Loneliness is usually associated with isolation, and single people are typically perceived as lonely. But is it always the case? According to a study by American journal Psychology Today, 62.5 per cent of people who reported being lonely were married and living with their partner. Is loneliness a problem that can be solved, or is it simply a natural human emotion? Readers discuss.
Couples feel pressured to act happy
Let’s suppose you approach a person who is single and ask if he or she is lonely. He or she would not hesitate to give you an honest answer because there are no social expectations or standards that push them to conceal their feelings. Single people are in a position where they can tell you exactly how they feel, whether they’re lonely or not. On other hand, those who are married will hesitate to unveil their true feelings because of social expectations, obligations, or the stereotype that a happily married couple with children ‘complete’ each other. Even when you are with family or company, loneliness is a state of mind or emotional feeling that you can still experience.
While external pressures can make people feel worthless, it is important to remember that we are more than our singleness or coupledom. Single people may be alone, but they’re not necessarily lonely. Studies may claim to measure happiness, but I don’t think they can provide accurate measures of states of emotion and feelings, because these are very subjective. Therefore, there is no one solution in life; singleness is not a signal of loneliness, in the same way that marriage cannot always save you from loneliness.
The challenge of dealing with loneliness should be within yourself. Knowing what makes you feel lonely, and knowing that the feeling is not permanent, helps you cope. If you’re surrounded by people and feel lonely, you can make a connection with your creator and know the purpose of your life. There are ways to reach out to others by participating in different activities, especially volunteer work. More importantly, remember that nothing lasts forever. Not your feelings of loneliness, and not even your life.
From Ms Zenit J. Ahmad
Visual merchandiser, based in Sharjah
Emotional distance is to blame
The real cause of loneliness is failure to emotionally open ourselves up. In today’s world, people have become more disconnected. They’ve become so mechanical and practical, which leaves us all feeling isolated. Therefore, many think that getting into a relationship is the best way to deal with loneliness. The question is, how connected are you to the other person in the relationship? Are you truly emotionally invested?
Nowadays, people are more exposed to the rest of the world, and with social networking, everyone knows everyone’s lives. Most individuals can’t help but compare themselves to others, without realizing that the photographs they see might be lies. However, that comparison causes you to lose appreciation for what you have, making you feel unhappy. When it comes to partners, people can have so many options. They tend to think, ‘I’ll get better opportunities’, and thus become overconfident. Consequently, people and relationships are seen as being replaceable. Loneliness comes when no one wants to understand each other or disconnect emotionally. We no longer seek to fix what’s broken; we just want to get something new or different.
On the one hand, a spouse can offer social, emotional and financial support to help you get rid of loneliness. On the other, conflicts in a relationship can strain you, disappoint you and make you feel more alone. It’s one thing to be lonely when you are single, praying God will bring the perfect soulmate into our life. It’s an altogether a different scenario when your ‘soulmate’ is living with you, sleeping in your bed and you still feel lonely; the heart aches! Few people are not emotionally ready to accept that a romantic relationship comes with a tradeoff. We have to take the good along with the bad.
From Ms Deepika Kasturi
Finance professional, based in Abu Dhabi
Relationships matter, just not the romantic kind
Loneliness cannot only be associated with someone who is single. There is no proof that when you are not a married, you are less happy or less content with your life. The principle of balance governs the universe. That means, no matter how satisfied and happy you are today, there will come a time when loneliness will strike you. Human beings will not always feel joyful or dissatisfied. The pendulum is constantly moving; and so will a person’s emotions.
People are intelligent enough to make decisions that can positively or negatively affect their lives, so even loneliness can be dealt with and sadness can be completely avoidable. If you are surrounded by a lot of positive people whom you can easily get along with and do something that you enjoy, you will feel overwhelming joy instead of sorrow. And this feeling definitely completes you.
There are so many ways to keep from being lonely. A single person, like me, can be very active with various activities like sports, charity events and so on, that require attention and energy. These are only a few things that can be done to show that there’s life outside of building your own family.
Therefore, I firmly believe that loneliness is only a state of mind. Being alone is a matter of choice. Just because you’re single, doesn’t mean you’re no longer capable of building relationships. I do not necessarily mean with a partner, but even with people who can understand and respect you, like your family and friends. Their support will sustain the sense of belonging you need to live a great life. So, do relationships cure loneliness? It’s a ‘no’ for me, if you’re referring to a romantic one.
From Mr Melchor Oribiana
Sales and service team leader, based in Dubai
As humans, we all need to share
In my opinion, it all comes down to connection. Human beings have a basic need to connect, and there are different ways that this is manifested in our lives. Loneliness depends upon how well or how poorly we have made those connections with ourselves and the entire universe.
To start, people’s first relationship is with themselves; the relation between body, mind and soul. A person who has a good relationship with himself within is unlikely to be lonely in any situation. If I’m blissful on the inside, then I can spread that to the people around me. That feeling will flow to my immediate family and my surroundings. Single people can be very happy, as long as they can communicate to themselves.
Additionally, if a person is able to share through creative passion, he or she need not feel lonely. People in the creative field like writers, poets, painters, musicians can be single, but they connect to the entire world through their creations and are in harmony with people around them. Even after bad marriages, such individuals continue to derive happiness from within and contribute creatively to the world.
The same is true even for non-creative matters. Giving back to the world through interpersonal transactions or products and services is best way to deal with loneliness. You may not directly interact with people, but their feedback of acknowledging your contribution to their life will never let you feel lonely.
As for marriage, it is simply another way to find connection and fulfill that human need. If successful, marriage provides great opportunity to love, trust, care, and share. Furthermore, this union results in number of relationships e.g. Father, Mother, Spouse, Brother, Sister, Daughter, Son and respective in-laws. Even if there is a distortion in one relationship, a person has others to bank upon, thus the connections multiply.
Therefore, loneliness is not related to relationship status—it is related to the relationships around us. Society may have preconceived notions, but what matters are our transactions with the universe. Therefore, a person is responsible for his or her own happiness.
From Mr Parveen Kumar
Managing director, based in Dubai