Why is Everyone so Lonely
I was just lying on the floor of my room, staring at my phone, and I noticed something.
On youtube, there’s a new video (by TheOdd1sOut) trending today, and it’s gained 8 million views in 2 days. Impressive.
I couldn’t help but remember seeing a similar video trending about 3 months ago, by Kurzgesagt (an excellent educational channel). It generated millions of views in hours and was #1 trending on youtube for quite a while. The first time I watched it I cried a little bit (If you don't mind, can we keep that between you and me? It’s kind of embarrassing).
So what theme or subject did these videos share in common? The topic of human loneliness.
There is a new phenomenon occurring in our universe — space is expanding. But I don’t mean the space between galaxies, I mean the space between people.
As technology and social media have progressed, we’ve found ourselves on our own little islands, separated by ever-widening seas of social anxiety.
We stuff our messages into bottles, on instagram, facebook, and twitter, addressing them to the world and waiting for a response.
We desperately collect any likes or comments that happen to float back, only narrowly avoiding social starvation as we lie stranded on isolated shores.
But messages in bottles can’t supplement real face to face human connection, and it’s starting to show.
We’re constantly experiencing symptoms of this disconnection in our society, as depression and anxiety are forever on the rise and drug abuse and suicide rates go up.
And it seems all too easy for people to say sad, hateful, or brutal things online when all they know is their own island, and they don’t have to see the faces of the people on the receiving end of their hatred.
So as I lay here, on the floor of my room, watching the bottles floating by in the distance, I figured I would write a message.
A message in a bottle, and it’s for you. That’s right. You’re reading it right now. I can’t see you on your little island, over there, but I want you to know something.
You aren’t the only one trapped on an island.
And I’m so, so sorry if you’re alone, or feel alone. Stay strong out there.
When you go out and see strangers, those terrifying things, know that they aren’t that strange, really. They’re just like you. So dare to take courage and step foot on a stranger’s island.
Know that you don’t suffer alone, dear friend. We’re all strangers here together, on this big blue ball in space.
Look the grocery store clerk in the eyes this time, ask them how they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to make a connection, even if it’s terrifying (because it is).
You may think that a stranger would be angry, or at least annoyed if they found you disturbing the sand on the lonely beaches of their island. But I don’t think that would actually be the case.
Those strangers out there are just as scared as you and me, and they may find some relief knowing they aren’t really alone even if it feels like it.
For the sake of your health, for the sake of everyone you know and will know, and for everyone you will help one day, take courage.
Go make a friend. Not a facebook friend. A real-life friend. It’s not easy to swim those anxious seas, but it’s easier than you think. Just put one foot in front of the other, and dive in. You can do it.
How about this. I’ll do my best, and you do yours. Sound good? Good.
So long, friend, and best of luck.