Self-isolation. We hear this every day now. People are flocking to make online connections so they feel less lonely. But is this really working?
Loneliness and isolation have been a reality for a long time. For some people, this is a miserably new experience. For others, they’ve walked the road of loneliness for years. The difference now is, more people can identify with what loneliness feels like. Technology has been their saving grace. Are we finally becoming empathetic toward others who feel alone? Are we realizing that we all long for connection…true connection, regardless of who we are?
We use gadgets and technology to stay in touch, yet the heart remains untouched. We touch our devices but seldom touch one another. We celebrate the masses of ‘likes’ we receive but we do not know, or celebrate, each other. What we indeed have are empty profiles filled with accolades and achievements but the person behind them remains unknown. We see a profile and a picture, but do not know the person. You can have an online presence but still feel unknown and lonely at a personal level.
Loneliness runs deep and it runs wide. Our quick fix online connections doesn’t mean it’s actually hitting the mark. Now that you know what loneliness feels like, recognize that it can effect anyone in all positions in life. It’s not just the loners, or the marginalized, who are struggling with this, many people do.
I will never forget a statement my professor made. She said, “Never overlook the nobodies.” She was referring to those who stand alone in the corner, or those that no one wants to talk to. She was saying nobody is a nobody; everyone has value. And maybe now that we’ve experienced loneliness, we will “see” the people we tended to overlook with new eyes. The title, the position, the status isn’t what matters, people matter! The desire to be known, accepted, and loved matters. The longing for our hearts to be deeply touched by the life of another, matters immensely.
Here are some questions to ponder: When has what you do, become more important than who you are? When has your accomplishments of service become more important than one life that was served? When was recognition, status, and popularity viewed with more admiration than hands and feet that humbly served others?
I hope this current crisis that will forever change how we view and relate to people. A person’s title is not as important as the person who is willing to serve for the sake of another. Each person holds a special place in the world. It’s not about valuing the online connections as much as it is about valuing the person! It’s about time we open our eyes, and our hearts, to those around us. Are you willing to make room for lonely people in your life, whoever they are?