Are Interpersonal Relationships the Answer to Every Problem?
Can Getting Married End Loneliness and Depression?
Some time ago, a middle aged man asked me for help through my website where I used to run a discussion forum on suicide. His wife had just committed suicide and he wondered whether getting married again was the answer to his depression and loneliness.
I wrote back saying that marriage definitely wasn’t the answer and could even deepen his turmoil. The answer was to be found within where all answers exist, if we only know how to find them. I told him he had to come to terms with his bereavement before he could make a success of any relationship.
The Importance of Solitude For Mental Well Being
Says Anthony Storr, author of ‘Solitude’: “Coming to terms with loss is a difficult, painful and largely solitary process which may be delayed rather than aided by distractions.”
Religious leaders like Christ and the Buddha realized the importance of solitude which led them to their great insights into the human condition and their own transformation. At that time though, solitude was easier to come by. Today it is getting more difficult by the day.
Telephones, noisy traffic, cassette players, television. Some people are so used to living with noise that they feel uncomfortable in its absence. No wonder we see a growing trend towards meditation and retreats.
Byrd Enjoyed the Peace and Solitude of the Antarctic
Admiral Byrd who manned a weather base in the solitary wastes of the Antarctic in 1934 said that it was not just meteorological interests that took him there. He wanted to “taste peace and quiet and solitude long enough to find out how good they really are.” Byrd found the meaning to life he was looking for. He felt more ‘alive’ than he ever had before.
Says Sneha, a woman who has lived alone for many years: "I love my solitude. Somehow, even when I was in my twenties and partying all over the place, I preferred living alone. I liked company, but I liked my own company better. At the time most single women did not dare to live alone. Men considered them "easy" and often harassed them. But I was adamant, and unafraid. I think my attitude protected me from harm."
"But what about companionship? Don't you miss having a man by your side?" I asked her.
She smiled a Mona Lisa smile. "Men were never the centre of my existence."
So the next time someone says that you are incomplete without a lover, tell him that if you can’t find fulfillment within yourself, you can’t find it without either.