The many ways of being lonely


Loneliness perhaps would be a way of human life. Given how ‘ordinarily’ everyone of us have encountered it at some point of time or the other, the feeling of being lonely can be cited as just another of the many feelings perceptible to humans. An emotional response stemming from the ranges of the human heart and the mind and therefore quite natural but that which harbours in its expanse the potential to thwart off advances to further the very essence of life, loneliness today is increasingly plaguing the world population. Perceived as a threat to life itself, in being such an emotion that has the heart feeling heavy even when draining it of all substance, loneliness can be seriously disruptive a life experience to maneuver through. And yet we must, if we are to persist in this continuation of the life that the universe has granted us in all its worth.

To deal with loneliness, it though is essential to identify and understand where this particularly bearing exhaustion of the heart is exerting its force from. Despite loneliness having been popularly understood as a state of mind from where you are expected to ‘snap out of’ as friends and well wishers would put it, it though is by and large a response to the wide many things we encounter in our lives as we live through it. Which means loneliness takes off through the momentum it gains courtesy the happenings of our life. It indeed is possible for people to have loneliness ingrained deep into their psyche just because, without the need for any associated trigger to have them feeling in the dumps. In its continuation through the most part of life, not necessarily dependent on the presence of some factor or the lack thereof of them, such nature of loneliness has been identified as trait loneliness. On the other hand, that feeling of loneliness that creeps in by virtue of the environment you find yourself in and is not essentially an expression of the person you are, is understood as state loneliness.

Source: AZ Big Media

That however is a translation of loneliness just in terms of what it is and not in the greater understanding of why it tends to be. The basis from where loneliness stems encompasses a wide many factors that while might be universal is also as likely to be exclusive in determining what emerges out of it. Empirically though, loneliness can be mostly classified as social or emotional, with obviously many more subtypes of either, the interpretation of which is open to as many ends as there perhaps are people in the world. And while that might be somewhat exaggerated for us to say that loneliness perpetuates through more than a billion ways, there indeed exists many such causes and reasons and origins and therefore types of loneliness that what you know which explains why even all people who feel lonely whether at some or all times do not always resonate with each other in the way they are experiencing the emotions. Like every single emotional realisation, loneliness too is extremely personal. You likely know and understand what people mean when they come across as so vulnerable in their loneliness but you do not exactly own your awareness of it until and unless you too have really felt lonely.

This makes it impossible therefore to delineate every single type of loneliness there is. But because combating any affliction, whether that it be of the mind or the body, requires proper diagnosis in whatever context, so too being able to work your way out of the deep entrenches of the lonely feel would need you to be aware of exactly what is driving you to that feeling of haunting emptiness. Beginning with social loneliness since the reasons of it are more tangible and therefore a bit more convenient to gauge brings us to one aspect of existence that derives from the identity of man as a social animal. As the lonely feeling that arises because your social networks happen to be a constrained space and that which therefore does not offer much scope for free expression of your emotional needs, social loneliness seems easier to be dealt with.

But while this extent of social isolation that can lead one to feel lonely are mostly understood to be a fall out of the shy nature or socially awkward profile of individuals or stemming even from someone who do not see themselves as worthy enough to be capable or deserving of social inclusion, there also are other forms of this loneliness. This includes a range of such subtypes that dwell also at times in the emotional aspect of loneliness, overlapping therefore one another in the lonely spectrum to varying degrees, to the effect that this very delineation of loneliness types becomes obscured.

One such types of loneliness that is obviously a social thing but comes of course with profound emotional influence is what is encountered among such people who are nursing others. Not concerned with such professionals who do it as a job, though full time but still not as exerting as for those who are expected to care for their immediate family or such, even when that might all be in willingness and in good spirit. Again, it isn’t that professional caregivers or nurses are not susceptible to feeling lonely. But the extent of their loneliness deriving from this very reason is likely to be insignificant, allowing however for exceptions. Whatever that might be, what we are imploring in this tendency of loneliness to grip such folks responsible for the care of another is one that of course is an extension of social reasons, emerging from a less than optimal connect with the outer world since tending to an individual who cannot do things on their own leaves one with virtually no time for other things, including maintaining relationships or furthering the connect with society. Compounding also the extent of this loneliness are such exertions of the emotional as stress along with accompanying bouts of frustration, which makes losing oneself in all that overbearing play of the emotions a very susceptible ground for the lonely feels to take over.

