All the lonely people; where do they all come from.
Beatles lyrics from Eleanor Rigby 1966.
Loneliness, my Art of Living addresses loneliness on pp.29-31. The article written in 1956 describes loneliness as the most devastating disease today. Fast forward to 2020 and we have what experts refer to as a loneliness epidemic; throw in some covid and a year where most people have felt socially isolated and basically it is a double pandemic.
A quick Google search will reveal some sobering statistics; the ones provided are from 2018. I expect 2020 statistics will tell and even grimmer tale.
So here we are, in all our fast paced world, technology providing connection as never known before and loneliness, especially in our youth and the aged, running at levels close to 20% of the population.
Health effects of
Social isolation, loneliness in older people pose health risks … isolation, loneliness Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.Apr 23, 2019.National Institute on Aging (nih.gov)
Loneliness can be thrust upon us due to circumstances beyond our control; moving to a location where we know no-one, losing our closest companion, health issues which change our ability to get out and socialize or simply getting old and feeling left out and left behind. These types of loneliness demand the resilience of inner fortitude. Max Ehrmann, the poet who wrote Desiderata had some wise advice.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
It is true that we can be in a roomful of people but feel very lonely and conversely we can spend much time alone yet never feel lonely; it really is to do with nurturing strength of spirit. Much loneliness is self inflicted. My Art of Living article says Self inflicted loneliness is the most soul-searing, yet it is the easiest to dispose of. The cure it prescribes is to do something for others for seldom can a heart be lonely if it seek one lonelier still.p.29.
Truly, the world is wonderful yet, at the same time, can be a lonely and frightening place. Living is messy and we don’t have a lot of control over many of its fortunes or afflictions. We cannot fix the world; that is in the realm of God, but we can do the good that is under our noses to do; we can reach out to the sick, the frail, the lonely, the aged, the lost, the disenfranchised and the discouraged. I bet if we do this we will not become a loneliness statistic.