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Excerpted from Intimate Connections by David Burns. Copyright © 1985 by David Burns. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 

"One surprising finding from my research is that being married does not in any way protect you from feeling lonely."

  David Burns, Intimate Connections, Part 3

Interpreting your score: The higher your score, the more lonely you feel. The following chart indicates the degree of loneliness.

Total Score

Degree of Loneliness

Percent of People Scoring in this Range

0-4

Minimal or no loneliness

20%

5-9

Mildly lonely

30%

10-14

Moderately lonely

30%

15 or more

Very lonely

20%

   

Total 100%

My research using the Loneliness Scale has confirmed that loneliness is surprisingly common. I recently gave the scale to 272 married and single men and women of all ages from Dayton, Ohio. Their average score on the test was 10, indicating that most people are in fact mildly to moderately lonely. The study showed that loneliness affects both men and women of all ages and income brackets. Younger people and men tend to feel somewhat lonelier whereas highly educated people tend to feel somewhat less lonely. One surprising finding from my research is that being married does not in any way protect you from feeling lonely. This was unexpected since we often think of loneliness as an affliction of people who are single, separated, or divorced. But in point of fact, married people experience just as much loneliness and sometimes more.

What does this really mean? If being along does not cause loneliness, and if having someone to love is not the cure, then what is the difference between people who feel lonely and people who donít? The crucial difference is self-esteem. If thereís one message this book contains, this is it: Finding someone to love is not the solution to loneliness. The solution is learning to love yourself. Once you love and appreciate yourself, youíll discover that other people will love you too, and your loneliness will only be a memory.

This is not a new message, but what is new is the development of a systematic program that can help you turn this insight into an emotional reality. This book describes an effective, patient-tested program that has helped hundreds of men and women of all ages get over feelings of loneliness, shyness, inferiority, and sexual insecurity. It is based on cognitive and behavioral techniques pioneered at the University of Pennsylvania and now in use at medical centers, clinics, and universities throughout the world. These methods have been tested and found to be helpful for people with a wide variety of mood and personal relationship problems. If youíre willing to work at them, you can make them work for you.

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