Humankind above all else is a society. From time immemorial the human tribe has grouped together beyond the immediate family. In common with most sophisticated creatures. Like other apes elephants and whales we have interacted not only within families but identified social groups as an essential part of our existence.
Yet, today it is as if we have come full circle. Loneliness has become a major scourge in modern society. Modernity and attendant mobility has influenced traditional family and social groupings. This particularly true for the elderly, who in many cases live the late part having lost their partner. The inevitability of life’s end can and does lead many to surrender to ‘nothing and loneliness’.
So far, we’ve determined that making the best of our physical attributes and our intellectual powers will create a more positive life. However, without social intercourse of whatever nature, our lives are still less than full.
All of us can sit at home, be it a warm house or a mean tent, and hope that something happens, or, we can create relationships. Once more we are responsible for our own lives, it is you and me who must reach down within ourselves and make a positive move. For those who are physically disabled to those still riding a bike, we can all smile, show warmth, reach out, ask, and give thanks. These are all positive moves, these gestures are investments that by and large will earn a return. Don’t look down, look up! Looking down is to escape, looking up is to join in. Looking down is to close, looking up is to open.
Why do we close down? Why do we allow ‘nothing’ to invade our lives? Usually because we are afraid, afraid of rebuttal, of being humiliated in whatever form. In black and white this seems ridiculous, but the single biggest reason we deny contact is because of fear of rebuttal or humiliation. In fact this is simply not true. In the vast majority of cases looking up, smiling saying hello or thanks will result in a positive response.
There are many channels that are there for the very purpose of helping us communicate, these include vast numbers of charities, from the Salvation Army, to Citizens Advice. However none of these can excuse us from looking up and initiating contact with our fellow men and women. No matter how old, how infirm, how handicapped you feel there is nothing that is better than looking up and initiating contact even in the most modest way, such as a simple smile, or hello.
There are many who are lonely despite being in a relationship. Where communication is stunted, where there is little apparent common ground. In many cases the idea of love has faded, where caring interest is passed. Were we ever in love? Did we ever care?
The same sentiments of self-help apply, as someone very wisely remarked – “being in love and staying in that happy state is very much an act of the will.” So is being a member of our human society, an act of our will.
Look up! Tomorrow is another day to be lived as fully as we are able.