It’s human nature to seek connection with others. We are social creatures. But even though we may desire to be in a relationship, there are seasons in our lives when we must be alone. Unfortunately, being alone is an extremely unpleasant state for many people.
Do you find yourself quickly getting into a new relationship after leaving another? It may be time to take a step back and focus on the benefits of going solo. If you are in a relationship and afraid of being alone, both you and your relationship can benefit from enhancing the quality of your alone time.
Misconceptions about the Single Life
Do you sense that you are more uncomfortable with your singleness than others are?
You may feel like other people are looking at you or judging you for being on your own. But the truth is, most people are pretty absorbed in their own worlds.
Your singleness stands out a lot more to you than it does to anyone else.
Address Your Negative Self-Talk
Fear of being alone is not much different from any other fear. The more you feed it, the more it will grow.
But the converse is also true: You can diffuse the fear with positive self-talk. For example, instead of saying to yourself, “I’m afraid of being alone,” say, “I get to be alone,” and focus on things you love to do. Instead of focusing on your feelings of panic about being alone, simply notice them. Then, counteract the negative feelings as they arise. Employ intentional, compassionate self-talk. Use calming techniques. Reassure yourself that your safety and lovability are not dependent upon a relationship. The truth is that you have everything inside you that you need.
Cultivate a Relationship with Yourself
Often, the fear of being alone is rooted in not knowing yourself well. This may also mean you haven’t developed a deep love for yourself either. While it may sound silly, it is important to become your own best friend.
Take time to explore the activities you have always wanted to try. Take a class or attend a local Meetup group. Have some funny videos or recorded TV shows on hand to enjoy when you have the time. Think about the things you would want to be a part of your perfect date night, like going to a museum, getting dinner from a hot new food truck, or taking a painting class. Whatever you would want someone to do with you or for you, do for yourself. Give yourself permission to enjoy your time, with or without a partner.
Challenge Yourself to Be More Independent
The idea of being able to depend on someone else to meet our emotional needs is often a comforting thought. But there can also be a sense of exhilaration, freedom, and empowerment that comes with being more independent.
Learn how to do one thing you would likely relegate to a partner. Whether it’s paying bills or navigating a new neighborhood in your city, you’ll be surprised by how accomplished you feel when you master a new challenge.
Find Ways to Enjoy Your Time Alone
Enjoying your time alone isn’t just about filling your time with leisure activities. It’s also important to become truly comfortable in your own presence. Many of us don’t ever learn how to do that, especially if we’ve spent most of our lives in relationships with others.
Learn to enjoy your own presence by developing comforting new rituals or enhancing your emotional and spiritual life. Meditation, journaling, and yoga are real examples of fruitful techniques that can help you establish a more peaceful state of mind.
Give Your Time to Help Others
Sometimes we just need some company and human contact. Why not build in time to regularly help others? Most people find that of all of the possible activities one can engage in, helping others is the most satisfying and fulfilling in the short term as well as the long term. Your community has many organizations that need your help. Think about the causes that matter to you. Do you have a heart for animals, children or abused women? Let your heart lead where you want to serve. Not only will you help others and keep yourself busy. You will also boost your self-esteem.
The more comfortable you become with yourself and being alone, the more you will benefit later. You’ll find that you will bring newfound confidence and self-reliance into your next relationships. Investing in yourself will always pay off.
Take the Next Step…
If you’re ready to take a step toward dealing with your fears of being alone, feelings of loneliness, or other related issues, I would like to help. Please contact me by phone or email so that we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT