Loneliness is a fact of life and each of us at sometime will need to learn how to cope with loneliness. Well, that is not very encouraging nor will it help me to cope with loneliness. It is a first step. There is not one person on the face of this planet who has lived a few years who has not faced loneliness, perhaps many times.
Loneliness can be temporary; your spouse is out of town on a trip and you miss them. Maybe you are the one traveling and you are alone in a hotel room. If a spouse is away at war, you not only face loneliness but you also battle worrying about your loved one.
Some loneliness is much more permanent because of the death of a friend, parent, spouse or a child. Loneliness can also come from a relationship break up or a divorce. Loneliness that has no timeline, no endpoint or future reunion, brings a permanency of your grief and hurt.
You may see yourself as a lonely person not because of the absence of a particular loved one, but because you spend the majority of your hours alone. Perhaps you have no family or just a few relatives, who you do not see much. You may lack friends and find yourself facing life all alone. You might spend many more hours by yourself than you do with others, leaving you longing to have someone with whom to share the adventures of life.
Loneliness leads to anxiety, stress and even depression. Loneliness literally hurts. I heard it described once by a young woman as a physical pain in her chest from the grief of her husband’s death and the loneliness that took his place.
I have a close friend who lost his wife from cancer. After a recent visit he told me as I was leaving that he had to figure out how to fill the rest of the day so he wouldn’t be lonely.
Can someone be lonely with people around? Yes; people are not the answer to loneliness. If it was simply being around people, individuals who live in large cities would never face loneliness. Yes, people can take up some of our time but loneliness runs much deeper. The answer for loneliness is the same answer for so many of our hurts and pain in this life.