Loner or Lonely?

October 8, 2010
(This is my L post for ABC Wednesday Contest)

Most of the times, I am a loner.  I just love my company.  Love to be with myself, and talk to myself.  Leave with alone with a book or two (even a newspaper or magazine would do), some music of my choice, a paper and a pen to write, a pencil to sketch, that's all I need. I can sit like this for hours without speaking a word to anyone. I can be silent for hours and never feel the need to fill that space with words. It's bliss for me.

But then I've had my share of loneliness too.... that very silence, which I so love, comes to hound me.... that very space becomes a void..... I get uncomfortable with myself at times, and look of approval outside.  I've experienced it all. Now let me ask you, the reader.....

Have you ever felt alone in a mall bustling with shoppers?  Felt the deafening silence of nothingness in a discotheque or a party?  Felt nobody needs you and nobody is there for you, chances are you are becoming the part of the lonely tribe which is increasing in numbers all over the world.  People are increasingly feeling lonely - age, gender, occupation does not matter.

In the age of social networking, virtual friends, round the clock updating of your activities on Face book or Twitter, having a robust number of "Friends" on FB, why are we getting more and more lonely?  Even, if you have your occasional friend's get-together, family dinners etc., don't you feel something amiss somewhere.  Is it not the genuineness of relationships that we miss these days? The warmth of true and caring relations? What do you say?

Loneliness is increasingly being seen as a clinical condition, no longer as an indulgence.  It has bad effect on a person's health and can be contagious too. (On the lighter side, I read that Divorce can also be contagious amongst friends!)


Starting from the most obvious age group is elderly people or couples.  The nuclear family, children studying or working or staying away are some of the well known factors of  loneliness in elderly.  Also, the couples who kept the marriage alive or rather chose to be the marriage only for the sake of children's future ultimately tend to feel empty and lonely - devoid of anything to look forward to in their most personal relationship.
Middle age


I just don't know how to define this age! If we go by years, then the quality of health services available and the awareness about health issues now are making an urban citizen better off than what it was earlier.  I read that the life expectancy has gone up now.  So middle age could be 40-45 years, may be.

The other factor of determining, generally, what is middle of one's life can be how old one's kids are.  As kids till 11-12 years need a lot of attention, and afterwards learn to handle themselves, as far as basic things like feeding, dressing up, studying etc is concerned.  But, the point is that overall the marriageable age of both girls and boys have gone up considerably in last few years.  These days it's OK for boys to marry at 30 and 27 is not late for girls, so by the time they have teen-aged kids, they would have reached the mid of their lives, as I think about it.

AM TRYING TO UNDERSTAND MID LIFE CRISIS!  As I have understood midlife crisis (?) is when your kids don't really need you as a parent so much, and they begin to see you and judge you as a person, and as a person you know you have reached where you headed to years back... and as an individual you have understood and accepted your weaknesses and your shortcomings (as opposed to the days when you believed you can change the world!), you know you have hit the mid age, now it depends on you, what you do with this feeling.

The Youth is Lonely too

The stiff competition in every field, the peer pressure, the role models being the hep film actors, the expensive life style (to keep up with), with parents giving less attention to children's emotional needs or a disturbed family life can be a few factors why youngsters can get lonely at heart. Also, a romantic relationship trouble or not being able to keep pace with studies or a family tragedy, any such thing can affect the psyche of a youngster.

Technology, I was reading about Internet addiction today (52% of kids spend about 5 hours daily on Net), Cyber bullying, addiction of online games, thereby lack of social skills are aloofness can certainly affect the life of a youngster, pushing him or her in the shell of loneliness.


People feeling 'lonely', I read somewhere, tend to look within, searching for happiness, finding ways to fill the void, sometimes by material abuse also.  Although, personally I have felt that the during the pangs of loneliness I have tried to look for a solution outside, tried to fill up the void by things and activities like reading, watching more TV, involving more with friend circle for frequent outings.  It's like I've tried to fill up every possible nook and corner of my mind and my heart with anything available easily to me.

Sometimes, it may help, when you strike the right chord by choosing an activity which fulfills your needs giving you the much needed mental peace.  Sometimes, you may be lucky to find that reliable friend who pulls you out of your loneliness, so it depends on you how you think you can be helped.

Yet another way could be associating yourself with helping other people in need.  Joining a NGO in whatever little way you can; to some yoga and meditation or gyming may suit.  I know, we people are busy and at times, we don't have time to deal with our own mental state, so joining a NGO is quite difficult.  But even a visit to a blind school, or an orphanage or a school or institution for small kids of weaker section run by NGOs or an old age home and then spending a few hours with them, learning how can one contribute to their cause, not necessarily financially but otherwise, also makes a depressed person feel better.

I learnt about one such thing, when I visited a Blind School and was told that I can contribute by recording my voice reading the textbook lessons of social Studies or Hindi or Science for the blind school children.  You have to believe me that it actually made me feel so good about myself, when I begun to go for these recordings on my weekends. 

So, the way to deal with your loneliness can differ, but definitely, it is YOU who knows how to deal with yourself.  It's equally important to do some introspection and find out what has left you so empty, so lonely and so desperate and then deal with the issues slowly. 

A depressed and lonely person should always remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I should not give up so easily and also "I will be a phoenix when I rise out of my ashes" and YES, it's possible.