But while loneliness like this would still perhaps come across as not very surprising, there is another category of loneliness that perpetuates in the same vein but on a surprisingly different pretext, that which relates to the world of parenting. Particularly for new parents and specifically for a new single mother or father, having a baby to tend to all the time can be an unexpected but very assertive factor of loneliness. This can sound very upsetting with all that excitement and new beginnings that herald the birth of a child, but it should be as alarming since in all the frenzy of the new born the parents often take a backseat as individuals and find themselves in just the role of a mother or a father. Parenthood is a transitional phase of life and one that is bound to be all jittery and apprehensive because it is another life you are wholly responsible of, outside of your own. With entire days and nights whiled away in the needs of the child with no opportunity to have a breather for yourself, forget about a social life, all while confined within the four walls of a house, sometimes even with no support, and all that loss of sleep and improper diet bringing unto you the moody blues, new parents often find themselves exasperated and exhausted, drained of physical energy as well as mental and emotional strength that makes them all the more prone to slipping away into the dark alleys of loneliness.

Loneliness of course perpetuates also because of such oft encountered causes of a romantic breakup or in losing someone you were very close to, even when that might have been an entirely platonic relationship. Not just breakups however, feelingly lonely in the romantic purview can also creep up in such cases when you are involved in a long distance relationship as it can with people who lament their lack of a romantic partner. Also common are such instances of loneliness in romantic relations where the connect seems to be missing and indeed majorly in toxic relationships or the essentially dead ones. Such realisations of loneliness can also be as recurring in other forms of relationship, say such friendships where either of the parties tend to be only namesake friends, with no deep understanding nor the urge to forge it. In discovering oneself as a mere acquaintance to the person they had hoped to confide all of themselves in, it is an intense form of loneliness that caters to them, shattering not just their mental peace but also their self esteem. And while loneliness can stem of such ‘outside’ reasons even when being rooted in the world of love and relationships, it isn’t unusual as well for people to be lonely even while staying within a family. Specially when you don’t have the support of the family members or do not really connect to them as well because of whatever differences, it can lead you to feel extremely lonely even when being surrounded by your blood kin. Which establishes the premise oft mentioned but less understood that loneliness isn’t necessarily a byproduct of being alone even it might sometimes be the reason of it.

Another very prevalent type of loneliness is what is known as situational loneliness and that which might also encompass transitional loneliness. Situational loneliness is the disconnect you come to experience as a result of moving out from your place to somewhere new, all by yourself as you leave behind your people and the support system that had you always up and about. It can stem also from other factors like a change in culture and language and experiences, to which people take time to adapt. Transitional loneliness is something similar, that arises when you make the switch to another job, another university, another relationship or another phase of life. What’s surprising though about transitional loneliness is that it accompanies also the positive changes that otherwise are making your life better. This can mainly be an outcome of having to do away with your comfort zone to explore the unknown that while is exciting can also be a bit intimidating. Both situational and transitional loneliness tends to be temporary, persisting till the time you manage to find your stronghold in the new environment, but can also continue well beyond just a couple of months or even years.

A rather less explored but not quite uncommon occurrence of the loneliness experience can be related to your professional life. The stress of work and the obsession with a successful career already is enough reason for emotional upheaval. All that, along with a lack of meaningful relationships with your coworkers can also push you into the abyss of loneliness, especially when you don’t even manage to garner as much as a courteous smile to lift up your spirits in the midst of a tiring day at work. Feeling isolated within your workplace where you spend a substantial part of your day is a more than probable ground for loneliness to find its way into your life. The extensions of such lonely feelings are more likely to grip you when you have been working from home all alone for quite a while, despite how unwinding this whole concept might come across as. With an immersion in the mundanity of work and no one to share a laugh or even your coffee with and perhaps also startled somewhat by the existential and identity crisis stemming from the confines of your subconscious, this seemingly rosy, ‘unbounded’ freedom of work from home can push you along such a path of loneliness you never knew existed.

With such myriad interpretations open to this unending saga of what characterise the ‘feeling lonely’ scenario, it never is possible to outline all the types of, even in primary classification. Loneliness is as unique an experience to each one of us as it is personal which means there isn’t ever a set number of ways to deal with it. The best you can do is acknowledge the feelings of loneliness that you experience and reach out for help without delay, either from professionals or from some nice, warm soul the world still is blessed to have.