I’ve never felt so lonely as in a crowd full of people I’m not a part of. There are just so many opportunities to connect, but yet not connection. So many rivers to cross, but no bridges in sight. I was going by the St.Patrick’s parade and my silhouette faded among people’s cheers and laughter. A whole bunch of happy drunks were crashing against the hood of my car as I’m trying to get through. There’s green everywhere and the party was at its peak. I wasn’t invited. Even though there were many warm smiles inviting me in the doors were closed.
There’s something be said about that and it’s often very common for people to feel that way. If one cannot communicate emotions efficiently one cannot also perceive communications efficiently. Maybe that crowd was ready for me and I could’ve blended right in. Maybe they wanted me to be part of the celebration but I missed the cue. I want to also mention that I was way to caught up in my own emotional turmoil to catch others’ signals. Crowds for me create a sort of lump in the throat. I get angry and I want to get away. They’re just rubbing it in my face. They have the friends and I do not. It reminds of all the times no one called me or invited me anywhere. Now I must live with all the past emotional feedback and be almost oblivious to any new communication.
Perceived social isolation (loneliness) is more closely related to the quality than quantity of social interactions, explains Cacioppo in his 2009 study . It doesn’t matter how many people there are if you cannot connect to anyone. Loneliness is just another emotion actually and emotions are feedback. He goes on to characterize loneliness as “a social pain that evolved to motivate one to take action that minimizes threats or damage to one’s social body”. Socializing is a key survival instinct in humans. The feeling of loneliness is just another call that we need to go out there and connect.
That leads me to believe that loneliness generated the range of emotions that I felt going through the parade yesterday. Especially with such a large crowd, my mind is telling me that there’s a lot of work to be done. Now I need to put my emotions aside and clear my mind. That will allow me to create room for all the positive and friendly emotions; emotions that I can get from others. I guess that’s what they mean when they say open up. They mean connect, and for that to happen we need to make room in ourselves for the warmth other have to give.
Cacioppo JT, Hawkley LC. Perceived Social Isolation and Cognition. Trends in cognitive sciences. 2009;13(10):447-454. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2009.06.005.
Categories: Emotional ignorance