You hear that with the coming of social media and the increase of "friends," little has been done to dissipate the loneliness in the world. It’s an interesting fact to approach – friends are supposed to alleviate loneliness.
The more the merrier, right? Let’s be honest, calling your Facebook friends actual friends is an insult to your real friends. These cyber-friends are acquaintances at best – often, not even that. To be completely honest with you, I’m not so much interested in my cyber buddies as I don’t consider them to be an important part of my life.
Many feel the same. I believe we’re moving past the illusion of friendship that such social networking sites have created over the years. It’s all starting to lose its appeal.
Whether social networking sites diminish or increase the world’s loneliness is an argument worth investigating. However, I personally find it all to be a joke. So instead I’d like to address the loneliness that so many feel every day of their lives.
Cyber friends aside, many individuals feel lonely in their daily lives. What’s even more surprising is that many of these lonely individuals, most even, have plenty of friends.
How is it that people can feel so miserably lonely when they have contact with so many individuals who care about them? Let’s do some theorizing.
What exactly is loneliness? It’s a sort of sadness, a sadness that is felt because we feel that we are lacking good company. Loneliness is the realization that something is missing in your life, that the company that you have is, in some way, insufficient.
Maybe you feel that your friends don’t care about you the way you wished they did. Maybe you feel that you care about your friends more than they care about you. Maybe you don’t really like your friends to begin with and wish you had better quality friends.
It’s even possible that you do have great friends, but aren’t seeing them enough or aren’t spending enough quality time with them.
It can be difficult to pinpoint the issue at hand when feeling lonely because no matter the culprit, the feeling is one and the same. One thing that I would like to suggest is that maybe, just maybe, it isn’t actually our friends who are making us feel lonely.
It may not be those whom we see and interact with who are unable to fill the hole we feel in our hearts and souls. Loneliness is definitely the result of a poor companionship, but it isn’t necessarily the companionship with others that’s making you feel so awful.
Companionship comes in many different forms, the most important of which is the companionships we have with ourselves.
This may seem like a silly concept. How can you be your own companion? It’s not that you can be your own companion, it’s that you must be your own companion. I can’t begin to write that I have a clear and full understanding of the human psyche and how the brain works, no one does, but I can speak from experience.
The one thing I can tell you is that the only friendship in life that really matters is the friendship you have with yourself.
You’re born alone and you die alone. You also mostly live alone. You alone may not be an ample substitute for all friendships in your life, but without the friendship and companionship you have with yourself, the others won’t do you any good.
Friendship is a beautiful thing because it makes us feel understood. It makes us feel others understand us, can see us for who we are.
This knowledge that we believe others to have gives us ground to stand on in times when we lose ourselves, when we question who we are as individuals and question what we have been doing with our lives. Friendship with others gives you an advantage in life. However, it isn’t entirely necessary.
As egocentric creatures, we greatly appreciate others for what they can do for us. This is not to say that we don’t appreciate them for the individuals they are, but seeing as how loneliness is an intrinsically egocentric emotion, I believe it fair to say that we see our friends, in large part, as means to an end.
The friendships that we build give meaning to our life. They confirm that we exist. That we matter. That we are who we believe ourselves to be. Our friends give us confirmation – confirmation that is very important when we aren’t able to confirm ourselves.
I’d like to argue that most people feel as lonely as they do because they have trouble dealing with the person they are. They have the people they believe themselves to be, they have the people they want to be and they have the abstract concept of the people they actually are.
We need this confirmation – we need to know the type of people that we are. Not only the type of people that we want to be or believe ourselves to be. We want facts. We want to know if we look from the outside the way that we look from the inside.
We want confirmation of our being and when we don’t get it, we feel lonely. Loneliness may be unavoidable, seeing as we are changing creatures, but it can be hindered. If there aren’t others to confirm the people we are for us, the only choice we have is to be our own best companions and confirm ourselves to ourselves.
When you know the person you are through and through, when you know your darkest corners and your brightest summits, you’re capable of giving yourself that needed confirmation.
We all want to be understood in order to feel that we are stable, living creatures and not only an intellect running rampant in a world without physical counterparts.
We all want to know who we are and want to know that the person we are from the outside is the person we believe ourselves to be from the inside – but this is uncertainty. We only need this sort of confirmation when we are uncertain of the people we have become. Know yourself and you’ll know the best friend you’ll ever have.