Every individual goes through a state of loneliness, there is no such age group or individual groups who are exempted from feeling of loneliness. Loneliness is a universal human emotion that is both complex and unique to each individual. Because it has no single common cause!! The prevention and treatment of this potentially damaging state of mind can vary dramatically from person to person.
Some individuals choose and love to be alone and they may find happiness to live without much social contact. At the same time, some feel lonely even if they live among lots of people. Many among us might have thousands of social contacts, spending much time with friends, siblings, parents, kids, relatives etc., and yet say “I am alone”!!
A study says, Loneliness typically refers to the feelings of distress and dysphoria resulting from a discrepancy between a person’s desired and achieved levels of social relations, and there is now considerable evidence that loneliness is a risk factor for poor psychological and physical health. Loneliness has traditionally been conceptualized as a uniquely human phenomenon. However, over millions of years of human existence, efficient and manifold neural, hormonal, and molecular mechanisms have evolved for promoting companionship and mutual protection/assistance and for organizing adaptive responses when there is a significant discrepancy between the preferred and realized levels of social connection.1
Loneliness is a global problem for all human beings and a number of different studies have linked it to multiple chronic conditions, including: heart disease, lung disease, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, atherosclerosis, stroke, and metabolic disorders, such as obesity and metabolic disease. Loneliness is a major predictor of psychological problems, such as depression, psychological stress, and anxiety. Loneliness is linked to overall morbidity and mortality in adult populations. But limited interventions have demonstrated long-term effectiveness in reducing loneliness in adults with these same chronic conditions.2
Before we move into the details of loneliness, it is necessary to understand that feeling lonely and being socially isolated or being in a state of solitude are completely different. Loneliness is subject to individual experience ( If a person thinks he/she is lonely, then he/she is lonely). We can say that if anyone lacks more social interaction or a certain quality of social communication at the time of need, then it can lead that person to the stage of loneliness. For example, a person can be in the middle of a party and still feel lonely due to not talking to enough people.
“Victory over loneliness is not a one-time event but a process. It takes time, effort, and intentional action. But with God’s help and the support of others, you can find victory over loneliness and experience the joy and peace that come from a deep relationship with God.”
Holy Scripture itself is based on togetherness of Holy God in Trinity. Soon after creation of man, God confirms it by stating “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18) and God Himself provided a solution and created Eve as a good companion. So, Humans are designed to be in community with God and with one another. Perhaps, that is why loneliness hits us very hard. Our choices, our habits, our situations, our society, our profession, our pride may demand us to keep away our brethren and we slowly slip into the claws of loneliness.
We can see many examples for both loneliness and solitude in the Holy Bible. Result of Loneliness is destruction of self being and self esteem. At the same time the state of solitude with God will lead a person to the heights of self discovery.
The first king of Israel, Saul is a good example for an extreme case of loneliness. He exhibited signs of mood swings, apathy and depression, violent temper, paranoia and acute personality shift disorders. He was surrounded by many servants who sang praises for him, surrounded by many soldiers, he was having all power and wealth, but still he was feeling so lonely. He was tormented deeply, eclipsed by another, fell and ended up on the battlefield.
On the other hand, King David, was alone almost all his lifetime. Because of the circumstances, King David had to flee from his home and forget his position. He lost his wife, his best friend, the company of men he led and his fame. But, still he turned his loneliness to solitude and he enjoyed that time with God. David, in his loneliness he reminded himself to trust in God. in Psalms 42:5 ” why , my soul, are you downcast?, why so disturbed within me?, put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my savior and my God”. David grieved before the Lord. He even verbalized his belief that God had forgotten him. As he spoke with the Lord, the toxicity flooding his brain and his mind halted as he poured out his emotions. In God’s presence, after grieving, he remembered God’s goodness. Able to think with clarity, the loneliness and despair loosened their stranglehold as healthy thoughts filled his mind.
Remember, God will never leave you alone. You can hear God’s voice at your loneliness, which will encourage and enlighten you. It will give you strength to run your race and finish it victoriously. Trust in God’s assurances and promises for you.
As soon as Jesus Christ got baptized, He too was led to the wilderness and tempted by Satan. Remember, while you feel lonely, tempter will try to deceive you to destruction. Get the victory on the deceiver by the Word of God and by the Holy Spirit and turn your loneliness into the state of Paradise!!
1. John T. Cacioppo,”Loneliness Across Phylogeny and a Call for Comparative Studies and Animal Models”, Perspect Psychol Sci. 2015 Mar; 10(2): 202–212
2.Javier Yanguas, “The complexity of loneliness”, Acta Biomedica, 2018; 89(2): 302–314.
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