How the Physical and Emotional Components of Loneliness Combine Into a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The cleverly insightful animated video series Kurzgesagt takes on the subject of loneliness. They first look into the necessity of being in the company of others for the simple sake of survival. As society evolved and mechanized, the emotional aspect of loneliness became more pronounced, incorporating the same biological “fight, flight or freeze” survival instincts of yore. The rush of adrenaline distorts perception of reality, increases paranoia and causes retreat into safety. This chronic cycle of loneliness, paranoia, and retreat makes it a tragic self-fulfilling prophecy from which it extremely difficult to exit.

Physical and social pain use common mechanisms in your brain both feel like a threat and so social pain leads to immediate and defensive behaviour when it’s inflicted on you. …Loneliness makes you assume the worst about others intentions towards you. Because of this perceived hostile world, you can become up more self-centered to protect yourself which can make you appear more cold unfriendly and socially awkward than you really are.

Yet, Kurzgesagt offers some hope of escaping from this harmful cycle.

…reach out to someone today regardless if you feel a little bit lonely or if you want to make someone else’s day better. Maybe write a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, call a family member who’s become estranged invite a work buddy for a coffee or just go to something you’re usually too afraid to go to or too lazy to go. …maybe nothing will come of it and that’s okay. …The goal is just to open up a bit, to exercise your connection muscles so they can grow stronger over time or to help others exercise them.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.