Unemployment though, represents one of many transitions that a person might go through in their lives. It is a difficult transition because, not only does it reduce our social circle and our ability to socialize, but it carries with it a certain negative stigma, and also a lot of worry and concern about living and the future. There can be other difficult transitions as well, such as losing a spouse, moving to a new place, or becoming disabled that may have similar effects as well. Each transition requires that one learns to cope with a new set of circumstances that was not there before. For some people, it is a matter of tackling the problem head-on and being able to solve the problem positively. So with unemployment, some people are able to pick up the pieces and reconstruct their social world so that they can effectively reduce their feelings of loneliness. But for other people, the transition proves difficult to overcome, and despite their best efforts, the loneliness that came with the transition lingers and never goes away.
It is my thinking that some people have always been lonely, but perhaps were not acutely aware of it because circumstances in their lives made it tolerable. There was sufficient "noise" in the background, so that feelings of loneliness could be packed away and ignored. Work, I believe, is one of those powerful background noises that can almost drown out feelings of loneliness. Sure there maybe moments of quiet despair, but they are quickly forgotten with the insanity of work. However, once you remove the background noise through a transition, all that is left is the throbbing, painful cries of loneliness. Unemployment is one of those transitions that makes it incredibly difficult to fill up our lives again with background noise to drown out that loneliness.
As some of the recently unemployed have found out, it is difficult to make the loneliness go away once it has reared it ugly head. The shrinking social circle and lack of money does not help either. Perhaps unemployment can be a time to dig deeper into the loneliness and where it comes from, perhaps it is a time to reinvent yourself. To some degree, persistent loneliness has some origins within a person. Circumstances and transitions can bring out or amplify the feelings of persistent loneliness, but it was present all the time and probably due to personal characteristics. Transitions give us the unique opportunity to ask the question, "what is it about me that causes these feelings of loneliness to appear and persist over time?" Certainly circumstances add to the feelings, but we all make contributions to the circumstances that we live in and the effects of those circumstances. A greater, and deeper understanding of ourselves and the courage to embrace change can not only help reduce our feelings of loneliness but perhaps also change our circumstances as well.