“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other” Mother Theresa
As we all stay at home, for the sake of our loved ones, our vulnerable ones, and our elderly ones, we are faced with a growing realization.
We need one another.
‘Self-isolation’ has taught us the intrinsic value of community, companionship, and togetherness. Now more than ever, we have a collective sense that human beings are social creatures. We have a basic human need to feel connected to others, to feel like other people care about us, and that we matter.
The more we are alone during this pandemic, the more acutely we feel how necessary other people are. For those who are single, or living alone during this time, we feel this the most intensely. The single folks don’t have kids to Tik Tok with, spouses to cuddle or family dinners to prepare.
We are here, quietly cooking meals for one, and generally glued to our screens.
Our phones become our lifelines. Social media might help us feel connected, or at least distracted. But it is physical, in-person contact and emotional connection that we needed all along.
A Social Pandemic
It is a lonely time. And no amount of social media pep talks, or even Facetime dates or Zoom meetings will erase the longing these alone people feel for human contact. It is also possible to feel deeply alone surrounded by family or friends. We seek emotional connection, vulnerability, and intimacy.
Loneliness is a social pandemic. We might feel more lonely now as this global health crisis forced us into our homes. But what we are starting to realize is that we have been lonely all along.
Loneliness and Addiction
We are the single more addicted adult cohort in human history. And addiction is a disease of loneliness and isolation. There are skyrocketing levels of addiction – to work, sex, alcohol, drugs, shopping, porn, video games. That says nothing to our burgeoning addiction to our cell phones and personal devices. This was true long before anyone ever heard of COVID-19.
Our collective addiction is the red flag that we have become more and more lonely – well before ‘social distancing’ happened. Loneliness has already been eroding our communities and our own sense of well-being.
Now more than ever – reach out to one another.
Call a friend you never talk to, take a social risk that although it might feel awkward, it feels better in the end. Set up an online ‘party’ with your friends. It is better than nothing!
Reach out for professional support if you need it – lots of practitioners are willing to decrease their price. Don’t let money get in the way of getting support. Be kind to each other, be gentle with yourself.
Feeling lonely is okay. And know that you are not alone.