What is Loneliness?
Loneliness is the lack of the human touch. It is living each and every day without the human contact that is critical to survival. Loneliness is going to bed every night without a kiss good night. It is the lack of a hug when you are hurting and the absence of warmth when you are cold.
Loneliness is having no one to tell your stories. There is no one to listen when you get home from work, and you need to vent about the horrid driver who cut you off on the way to work that morning. Loneliness is watching television alone, and there is no one to share the joke in a comedy or to grab your hand during a scary movie.
Loneliness hits at the oddest times. It will rear its ugly head when you are carrying in the groceries, and there is no one to help with the heavy stuff. It appears when there is that one jar in the pantry that you just cannot get open no matter what. Loneliness is having no one to tell you if your new perfumes stinks or if that skirt is really too tight.
You do not have to be alone to be lonely. Loneliness can be staring across the table at your partner, and you do not have a single thing to say. It can also be having something to say, but your partner is not interested in hearing it. Loneliness can be living with someone day in and day out for years, and you are wondering why you are there. Loneliness can be someone taking you for granted to the point that you feel like a piece of furniture. It feels like you are the wallpaper in a room that no one bothers to glance at; you are a vital component, and no one notices that you are there.
Loneliness can take you so deep inside yourself that even those who wish to reach you cannot reach that far. Loneliness can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It can become a never-ending spiral. Loneliness can become your beginning and your end. You begin to structure your life around your loneliness, and it perpetuates itself.
Loneliness can be directly caused by a loss. Loneliness is reaching out to the other side of the bed, and there is no longer anyone there. It is reaching for the phone and remembering no one will answer. There is no greater outward expression of loneliness than kneeling before a tombstone and pouring out your heart. It is the grandchildren you will never have, and it is the life events you will never witness.
The search for the cure can take many forms. Some pursue the company of others with an almost manic need for human contact. Others withdraw into themselves, fearing that any contact will fall short of their expectations. This belief leads them to fortify their walls of loneliness to avoid any possible hurt. Either scenario can have far worse consequences than loneliness itself.
If loneliness is your cross to bear, reach out. You do not need the company of thousands. One person will do. Once you have connected with one person, others will come. If you know someone suffering, reach out. You may be the hand that pulls one from the pit that is loneliness. Loneliness does not need to be the primary force in your life. There are options, and there is a way back.