Do You Feel Empty, Lonely, or Unfulfilled?
Even in this time of mass communications, smart phones, and social media, we remain accessible but not engaged. You still can’t snuggle up to an iPhone with much comfort or consolation. The more we rely on technology to stay connected, the lonelier we become.
Loneliness is a fact of life; we are all ultimately alone, separated from others by the boundary of our physical bodies. Yet the experience of loneliness is different for each person, and how we cope or cover up loneliness looks different for each of us too. In our fast-paced world of longer working hours and distractions, it’s difficult to develop and maintain meaningful relationships.
Lonely Doesn’t Mean Alone
Loneliness isn’t limited to those who live alone, and many people who live by themselves are very happy and not at all lonely. Be careful not to confuse alone and lonely; they are not synonymous. In contrast, many people who live with a partner, a family member, or a roommate feel desperately lonely.
Just because you have people around doesn’t mean that you don’t experience loneliness. In fact, the loneliest night you may ever spend could be lying next to someone you love. Just because two people live under the same roof doesn’t mean that they feel connected or free from the pangs of loneliness.
Whether you live alone or with someone, whether you are married or single, the number of people who provide us social support and friendship are dwindling. Even if you have one or two people on whom you can rely and in whom you confide, overreliance on them can put undue pressure on the relationships and cause distancing, which can lead to loneliness.
Even as relationship and behavioral experts, authors Pat Love and Jon Carlson have battled the plague of loneliness. It was only after a momentous meeting with the Dalai Lama that Love and Carlson began to develop an effective approach to loneliness that would recalibrate the way they understood relationships. Never Be Lonely Again: The Way Out of Emptiness, Isolation, and a Life Unfulfilled uncovers the five sources of loneliness, explains why loneliness is such a common but overlooked problem, and provides clear, practical pathways back to connection and fulfillment.