Mental Health

Loneliness exposed

Years ago, I noticed more and more people in restaurants sitting at the same table but not speaking to each other.  Instead, they were looking at their phones. Whenever I go to the mall, there are always people there lounging on the benches and plush fake leather chairs looking at their phones.

I have a hard time watching videos of little kids doing or saying cute things because in order to capture that moment, a parent had to be removed from the moment to video it and kids are learning that private moments don’t exist and everything’s a performance.

Because of this, I’m not sure why people are making such a big deal out of social distancing when we, as a culture, have been distanced and isolated from each other for a very long time.

Among other things, could the Coronavirus be shedding light on how lonely people are? This is a genuinely scary time on so many levels. This is a time when we need to connect the most. We need each other. We don’t know what’s ahead of us, and coping is going to be hard.

Maybe, we can start small. Really small. Maybe instead of doing something or posting something on social media to be heard, to be visible, maybe we could reach out to someone privately without making it into a “heartfelt” video to share hoping it will go viral and make us famous, and just say, “hey, are you okay? How are you doing? I’m thinking about you. I’m scared, and I wanted to talk to someone.”

There is nothing wrong with feeling alone. Everyone feels alone sometimes. There is nothing wrong with being lonely and reaching out. Just remember that meaningful connections are intimate, and meaningful connections are a two-way street involving expressing and listening.

Reaching out in a meaningful way might be the balm our souls need right now.

by Jenkf

I'm a poet and yoga teacher living in Montana on the Flathead Reservation. By far, my greatest gift is being able to always be myself. In my 40's, I decided to become a yoga teacher and learn how to salsa dance. I also ran my first half marathon. Life is filled with adventures waiting to happen.


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