Loneliness - Why It Has Become An Epidemic
Do you often feel lonely? If you do, you may spend a lot of time wondering what’s wrong with you. It may seem as if everyone else but you have lots of friends. It may seem like everyone else is always getting invited to go to exciting parties. And it may seem like you’re the only one who is left at home. Actually, loneliness is much more common than you might think. There is actually an epidemic of loneliness in many societies today. This may surprise you. So many especially women feel the wrath of loneliness. In my practice I deal with this on a daily basis. Some women are experiencing loneliness even when in relationships or being married. You just have to look at the divorce statistics and how many single women we have today. On the other hand I have had many men in my practice that also talk about how lonely they get. The pandemic hasn't made it easier at all with the many partners that are left behind having to play the role of mother and father.
"The loneliest place to be is when you are with someone in a relationship or marriage and you still feel alone" - Kissy Naude
After all, so many millions of us in the modern world are jammed close together in large teeming cities, and we have at hand all the technological conveniences that are supposed to bring people closer together, such as e-mail, telephones, faxes, and the Internet. Why are so many of us more lonely than ever? The reason is that society has changed very rapidly in the past two or three hundred years. Many of the social factors that used to make it easy to make and keep friends for a lifetime have disappeared.
Families have changed a lot in recent decades and especially in the COVID pandemic. A hundred years ago, most families were very large, with many children, aunts and uncles and cousins living close by. Family members often worked together on the farm or in a family business all day long. Today, families have shrunk in size, and family members are now so busy with their own separate projects, & busy lives, they rarely see each other. Families break up more often than they used to, and it is now much more common for family members to move thousands of miles away, to new jobs, new wives, or new husbands. People used to live in the same small community for their entire lives. They stayed in the same job for decades. These factors made it easy to make friends and keep friends.
Today, many people change jobs every few years, and they move to new cities or countries, and leave behind family members and friends. And many people today are very, very busy. In many ways, modern technology has not freed us from having to work harder. It has actually had the opposite effect of making us work harder and faster just to stay in the same place.
Another factor that contributes to increased loneliness is modern entertainment and communication technology. Before the advent of television and the Internet, people had ways of having fun together every day. Many of these primitive methods of having fun have almost disappeared in the modern world. In the old days, people used to actually talk to each other! They would play games together. They would make music. Now this sort of primitive entertainment only occurs during a power outage or being forced to spend time together with lock downs in the pandemic. Most people now feel lost without a TV set and computer. Even in the same family, people barely know each other. Some family members cry in silence and go through emotional traumas in silence and without wanting to share it with others as they don't want to "burden" others that are dealing with their own troubles. So many single mothers and fathers in their old age have to deal with being alone and for their children to be so busy in their own lives that they hardly get time to spend with these lonely parents. The increase in these modern forms of communication have actually decreased other forms of human interaction. I remember in the old days when I newly got marries, every Sunday used to be a family day where we would visit my mother or my grandmother. These days those practices are almost extinct. We really have to try and implement these old behaviours into our cultures & families again.
As people spend more time on the Internet, or with their text messaging, or playing games on computers, they are spending far less time actually interacting with the people around them. It has become a lot easier for people to cocoon themselves in their homes, and never see anyone. Many people are actually spending less time developing their social skills while they may be vastly improving their computer skills. In the modern world it seems almost everyone is pressed for time. Everyone is caught up in this "being busy pandemic". We are often far too busy at work to develop friendships, and when we come home exhausted at the end of the day, we are too tired to make plans to socialize. Some of us live in neighbourhoods where it isn’t really safe to go out after dark. It becomes all too easy to eat a quick supper and spend our evening hours mentally decompressing in front of the television set or computer. This has caused many to feel discarded and lonely. A feeling that is not empowering at all.
Let me know what you feel we should start doing again to encourage a society of personal interaction and for us to start feeling loved again and less lonely in our lives.