Loneliness is not a psychological disorder. It’s an emotion one feels with consequential impacts on a person’s psyche and mood. Humans have an innate need to form strong connections with other humans. Every single person knows what loneliness is. We all learn to get used to it. But how far does this affect us?
As children, we are relatively expressive of our pains and joys. When something hurts us, we may cry, whine, and search for a solution to the pain. As we gain age, we realize these emotions we feel are the cause of things beyond our control. We understand that it’s common for people to lose their close ones and that no amount of pleading and crying can get them back. We find out that loss and grief are inevitable, as is rejection and the feeling of not being unique. Over time, we take these aspects of life in stride and suppress all the emotions of sorrow and weakness as we can’t do anything about them. After all, the only solution is to find people to form connections with and spend time with them, and good friends are hard to come by.
Problems seem more complicated and are more tiring to people when facing them alone; it’s easy to become pessimistic. Lonely people are much more likely to have depressive episodes and be prone to low self-esteem, self-hatred, suicidal tendencies and depression.
Loneliness can desensitize people to the feeling of sorrow until it becomes the person’s new normal. And though they might at this point think that they are no longer lonely and believe they’ve outgrown the pain, the truth is it’s impossible not to be affected by the lack of friendship as a human. At this stage, things like stress, anxiety and the fear of abandonment are high in a person’s mind. Being alone suddenly feels more accessible than the action of sharing their thoughts and feelings with another person. The idea of being close to someone else seems scary. After all, lonely people have firsthand how easily people leave and how hard it is to find someone you want to be open to fully. There’s a fear that if they open up, the person might not be interested and leave. No one wants to spend effort into sharing their thoughts and feelings, only to have them unappreciated.
It’s important to understand that finding a friend and opening up to that person is the most life-altering thing a lonely person can do. Sharing a life with someone is not meant to be tiring, scary or high-effort. The rate at which your mind develops and grows goes upward when you’re in a loving relationship. Human bonds are mutually beneficial and sources of comfort, joy and belonging. Once you can trust and love someone for who they are and be loved back, you will discover many amazing things about what it is like to be human and have a friend. So as hard as it is, you must allow yourself to be vulnerable so that you realize what it means to be strong. For strength is in love and friendship, not in solitude.