“To combat loneliness, we must first learn to identify it and to have the courage to see that experience as a warning sign.”- Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness (2014)
In Chapter 4 (“The Well-Kept Secret”) of Transforming Loneliness, Ruth Graham cites author and researcher Francie Hart Broghammer. Francie notes that many factors combine to drive us to self-destruction. And these factors all contain one unifying theme. That theme? – we no longer live in community with one another. Consequently, loneliness results.
Therefore, Ruth turns her focus to four big cultural and societal reasons to explain the epidemic rise in loneliness levels. Ms. Graham covers the first two today.
1. Geographic mobility. More than any other time in human history, people frequently move from one location to another. However, years ago, multiple generations of a family commonly lived in the same geographic location.
But when people know they won’t be living in the same place for long periods of time, they may find themselves reticent to foster new, deep relationships. Because friendships take time to develop and grow. In addition, it’s painful to part with dear friends.
2. Technology. Most significantly, digital connections increasingly replace physical ones. Yet, as Luke Fernandez and Susan J. Matt caution, digital connections and social networks “offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.”
Furthermore, Ms. Graham stresses, it’s not a great thing to use technology and social media as a substitute for real connections. Also, Ruth appreciates this quote from author Brene Brown (Braving the Wilderness):
“The way we engage with social media is like fire — you can use them to keep yourself warm and nourished, or you can burn down the barn.”
Hence, young adults with heavy use of social media find themselves at high risk for experiencing social anxiety and isolation. So, Ruth advises, do all things in moderation.
Today’s question: What Bible verses, hymns, or Christian songs most help you combat loneliness? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Balk at loneliness and solitude?”