I had read a Hindi novel long back, and these lines really touched my soul and I always remember them, when in crisis :

तुमने एक ही बार वेदना में मुझे
जना था माँ
पर मैं बार बार अपने को जनता हूँ
और मरता हूँ
पुनः जनता हूँ और पुनः मरता हूँ
और फिर जनता हूँ
क्योंकि वेदना में मैं अपनी ही माँ हूँ.
( पुस्तक : नदी के द्वीप लेखक : अज्ञेय )

These beautiful lines written by Indian author Agyey mean that a mother gives birth to a baby after bearing the labour pain only once. But, the child grows, and sometimes his life puts him through pain and sufferings, which almost kill him but he endures everything and resurfaces. He gives birth to himself each time he learns to fight back and emerge as a winner, hence throughout his life, in his moments of pain he becomes his own mother in labour.

Have you ever felt lonely? What did you do to deal with it? Do write to me...

image courtesy: http://pursuitist.com


Roger Owen Green said...

Great post!
Yes, I have felt lonely in a crowd. I am not sure why.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

mrsnesbitt said...

Can you translate the words? A very powerful and emotive contribution to ABC Wednesday. Thank you so much.

ABC Team

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

I go to the shelter of the skies and watch the stars. My answers come from above.

Anonymous said...

Most of us have been raised in a crowded family, and are taught to cherish the community, but very often we do acquire
an impulse to break away. It is often a self-destructive side in us and the bouts of fury and moments of anger that make us to cut ourselves off from the pleasant company of our community. Having said that, often, company kills our imagination as we drown ourselves in it and we need the pain of loneliness to make our imagination work, to show our
creative side up. When we do that we feel happy. But being Indian, we do need the consoling tenderness of the community, which we may have destroyed, by the relish of loneliness.

NeoTheHack said...

I think the best way to deal with 'loneliness' is to talk... make a confidante...and then talk your heart out. He/She will listen...will be a part of of your "loneliness" that you cherish. A true confidante - one who leave you the way you are - is the best bargain.

NeoTheHack said...

You Ask "Have you ever felt alone in a mall bustling with shoppers? Felt the deafening silence of nothingness in a discotheque or a party?" But, do you know, you can be in the midst of a thousand strong crowd, when you are just spending your time alone in your room? Ya.. you are right, it's all there in the mind.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Roger - yup I guess happens with sensitive people. glad u liked the post!

mrsnesbit - The translation of the poem is just beneath it. I like writing for ABC contest, so pleasure is mine :)

BA - (hope this abbreviation is ok with you?) ah, yes, sky sea mountains, they absorb our negativity, what say?


S.R.Ayyangar said...

It is very important to cultivate some kind of hobby (BETTER TO BE LATE THEN NEVER) to keep one selves busy. This hobby can drive you away from feeling lonely.

Arpana said...

Life is name of loneliness,simply try to chalk out since the birth how many activities we did with the people or our own people -birth, illness,marriage or fighting odds of life--if you don't mean the crowd of life. Then why do we get scared with loneliness,indeed we find myriads way to enjoy it.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Asmi - You have said a lot of things in your comment. Role of community, i think, it is only to some extent. I am not talking about physical lonliness.

Sometimes, u have to bear the pain of lonliness in order to get your creativity out, is what u said. I feel it is the other way round. Our creativity is at its best, when we are undergoing pain. It works like that for me! yes, provided, you are a fighter, and you want to help yourself.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Neo, loved ur comments on this post!

By the way, u can not cherish ur lonliness. can you? You can enjoy being in your company, and such ppl are called LONERS. They are happy with themselves. and don't miss anything or anybody.

But being LONELY is painful. Talking may help. But mostly, it doesn't. A change of heart, a completly different direction in life, a different way to channelize ur energies, I mean a sea change in the way you perceive things and then taking baby steps to help yourself works.

It's your inner strength basically, which helps you or otherwise, lack of it destroys you.

What say you? btw, let me know your views. this topic is close to my heart.... as you say sensitiveheart!

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Arpana - appreciate your view point. I think remaining practical about life helps keep depressing thoughts away.

If you keep running after life, you won't have time to think, why are u running, and where do u want to reach! So u'll hardly feel lonely.

this is my loud thinking only.

thanks for sharing


Anonymous said...

Well, Yes. for quite a time, I use to cherish my loneliness. and for that matter, I would say, i was much of a loner during my childhood days. Cant't say lonely is painful or not. may be your perception. Again here, i would like to reiterate what i said in suicide post, its not the initiative of the loner to talk.. but rather..the environment to realise that someone is lonely and then reach out to him. This is my perception. I agree about inner strength. Its this thing that make you cherish or feel blue about being lonely.

IN other post, you said.. creativity is at best when you are in pain.. i remember Shelley's lines.. our sweetest songs are those tell of saddest thoughts.... well.. what you are writing out here.. i think this is your best..? so does that really mean you are in pain or a loner..??

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Neo, I believe in the good old saying "God helps those who help themselves". So, would always try to help my self in difficult situations instead of waiting for someone to understand me, i mean the family or friends. That never happens. That is what inner strength is all about.

Well, yes, i am at my best till now, and improving each day! learning each day! can't say more than that :)

Shitij said...

Very nice article...especially the lines "I get uncomfortable with myself at times, and look of approval outside".......that is so true.....I believe people who love being alone realize that the real battle is inside (and not outside)...they know that all answers lie within...that real world will cause sufferings and disappointments.....yet sometimes there is this strong urge to find approval from outside....human nature so Baffling and Contradictory.....


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