfaction of good company, you know what feeling lonely means. When your relationships seem spent, down deep you can feel unappreciated; or worse, unwanted. Living disappointment and self-doubt is painful in itself. But when your emotions declare nobody cares about you, even your most minor moments well up with sorrow.

If you are feeling lonely right now, my feelings are with you. Even if we haven’t met yet, it doesn’t matter. You deserve kindhearted treatment. Though I Iive on the edge of the world in far-flung Tasmania, I’m trying to imagine you and I’m thinking about how you are feeling.

Perhaps that might not mean much to you. But for those with a personal faith, you know the influence of care isn’t always explicit, but subtle. Like a still small voice, encouragement can come gently. Yet, faith or not, feeling lonely is a widespread experience. For some, it’s infrequent. For others, loneliness shrouds an entire life. Call it the price, perhaps, but you can’t be who you are without aloneness as a side effect.

Is there a cure for feeling lonely? Not in the “take-this-pill-three-times-a-day sense.” What loneliness requires most is for you and I to dive back into life. Ill equipped and unsure as we are, we’ve got to leap into the deep end to do, help, and be. Love with all you have, and give until you keenly feel it. Go to people with needs and loyally be there for them. Keep helping until you see the difference. These are the deeds for staring down loneliness and coaxing its retreat.

Besides which, the intensity of feeling lonely comes and goes. When we’re far away from its cold grasp, it’s abstract and barely an issue.  Then, when it rolls in, it’s hard to know anything else.

But even when you aren’t feeling lonely, chances are there’s somebody close by who is. That’s why you should recognize your power for kindness and be affirming whenever you can.

Ultimately, the gnawing ache of feeling lonely is not dead time, but a reference point. Knowing your own loneliness equips you, both to relate and earn the wisdom of understanding.  With them, the hurt you endure can be turned into compassion (an extraordinary force that too few use). Whatever your limitations and doubts, these gifts are yours. Amidst all the pain of loneliness, your amazing gifts can grow.



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