I am reading Brene browns new book, Braving the Wilderness: Brene’s Website. Using my formulae of writing about what is on the page I open the book too, today we are discussing the rise of loneliness amongst our society. Sorting, or living and hanging around with people who hold the same beliefs as you have become more prevalent: in the American 2016 election 80 per cent of counties gave either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton a landslide victory. In 1980, 20 per cent of American reported they were lonely; the figure is double that now.
This seems counterproductive, sorting and loneliness. If we are living in a like-minded community, shouldn’t we naturally feel like we belong? In her book, Brene quotes neuroscience researcher John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago who has been studying loneliness for over 20 years. He defines loneliness as “perceived social isolation” and states we feel loneliness when we feel disconnected. At the heart of loneliness is the absence of meaningful social interactions —- an intimate relationship, friendships, family gatherings, or even community or workgroup connections.
So, what does society have to say about the state of loneliness? There were many negative quotes, but I have chosen to stay with the more positive aspects of loneliness:
1. Rocker philosopher Henry Rollins paints a beautiful scene with his words on the matter. How great is the term “A Special Burn”.
2. Can’t quite make out the name of who said this, but how many times have we curled up in life to our favourite tracks hoping that they will make the pain of loneliness go away: Perfect.
3. During my Mental Health crisis of six years, this thought was always in the background.
4. On this walk, you get to realise that it is you who has to make the final decision, alone or not: You’ll Never Walk Alone.
5. Two words – Self Love.
6. How we define a situation can clearly give it a different meaning: Solitude.
7. For those who have suffered the abuse, we wish didn’t exist on our planet.
8. Some people use escapism to get away from it: Time After Time.
9. There is someone I am hoping is thinking this at the moment.
10. John Steinbeck wrote this quote. He won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature” for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception.” He has been called “a giant of American letters,” and many of his works are considered classics of Western literature: Precious Things.
11. We assume that our life will remain the same, change is the reality.
12. Carl Jung knew that speaking up was the solution to loneliness. Time to make some requests: Don’t Speak.
13. I was not a hugger for 59 of my 64 years. They work.
14. Time to reach out when Satre’s prognosis is in place: Bad Company.
15. Find the Others.
Here are the final remarks from an interview between Bill Moyers and Maya Angelou:
Moyers: Do you belong anywhere?
Angelou: I haven’t yet.
Moyers: Do you belong to anyone?
Angelou: More and more. I mean. I belong to myself. I’m very proud of that. I am very concerned about how I look at Maya. I like Maya very much. I like the humour and courage very much. And when I find myself acting in a way that isn’t…that doesn’t please me—then I have to deal with that.
Today’s playlist begins with pop icon Ed Sheeran, then we fly back to the 1960’s with Jerry and the Pacemakers. Even further back to Billie Holliday. Then three fine female singers: Clare Danes, Bic Runga and No Doubt. One of the classic English rock bands Bad Company brings it to a close. Here’s the video playlist: Headphones On, World Off.
Namaste until next time, my dear friends.