You can be lonely even when you are surrounded by people. Loneliness is a state of mind. It is the perception of being alone and isolated that makes one lonely. A lonely child’s experience of loneliness is quite different from that of a lonely elderly man. Lonely people often crave for human contact but their state of mind prevents them from making such contacts. Low self-esteem is one of the causes of loneliness. Due to lack of confidence one feels isolated. Loneliness makes us moody, self-doubting, angry, pessimistic, shy and hypersensitive to criticism.
Loneliness is a universal human experience; its extent and impact varies from person to person. We don’t want to recall our lonely moments, because they spoil our present moments. It is said that a person’s state of emotions, self-definitions and relations are different when one is lonely. Some people can’t live without friends. Some people don’t seem to need friends at all. Disconnection doesn’t make them lonely. Loneliness of ordinary people is not the same as the loneliness of a Himalayan explorer. Loneliness of the alienated is too bothersome; one feels marginalised. Loneliness of the ordinary people is ordinary in nature, lonely, nevertheless. Lonely people are often cast as rejected, shy, intentionally reclusive, self-absorbed and self-pitying. Loneliness doesn’t provide self-protective isolation. Loneliness is an emotional handicap. Is loneliness a genetic trait?
Any company is not the right company. One looks for the right company. In the presence of ‘wrong’ company, one may feel lonelier. Loneliness is random. It makes its presence felt abruptly. It also ends suddenly. The right company vaporises loneliness. The wrong company condenses the vapours of loneliness. Random sociability is not an antidote to loneliness. ‘Relational deficit’ may cause loneliness. Filling the relation deficit may dissolve loneliness.
The loneliness of emotional isolation needs emotional remedy, like emotional re-attachment. The loneliness of emotional isolation has been likened to the distress of the small child, who fears being abandoned by his parents. The loneliness of social isolation can be remedied only by access to a network. The loneliness of social isolation is like the boredom, feeling of exclusion and feeling of marginality of a small child whose friends are all away.
John Cacioppo studied various aspects and the nature of loneliness. He says, being with others doesn’t protect one from loneliness. According to Cacioppo, emotions are more vital than social facts for causing loneliness. Too few acquaintances does not make one lonely. The feeling of discrimination makes one lonely. Lack of love of the loved ones is one of the biggest factors of loneliness.