The Loneliness Question



Mario Vercelloti, via Flickr

Marina Santee and Ruby Jones look at loneliness. Why do people feel lonely? What is the cure for loneliness? This is the first program in a series about life's difficult questions.

Transcript


Voice 1

Hello. I’m Marina Santee.

Voice 2

And I’m Ruby Jones. Welcome to Spotlight. This programme uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

Mrs. Singh* is a wealthy woman who lives alone in Delhi, India. For many years she lived with her husband and five children. She looked after her children. And they all went to university. But then they found good jobs. And they all moved away from home. Then, Mrs. Singh’s husband got sick. He had to stay in bed all the time. So she took care of him. She did this for fifteen years before her husband died.

Voice 2

Mrs. Singh felt very sad living alone. But her children did not move back into her house. They were all adults by then. Those who lived far away could not move back. And those who lived near her did not want to move. Now, she says that her children give her financial support. But they are too busy to spend time with her. She misses her husband. She feels very lonely. Loneliness is becoming a problem among wealthy people in India. They are often like Mrs. Singh’s children. They have to work long hours to get a high position at work. So they may not see their friends or family very often.

Voice 1

But India is not the only place where people are lonely. Loneliness is a growing problem in the world today. People are asking the question “How can I deal with loneliness?”

Voice 2

Rick Warren is a famous Christian leader and writer. He tries to help people who are emotionally hurting. People ask him difficult questions. One common question is about loneliness. So Rick researched this problem. And he wrote suggestions to help people who are lonely. In today’s Spotlight we look at Rick’s suggestions. But first we look at some of the causes of loneliness.

Voice 1

There are many reasons why people are lonely. A change of situation is one reason. Mrs. Singh experienced a big change in life when her husband died. The death of a husband or wife causes extreme loneliness - even for people who live with their children.

Voice 2

Moving to a new place to live can also cause loneliness. Yangsheng Guo is from China. He moved to Canada to go to university. He had to leave his family and friends at home. He did not know anyone at the university. He said:

Voice 3

“I have been in Canada for two months. I do not know the other students at university. I try to return smiles with students that I meet in the university buildings.”

Voice 1

Many people have to move for an education. They know life will be different in the new place. But more and more people are going to universities in other countries. They are separated from their families and their culture. Separation is a big cause of loneliness.

Voice 2

But maybe the worst reason to feel lonely is rejection. For example, friends can become enemies. They may argue over something small. And the situation can get worse. Later, one friend may apologise. This friend wants peace. But the other friend may reject the offer of peace. This person rejects the friendship too. This kind of rejection hurts. Anne* is a girl who experienced rejection from her school friends. She said:

Voice 4

“The time between our studies was the worst. A group of girls used to sit under the trees. At first the girls were nice to me. I was new. So I was thankful that they let me be a part of their group. Then, they wanted me to give them some money to buy cigarettes. I said I did not smoke cigarettes. And that is when it started. They persuaded other girls in my classroom to stop talking to me.”

Voice 1

Anne had a bad experience. She needed help to get through the situation. Rick Warren wants people like Anne, Mrs. Singh, and Yangsheng Guo to find help. First he suggests that people use their time wisely. During lonely periods people may not take care of themselves. They may not eat enough food. They may not exercise. And they may not care how they look. Rick says:

Voice 5

“Resist the desire to do nothing. Loneliness can make you paralysed - frozen by fear. Do what you can do to fight loneliness.”

Voice 2

Part of fighting loneliness is to try new things. Some people join local interest groups. Other people learn new skills. They may learn how to use a computer, how to cook or how to speak another language. And some people may work a few hours a week for free - they volunteer. This way they get out of the house. And they can be around other people.

Voice 1

One woman decided to fight loneliness by volunteering for a hospice. A hospice is a special hospital for dying people. The woman’s name is Marilyn. She was experiencing a lonely time in her life. Volunteering had a strong influence on her. Marilyn said:

Voice 6

“Volunteering for a hospice is a good experience. I have turned long lonely hours into productive time helping others. Volunteering changed my feelings about problems in my life”

Voice 2

When people are alone, they may start to think too much. Rick suggests that people do not think about their loneliness all the time. They will become sad if they only think about their problems. Thoughts like ‘poor me, poor me’ make people unhappy. For some people the sadness turns into deep anger or bitterness. They may be bitter at their family for not spending time with them. This anger can build and build. Sadness and anger are normal feelings. But a person who thinks good thoughts will feel better. And most people do not want to be with someone who is always sad or angry. People want to be with a happy peaceful person.

Voice 1

Rick Warren talks about how God can help people find peace and happiness. He says:

Voice 5

“There is no place where God is not. He is in all places at all times. And you can talk with him often. Prayer is a great tool for lonely times. Talk to God. And let him speak to you.”

Voice 1

Finally, Rick talks about how lonely people can support their community. He suggests that they help other needy people. Showing love to other people in this way can be powerful. Then, they stop thinking about their own problems. Rick says:

Voice 5

“Love is the cure for loneliness. Instead of waiting to be loved, we need to give love. Then we will receive love back in a plentiful amount.”

Voice 1

Loneliness is just one of many problems that people ask Rick about. Listen for more of his advice on other problems in future Spotlight programmes.

Voice 2

The writer and producer of today’s programme was Rachel Hobson. All quotes were adapted for this programme. The voices you heard were from South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Computer users can find our programmes on our website at http://www.radio.english.net. This programme is called ‘The Loneliness Question’.

Voice 1

Thank you for joining us today. Until next time, goodbye.

*These names have been change to protect privacy.

Rick Warren's words were adapted from his book God’s Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions.

Question:

Do you agree with Rick Warren about the cure for loneliness? Do you think there is a cure for loneliness?

Comments


Samy's avatar
Samy
said on April 22, 2009

hi, I really liked this programe, I felt in that way most of the times, now I Konw what to do! Thanks because you make our lifes happier! Hugs from Ecuador!

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nguyenthuy
said on January 12, 2015

” Love is the cure for loneliness. Instead of waiting to be loved, we need to give love. Then we will receive love back in a plentiful amount” . Wow i like this sentence so much . I was a lonely person before however after i became a volunteer i feel my life with full of happiness and love . We give love for anyone like we give for ourselves. Its a magical ! Let give the love you will receive full of love and the life will be the most beautiful more than ever you know . Let go out and do anything to make your life become more meaningly. Thank for a useful article .

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Ilnur
said on January 14, 2015

Say please the name of song at the beginning of the program.

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Endlessmemories
said on January 15, 2015

  I agree with Rick Warren’s the cure for loneliness.I used to experience this problem when I moved to the city to go to college.Since I was born at country,I have lived at there for 18 years.So I was familiar with country’s the peace of life and my parent’s fostering.When I went to the city,everything was strange to me.I was just alone.I felt lonely.I miss my parent.Here,my new classmates was different from my old one,I felt they was so aloof.I was stress for a long time.But I was get through this problem
  I like Rick Warren’s quote:’‘Instead of waiting to be loved, we need to give love. Then we will receive love back in a plentiful amount”.It’s meaningful.That is the best way to get throught the lonelineness.

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kenhieuloilam
said on January 16, 2015

We are called to live a loving life. We are called to be perfect. We help everyone. We need everyone’s help. We are willing to help everyone. We may feel lonely when we are alone. We may feel lonely when we have difficulties. We may feel lonely when no one helps us. We may feel lonely when no one is concerned about us. The life has difficulties. We try much to live our lives well. We wish all beautiful good things. It is more blessed to give than to receive. It is good that we do not feel lonely when we become good persons.