I recently came across an article (yes, on Facebook) about
loneliness. My dear friend pointed out how ironic it was that I
was looking at this article on perhaps one of the worst
cultivators of loneliness.
Of course he was completely right. I often feel lonelier trying
to connect through social media than I would have if I’d just
stayed off and read a good book.
I have discussed with many people the double -edged sward
of face book or the two faces of face book. One the one hand I
love the fact that I can connect with relatives or friends that I
would not stay in touch with otherwise. One the other hand I
can feel really bad after wards comparing my life and my
success (or lack there of) to that of others. “Comparing my
insides with other people’s outsides” is a Molotov cocktail and
when you drink it the result is depression and loneliness.
It’s embarrassing to admit that you are lonely. It suggests that
you are unlikeable or unable to make friends. Or it suggests
that you are needy and need constant company or validation.
That’s ridiculous though, because it’s simply part of the
human condition. Whether you are in a relationship, part of
couple, or single or somewhere in between, we all experience
it. Though it is common, it is also a precursor to more serious
problems. The article that I read said that it shortens your life
So what is the solution? I made a suggestion that we should
have groups where people just come and talk about issues.
I think that synagogues (and churches or any other spiritual
structure) are an appropriate place to start addressing and
combatting loneliness. To be completely honest, I no longer
work in synagogues full time or enough to suggest this kind of
programming. One of the reasons is because of my particular
Issues, I did feel isolated and alone in any institution. I feared
my childhood issues and adult mistakes in navigating my life
would make me “too weird” to feel comfortable there.
So many people fear this. In this frightening time I feel that it’s
up to us to combat loneliness whenever we can. If you are able
to facilitate a group where people get a few minutes to talk,
commiserate and share their wisdom and strength. I would be
happy to facilitate such a group. So if you are reading this and
feel that would work in your place of worship let me know.
A feeling that no body could possibly understand what we are
going through can only precipitate hopelessness suicidal
I believe everyone has his or her own version of feeling this
It’s not a crime or an embarrassment to be lonely. It’s
simply a by-product of our humanity. I don’t think it’s that
difficult for us to begin to mitigate these feelings and to help
each other along the way. What do you think?