Wide open spaces with no one around. A vast and dry desert with a lone tumbleweed whipping in the wind. Lying awake with only your continuous thoughts to keep you company. Rejection and watching a loved one walk away. All of these scenarios come to mind when we think of loneliness. But loneliness can also be found in a crowd of people. It can appear when you’re speaking to someone that you love. It can be the shadow following you around when you so desperately want to tell someone something, but you know they would not truly care.
Loneliness can track you down anywhere and show up in the most peculiar places. It can appear when you are scrolling through Facebook at one in the morning and refreshing the page to see if your crush noticed your picture. It can creep up on you when you’ve had one too many drinks and you want to reach out to someone. It can pop into your consciousness when you’re listening to others for so long and when you speak the sound of your own voice spooks everyone else. It’s in these interactions with others that we find that loneliness is an understatement.
Our society has conditioned us to be content with minimal interactions through a screen. We tell ourselves that we’re okay with this loneliness because we don’t want to come off as too needy. We cling to the hope that someone, somewhere will notice our silent cries for help.
Through all of those struggles to get attention from others, we forget that we often need our own attention. We forget that we are worthy of our own love that we’ve been unsuccessfully trying to give to others. The loneliness monster can contort itself into self-depreciation, isolation, and doubt.
It’s scary to know that your soul can be trapped in your body without anyone ever really knowing your inner thoughts. That is what true loneliness feels like. The worst part about this loneliness is that we are too focused on our own lost soul to see that others around us need help. Each and every one of us is trying to find the courage to speak the thoughts that haunt our minds. And until we find the strength within us to offer our stories, we will all hold on to the hope that this loneliness will pass.
That is also the comfort we can take away from this human condition. Self-sufficiency is needed more than ever, but we have the knowledge that others around us are experiencing some of the same thoughts on their journey. In a world full of people, we don’t have to feel so lonely anymore.