Many people are afraid to be alone. But being alone can be something beautiful and valuable – and for this kind of “positive loneliness”, I prefer the term solitude. In this article, you will learn about the causes of loneliness-anxiety, and what you can do to overcome it.
First of all – it’s not about turning you into a hermit. A recent study has shown that people who live alone have an 80% risk of depression. But it’s about you being comforable and at ease when you’re alone.
Why are we afraid to be alone?
It’s actually pretty natural to be afraid of loneliness – after all, when we were babies we dependent on other people for survival. If there weren’t other people to take care of us, that meant we would die – because babies aren’t able to sustain themselves. A small baby can’t find food and eat it all by itself, it can’t take care of itself.
If as a baby, our caretakers leave us alone, that’s like a death sentence.
And every baby has experienced being left alone – for some time – crying and kicking and doing everything in its power to get someone to take care – without getting any response from anyone. Over time, we learn that even if someone isn’t taking care of us right now, they’ll probably come back in a short while to attend to us, and finally, we learn to take care of ourselves, and we learn that being left alone isn’t a death sentence.
But some people don’t loose that fear of being alone. And some people re-learn it at a later stage in life, for various reasons.
What can we do about our loneliness anxiety?
But it’s one thing to understand some of the common reasons of this feeling of uneasiness. It’s one thing to understand the roots of this problem – but it’s another thing to solve it. So what can you do to learn to become more comfortable with yourself?
How can you avoid worrying thoughts when you’re all alone?
Well, one thing is to observe your thoughts when you’re alone. Just become aware of what exactly is going on in your mind when the fear sets in. Because what always happens is that you talk yourself into being scared. There is an inner dialogue going on inside your head, you are essentially talking to yourself, even though not in a audible voice. What you want to do is listen to this voice very clearly, so that you can (consciously) understand what it tells you, rather than just (subconsciouly) reacting to it by getting afraid.
And one more thing: that little voice in your head doesn’t mean you are crazy. It’s something that everybody does. The difference between sane and insane people is not whether they have a voice in their head or not, but how that voice is talking to them.
Simply by becoming more aware of your fears, you can then take steps to overcome them. It is a tedious and slow process, but one that really works. Write down your fears, and then write down reasons why you don’t need to be afraid, and how you could solve certain situations and problems when you are lonely.
Also, write down reasons why you enjoy being alone. What you can do best when you are all by yourself.