Time alone can be wonderful at times, but long-term can sound scary and for many, be one of life’s biggest fears. As humans, we thrive off social interaction, but sometimes, we can’t help but feel alone. Building long-lasting, meaningful relationships can be a challenge. Maybe you moved to a new town with no familiar faces, maybe you’ve always struggled with shyness, or maybe you find discomfort in intimacy. It’s normal to feel this way; sometimes even when we’re surrounded by people, we still feel alone. Whether you’re feeling misunderstood or reserved, feeling alone is normal. In fact, nearly half of Americans feel alone. One things for sure; you’re not alone in how you’re feeling. If you’re looking to overcome loneliness, pull out a journal, and jot down the following questions.
Where is your time going?
If you’re feeling alone, maybe it’s time to take inventory of your life. Do you have a job that takes up most of your time, refraining you from social events and affecting your ability to maintain relationships? If so, the first step might be to bring awareness to your work/life balance because it may just be out of alignment. Of course, this isn’t always an easy fix. Sometimes we feel we’re stuck in a career we can’t leave, but know there is always another option.
If this is the case, take the time to sit down with your thoughts. In your journal, answer the following questions: Am I able to leave this job? Am I afraid to leave this job? Do I enjoy this job? Does this job leave me feeling drained? Unmotivated? The first step is to reflect and figure out the why; why is this job taking a toll on my social life? From here, you’ll be able to have a deeper understanding of your job and why it makes you feel the way it does.
Maybe it’s not your job at all. Maybe you’re choosing to spend your nights alone comfy in your home rather than connecting with friends and family. Does this make you happy? If it does, that’s great! Many of us enjoy our solitude, but what is it that’s making you feel lonely? Are you avoiding plans and social interactions? This brings me to my next question.
What are you afraid of?
Maybe it’s your social anxiety keeping you indoors. Maybe you’re afraid to voice your opinion, or afraid of what people might think of you. Sometimes being brave and putting yourself out there can be one of the most rewarding feelings. You can start small- maybe go to the mall by yourself and give your cashier a compliment. If you’re looking to build new relationships, start taking a new class, whether it be an art class, yoga class, or whatever you feel passionate about. Figure out what you’re afraid of and work to face that fear. It doesn’t need to happen over night. Set a goal for yourself and work towards it.
Can I find comfort in solitude?
Often in today’s generation, we struggle with solitude. However, solitude can be rewarding and a great time to reflect. It’s important to find comfort alone, as when we constantly rely on others for companionship, that’s when we tend to feel the most alone. What’s your passion? Use your time alone to experiment and get to know yourself; figure out your hobbies. Learn what you love and what you don’t love. Meditate, start a journal, spend some time in nature, enjoy the peace and quiet.
Learn to feel comfortable in your own skin and reflect on ways you can improve. If you fear solitude, now’s the time to figure out what it is that scares you. Are you afraid of ending up alone? Instead of lacking intimacy, is it that you crave intimacy? Use your time alone to work on getting past your fears and discomfort with solitude. It’s something we’ll all face throughout life, but it doesn’t mean we’ll be alone forever. We can all have the potential to overcome loneliness.
It’s important to begin with why. Discover the root cause of this feeling, and then you can work to overcome it. Just remember what your feeling is normal, and it’s something most of us face. Above all, remember loneliness is just a feeling, and it will fade.