That Terrible Feeling of Loneliness Learning to deal with loneliness is very important for one's physical and mental health

I’m so lonely (so lonely)
I’m Mr. Lonely (Mr. Lonely)
I have nobody (I have nobody)
To call my own (to call my own)
Akon’s song so aptly expresses the anguish of the feeling. The utter sense of loneliness when there is no one in our lives who truly care about us. The feeling of being inadequate and empty. The terror and the shame of others knowing that you are lonely. Believe me it is worse than any pain. A black hole that threatens to engulf you.

Recently, I met a school friend after nearly 25 years and I was deeply saddened seeing her state. She was so totally alone. An only child, she never married, her parents had died, she was jobless and most of her other relatives had moved away. Her neighbors she feels are antagonistic towards her. Gradually she has become alienated from the universe mainly because of a general distrust of the world. A world which today gives importance to success and money. A person without these trappings are looked down upon and generally dismissed as failures.

I was reminded of the time after I lost my mother, when I felt so alone in the world. In my grief I had to cope with a physically violent and emotionally abusive father. He would threaten to throw me out of the house. My brother who was really close once, did not want me around and literally shut me out at the behest of the porn-addicted cousin who wanted to isolate me so he could abuse me. Even though I was surrounded by people, I had no one who actually gave a damn about me.  The feeling of being a nuisance to your family, no one caring how I was feeling, no one bothering to understand my needs and nobody having the time to make me feel special and cherished.

Japanese psychoanalyst Takeo Doi, in his book The Anatomy of Dependence discusses at length the concept of amae, which means “the expectation to be sweetly and indulgently loved”

In his book The Belonging Heart Professor Bruce Hafen, uses the concept of belonging.  An exquisite spiritual and psychological freedom flows from fulfilling our inborn yearning to belong―our amae―a literal “freedom through belonging,” Our modern world has created serious barriers to relationships of belonging and loving interdependence. He elucidated the ills of today’s society that gives importance to individualism and independence leading to a feeling of alienation and lack of connection. It is the feeling of being in competition instead of cooperation and support that creates a society where one feels isolated and alone – “ours is the age of waning of belonging”

Ironically, it was her parents and her home that helped me overcome my deep, gnawing pain of being rejected. It was her mom, Aunt Amy who always made me feel cherished by making something to eat. As a motherless child that was the most caring gesture anyone could do for me. It was balm to my wounded psyche. So, it fills me with deep sadness to witness my friend’s loneliness.

Oh, how I want to give the same caring to my friend like her mother gave me, however she refuses to answer her phone. I can only pray that she reaches out and feels my love and the love of God.

A beautiful song ‘You are loved’ by Stars Go Dim

You are loved
If your heart’s in a thousand pieces
If you’re lost and you’re far from reason
Just look up; know you are loved
Just look up; and know you are loved
When it feels like something’s missing
If it hurts but you can’t find healing
Just look up, know you are loved
Just look up, know you are loved

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