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Feeling of Loneliness

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Loneliness is an emotional state in which a person experiences a powerful feeling of emptiness and isolation. Loneliness is more than just the feeling of wanting company or wanting to do something with another person. Loneliness is a feeling of being cut off, disconnected from, and alienated towards, other people. The lonely person may find it difficult or even impossible to have any form of meaningful human contact. Lonely people often experience a subjective sense of inner emptiness or hollowness, with feelings of separation or isolation from the world.



The first recorded use of the word "lonely" was in William Shakespeare's Coriolanus.

Distinction from solitude

Loneliness is not the same as being alone. Everyone has times when they are alone through circumstances or choice. Being alone can be experienced as positive, pleasurable, and emotionally refreshing if it is under the individual's control. Solitude is the state of being alone and secluded from other people, and often implies having made a conscious choice to be alone. Loneliness is therefore unwilling solitude.



In their growth as individuals, humans start a separation process at birth, which continues with growing independence towards adulthood. As such, feeling alone can be a healthy emotion and, indeed, choosing to be alone for a period of solitude can be enriching. To experience loneliness, however, can be to feel overwhelmed by an unbearable feeling of separateness at a profound level. This can manifest in feelings of abandonment, rejection, depression, insecurity, anxiety, hopelessness, unworthiness and meaninglessness. If these feelings are prolonged they may become debilitating and serve to prevent us from developing healthy relationships and lifestyles. If the individual is convinced he or she is unlovable, this will increase the experience of suffering and the likelihood of avoiding social contact. Low self esteem will often trigger the social disconnection which can lead to loneliness.



In some people, temporary or prolonged loneliness can lead to notable artistic and creative expression, for example, as was the case with Emily Dickinson. This is not to imply that loneliness itself ensures this creativity; rather, it may have an influence on the subject matter of the artist.





[edit] Common causes

People can experience loneliness for many reasons, and many life events are associated with it. Most people experience loneliness for the first time when they are left alone as a baby. Loneliness is a very common consequence of divorce or the breakup or loss of any important long-term relationship. In these cases, it may stem both from the loss of a specific person and from the withdrawal from social circles caused by the event or the associated sadness.



Loss of a significant person in one's life will typically initiate a grief response; here, one might feel lonely, even in the company of others. Loneliness may also occur after the birth of a child, after marriage or any socially disruptive event, such as moving from one's home town to a university campus. Loneliness can occur within marriages or similar close relationships where there is anger, resentment, or where love cannot be given or received. It may represent a dysfunction of communication. Learning to cope with changes in life patterns is essential in overcoming loneliness.




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