“I’m in your corner” is a phrase I often tell my adult children when they face tough decisions. I just want them to know that they are not alone. I may not be with them personally at the time, but I support their decisions and send my unconditional love.
Is this important to their well-being? Brigham Young University researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad thinks so. Her research found that social isolation and loneliness can be devastating to one’s health.
“This should become a public health issue. If we just tell people to interact with more people, that might solve the social-isolation issue, but it might not solve the loneliness issue. I think we need to acknowledge that both of these components are important.”
How do we solve the loneliness issue? As Holt-Lunstad noted and many of us have experienced, it isn’t as easy as just finding people to hang with. Though her research found that substantive relationships can improve health, sometimes we feel our loneliest when surrounded by others.
My experience tells me that we can solve this health issue by helping individuals discover the Divine in their lives. This can support them whether they are alone or in a crowd. It can end the loneliness and provide substantial health benefits.
I found this to be true. During my late twenties, as I was trying to establish a career, I lived alone. I was self-employed and did not see others very often. I had friends and family, but there were many days and nights when the isolation was incredibly difficult. I really needed someone I could turn to on a regular basis – someone in my corner.
Then, one day I took a little time to consider the universality of the Divine. I turned to the book of Psalms in the Bible. The 23rd Psalm tells how God shepherds our lives. He is always present with us – even when we feel we are alone and facing difficult circumstances – to comfort and to guide us. As I discovered this sense of the Divine presence in my life, and made this relationship the most substantive one I had, gradually the loneliness decreased.
I felt that presence whether I was alone or in a crowd.
Any one of us can discover and feel God’s presence. We’re never really alone, God is in our corner!