The Other Light..
April 13, 2021

This is for all the lonely people…

I think it’s fair to say that social media is making a wreck of how we understand ourselves socially. Many now use Instagram, Snap Chat, Tik Tok and what have you, to gauge whether they are living “right” or “like everyone else”.  I remember pre-internet (yes, I’m that old) – when we would compare ourselves to just those people around us. While that is not great either, at least it was in doses that didn’t overwhelm and numb. The “media” of the day was not as insidious, not as damaging to our self-esteem.

One of the many messages we get from social media today is that you are supposed to be surrounded by friends. You are supposed to be part of a “pack”, have a group of “besties”. The real truth of the matter is it’s not like that for everyone, in fact it’s not like that for most. Many people have a few close friends, many people have one or two. 

So here we are, so many of us growing into adulthood –  surprised at the loneliness. And worse, using that loneliness to somehow qualify who and how we are as people. We let our self-esteem take a punch because we don’t have the same social game going on as those we see on Instagram. If you think back to high school do you recall how you were socially? Were you part of a pack? Were you someone like me who engaged with different groups but never really joined one? Were you solitary with just one or two close friends? Your social network and relationships will probably look a lot like that in your later adulthood. 

People struggle with loneliness. It’s a hard thing – but inevitable in the course of a lifetime. When we are lonely we look at those “friend” images and wish we were different, wish our circle was different, and think it’s because something is wrong with us. 

There is nothing wrong with us. We have to carry loneliness no matter the context of our social life. There will be times where we are more connected, more in touch, more engaged with those around us – and there are times where the ache of a lonely heart will not be soothed. These are all conditions of the human experience. There’s no pill, no real intervention in my mind – other than to acknowledge that sadness, and accept that this is part of the journey. Sometimes there are hard truths.

We can live in the world believing that we are no good and hence “deserve” to be lonely. We can also say that sometimes life is hard, sometimes we will feel alone and lonely – and this too will pass. I will cherish whatever relationships I do have. I am worth loving and being loved. That, THAT, can be a salve. I love myself enough to accept that life will get lonely from time to time and it’s not a reflection on me. I am strong enough to carry that, and I will also have better days. 

Peace to you.

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