See yourself as others see you?

Peacock (Pavo cristatus), displaying his tail,...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

beauty, ugly, beautiful, ugliness, peacock, plumage, rich, colourful, lonely, loneliness, full of life, full of joy, happiness

I met a girl the other day who is, by European norms, a pretty woman of 20. She is at university, with a good career ahead of her. She’s clever, sweet, kind, lively and attractive. She’s going out with a man who is darkly jealous, feckless and mean-spirited. She knows what he’s like, and she wants to dump him, but she’s scared that no-one else will want her. She thinks she’s fat (compared to contemporaries who are skeletal). The prospect of being on the shelf, in her culture, is horrific, even at the expense of an unhappy married life.

So she defies her parents (who detest the boyfriend) and puts up with the boyfriend’s horrible behaviour because she thinks he’s the best she can expect.

She’s not alone – how many young men and woman set themselves up for years of unhappiness and loneliness in much the same way?

What is it about our society that we bring our children up to feel unlovable? Can family influence outweigh the media brainwashing? What do we need to do to stop the growth of loneliness in our families and friends?

More people, less loneliness? Nonsense…

Crowds - melbourne show 2005

Crowded cities don’t help loneliness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The debate in Canada today is over a proposed increase in immigration to 100 million, and one journalist is quoted as claiming :”… it would end the “greatest price of under-population, (which) is loneliness: We are often unable to talk intelligently to each other, not to mention the world, because we just don’t have enough people to support the institutions of dialogue and culture…”

Population numbers have little to do with the degree of loneliness in that population. In cities, the more people squished into a small area, the greater the degree of social isolation, disaffection and disconnection, and the greater the risk of loneliness.

Loneliness is an emotion felt by individuals due primarily to their psychological and spiritual state, which depends largely on their personal history; there is a difference between chronic loneliness, which could have begun as a small child, and post-traumatic loneliness, which happens as a result of bereavement, separation, migration, unemployment, disability due to sudden illness or accident, and so on. But the answer to both is not found in the outside world, let alone in a high density of humanity. The only long term, profound answer is to be found inside oneself. Unless you are at peace with yourself, you understand that we are never truly alone if we learn to see the world and our place in it without blinkers (I’m not referring to any kind of religion) and you are in touch with your own source of life and energy, you will always be at risk of feeling lonely when your support group (family, partner, friends) are not around.

Canada has a difficult debate ahead, but it should take loneliness out of the equation. Even 100,000,000 people won’t solve the emotional misery of one lonely individual.

Have you ever been lonely in a crowd?

Beautifully expressed, and a central image I really liked – the protective blanket.

Mashed Up Memories

I was originally going to write about fear today, but after receiving an email from a friend and coming to a startling and sad realization, I’ve decided instead to focus this post on loneliness.

I used to think that I was the only person that felt lonely without reason. Reason being something concrete and measurable, like having no friends, or no confidant, or no one who would ask how your day was going or if you wanted to grab a cup of coffee before class. I used to think that loneliness was all in my head, a concept I fabricated when I was frustrated or on my period and craving chocolate and surprise delivery of deep red roses from an anonymous admirer. But now I think loneliness is more like a blanket that covers the entire world, and it really isn’t loneliness at all. It just this big sheet of warmth…

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Now there’s a robot to hug

This is a hugvie. Give one to your elderly relative and they can hug this instead of you. Is this brilliant innovation and a solution to a chronic problem, or a symptom of society gone bananas? The price quoted in this piece from Khaleej Times is a bargain £37, so would you buy one or several? For your kids? For your parents or grandparents? For you??