The Age of Loneliness

A few months ago I was flicking through the channels when I came across a documentary on BBC 1 called ‘The Age of Loneliness’.  I don’t usually watch much TV but something about this caught my attention.

Loneliness has been a hot topic recently, especially since that John Lewis advert , which although mocked, actually highlights a real problem in our society – loneliness.

The ‘official’ definition of loneliness as per Dictionary.com is:

1. affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome.
2. destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse,support, etc.

How horrible that anybody in our society should feel this way, destitute and alone.  I had a preconception of loneliness as being mainly older people but according to the documentary, this isn’t the case.  There were older people but there were also people who have moved to a new place, stay at home mums, divorcees

One thing that struck me about all these people was the sense of shame involved in admitting that they are lonely, almost as if there is something wrong with them.

I want to give these people a hug and tell them that there isn’t anything wrong with them at all.  Loneliness is an awful thing, it’s a pit, a feeling of incompleteness but it doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with the person.

Why is loneliness such a problem in our society?

I’m not an expert in this area but from my own layman’s perspective I think it is things like loss of community, people moving to new towns and the death of a spouse.

Wouldn’t society be a better place if we all made a bit more time for each other and looked out for those around us.  I know time is an issue, we have never been more busy but even half an hour would make a difference.

One thing to note is that the BBC 1 documentary obviously has an angle that it is reporting from, a story that it wants to put across.  It looks at a very small number of people.  For a more balanced view you would need to look at a number of other sources.  It cannot be denied, however, that loneliness is a problem in our society.  It would be interesting to look at how loneliness today compares with that in previous generations.

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