The importance of being alone

Posted on October 31, 2014

For many of us, alone is a negative state of being. Society doesn’t help us with this either; being alone often carries a social stigma, implying isolation, being on the outside. This perceived sense of aloneness seems to imply that being by one’s self is not volitional, that it’s not a choice we make but rather, an imposed state where a person is not socially engaged in the way that is somehow expected. Even further, it may imply that there is something actually wrong or defective with a person who remains alone.

Unlike being alone, loneliness often implies that you are looking for someone or something that you feel you need in order to feel secure and happy. For some, loneliness may be a chronic condition where your own company is never enough; where spending time with yourself may produce anxiety and sometimes worse symptoms such as panic attacks and depression. For many, the perceived solution to keep this fear away is to make sure that you are always in the company of another.

Although alone and lonely are often thought of as being one in the same, alone doesn’t equal loneliness. Learning to be alone may be initially scary but once mastered serves as the cornerstone for your development and growth as a human being. There’s so much to be gained from learning to rely, and more importantly, to trust your own inner voice as the best source for your own guidance.

Being alone allows you to drop your “social guard”, thus giving you the freedom to be introspective, to think for yourself. You may be able to make better choices and decisions about who you are and what you want without outside influence. Often, we are swayed by the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and behavior of those in our immediate sphere. Of course, you may ask others for their advice and opinions but ultimately, consulting yourself and making up your own mind about what you want to do will lead you into the life that’s best for you.

There doesn’t have to be a pathological reason to explain your anxiety about being alone. Fear of being alone may be simply a function of never having learned to do it! It may never have been encouraged and so the idea of it may feel alien and uncomfortable. Once you begin to venture into this territory you may find that your comfort about being alone increases. You may actually crave that time you spend by yourself.

You may want to start small if being alone is new to you. Carve out time every week to be by yourself (or an hour a day if you can). Take yourself solo to a movie or dinner. Venture to new places. Explore. Be adventurous. Build on the small to take bigger and bigger risks. If you were to remain alone as a lifestyle assess what that might mean---living without a partner, being responsible for yourself, your choices and decisions, traveling solo, managing your own finances, creating a full and complete life for yourself.

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Source material from Psychology Today


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