Loneliness can be worse than hunger

This blog is inspired by this post from Paulo Coelhos Blog where he talks about Loneliness being worse than hunger. According to me the most depressing and most relevant part of this blog is: “There are people who spend entire weeks locked up in themselves. They will go from work to their TV and from their TV to work.”

“The more TV you watch, the fewer friendships you are likely to have, the less trusting you become, and the less happy you are likely to be.”
― Charles Montgomery, Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design

Loneliness arises from never being able to share oneself – one’s thoughts, one’s truths, one’s needs – with anyone. We can no longer keep going from party to party, from circle to circle. We can no longer continue to increase the number of our friends.

Mother Teresa was forever compassionate towards the loneliness felt by “wealthy” people who on surface had it all. She was also very concerned about the breakdown of families. Here are a selection of her words about loneliness which say it all:

  • It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.
  • Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
  • The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.
  • The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God. — Mother Teresa, A Simple Path: Mother Teresa

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Researchers have confirmed that loneliness can be a deadly affliction — as lethal as diabetes or smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Loneliness is also more widespread in big cities.

“Social isolation just may be the greatest environmental hazard of city living — worse than noise, pollution, or even crowding,” Charles Montgomery wrote in his 2013 book Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design.

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