The Crippling Effect of Loneliness


Photo taken by the author; sunrise over a silhouetted NW Calgary neighbourhood 

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Upon what do you find meaning for your life?

What are those things you do, go to, or look for in order to find some sort of meaning in your life? You know what I mean: those idiosyncratic, impulsive, and compulsive habits you venture towards to contrive a sense of meaning and purpose for yourself.

Everyone these days, as in days of past, is on a quest for discovering meaning in his or her life. That is, both for the short-term and the long-term. We want to be significant and do things of significance for a significant reason. When our temporary, fleeting time on Earth is done we want to have contributed towards something that bears the mark of a life of significance.

People who know me know I don’t fare well with surface-level areas, but rather am drawn to and inclined towards deep and meaningful aspects. The kind that has an aura of permanence to it and sticks like concrete cement. I need things that last, that hold, and that matter. This is important to me – it’s who I am. For even though I do change, and that will not change, I am growing and learning new things all the time about myself, others, and the things going on around me.

Of course, the disappointment and frustration (along with a host of other dark emotions) comes when we don’t discover the meaning we were hoping for. Of all the human emotions one can feel in their lifetime, the worst one I have determined to be, after much contemplation, reflection, and experience, is loneliness. There is no other human feeling worse than this. Nothing can compare to it for nothing is as painful as it. And it sucks. Deeply.

When you are alone, it plays with your mind and you are capable of getting all those negative and distorted thoughts, often about things from the past or imagined scenarios about the future. All in all, it isn’t helpful or healthy.

I know this is not just me and that I am not alone in this one. It’s a horrible, miserable feeling and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone to experience; yet, we all go through this from time to time. No one is exempt and there are no favourite’s or exception’s to this part of the human, fallible condition.

Have you ever been in the middle of a crowd and suddenly you feel all alone? That’s what I mean. Or, have you ever been alone by yourself, without intention, like getting lost in an unfamiliar place? That also counts. Here’s another one: being stuck all alone on a Friday or Saturday night, hoping and desperately wanting to get together with someone – anyone. At any rate, it all contributes to this very unpleasant feeling and experience of being lonely.

To be alone is by far the worst of the emotions known to mankind. It goes against our natural tendency to not be surrounded by people, for it is in community that we are known, loved, and supported. It goes against the logical mind, for we intuitively know we are not meant to go through life alone, or at any point in between.



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