A brief review of the book Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo and William Patrick.
This book is an eye-opener when I first read it, now I’m rereading it again for the review and it’s still is. It’s full of useful information about the problem of loneliness and why it’s far more important than we think.
The biggest takeaway I had from this book is that the feeling of loneliness, just like other emotions affects our thinking.
In this case being lonely results in seeing the world and other people as more threatening.
Were more wary, mistrustful, cynical, and pessimistic. We’re less likely to reach out and connect with others, and when we do were often careful about how. Holding ourselves back for fear of attack, rejection.
Or even worse we see attacks upon us where there none, so we in anger and hurt lash out, at either our attackers or someone else.
All this means is that we keep the world and others at a distance. Which shows how loneliness fosters the kinds of behaviours that perpetuate the loneliness.
It becomes a vicious circle. Something that it’s not easy to escape from.
Worse still you may not notice that you are in such a circle. You make excuses for staying in night after night. They seem reasonable at the time but it’s a form of avoidance a way of addressing the uncertainty by not facing it.
Stagnation, isolation and loneliness follow each other. More health problems occur because the research shows loneliness can affect our biology which creates other diseases.
It’s a wake-up book to remind us how loneliness has become a problem and why. Reading this book is a reminder and a motive to put this issue front and centre of our personal lives and that of society as a whole.
This book gives insight into why I feel lonely, but also gives me a greater determination to seek connection to solve this most pervasive and debilitating problem. One that has defined me all my life.
My happiness is far too important to ignore and by definition, my loneliness must be too.
The book itself has many more insights but I feel it’s an essential read for everyone, not just those who are lonely or anxious.
It’s an essential read for anyone who feels the pain, the emptiness without the deeper meaningful connection we all need.