Ever have that feeling of emptiness or hollowness inside? Have there been times when you felt isolated from others or cut off from the world? Loneliness is that feeling. Loneliness is the feeling of being alone and sad about that, even when one is not alone.
We adopted a feral cat a number of years ago and he finally “bonded” with one particular family member. It is obvious how much he loves this family member and it is quite special to observe that bond. Recently that family member has had some medical concerns and has not been as available to the cat. You can actually “see” the loneliness in the cat. Being a feral cat it has always been hard to trust people but now he has to “reach out” in ways that have typically been frightening. His loneliness has driven him to take that risk. Not being able to explain to him what is going on makes it just that much more difficult for those of us watching.
Even knowing that loneliness is a passive state, it is often difficult to move ourselves out of it. People (and pets) can feel lonely due to any number of things: family illness; addiction; a move; a new job; or any life change. Sometimes we just need to embrace the feeling of loneliness; to recognize it for what it is in our life. Doing this for too long a period of time can cause us to become depressed and feel helpless. Those latter feelings are much worse for most people. So at some point we have to take action to move ourselves out of loneliness – just like the cat.
How do we do that? We reach out to friends and family; join clubs; talk to a therapist, pastor or colleague; or develop new interests. Before long that loneliness feeling will begin to dissipate. Until then know that you are not alone and, by taking one action step, you will begin to feel better in no time at all.
“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terribly poverty.” – Mother Teresa