Overcoming Loneliness, Part II
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?"1
Continuing our series on loneliness, psychologist Norman Wright in An Answer to Loneliness quotes one lonely woman who said, "I hurt deep down in the pit of my stomach, my arms and my shoulders ache to be held tight . . . to be told that I am really loved for what I am."
"Deep within each of us is the hunger for contact, acceptance, belonging, intimate exchange, responsiveness, support, love, and the touch of tenderness," says Wright. "We experience loneliness because these hungers are not always fed."
For example, a child feels lonely when his parents are too busy for him. But to whom can he turn? The adolescent feels lonely when he feels misunderstood by his parents. A mother of small children feels lonely when she is too busy to have her own needs for companionship met.
When married couples cannot communicate effectively, especially with their feelings, loneliness can cut deeply.
When one loses a loved one through death or divorce or is isolated through illness, he or she feels incredibly lonely.
The elderly, who are often cut off from their families and whose friends have passed away, know the bitterness of loneliness.
People who feel inadequate are often lonely. Because they don't like themselves, they think others don't like them either, so they tend to withdraw, at least emotionally, from other people. Sometimes hidden hostility is a cause for loneliness. The hostile person is angry at people so he prevents them from getting too close through his negative attitude.
Another cause of loneliness is fear—fear of getting hurt, fear of rejection, fear of not measuring up, fear of losing a loved one, fear of failure, and so on. For instance, when Sharon was five her father left home, and she felt rejected by him. Ever since, she has had an unconscious fear that if she ever fully loved another man, he would leave her too. Thus she was afraid to fully love her husband until she realized why she was holding back from him.
To be continued . . .
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, when I am feeling lonely help me to find a loving church/group where I can discover a sense of belonging and feel that I am contributing something worthwhile to others. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 (NIV).