In today’s world, loneliness and anxiety are two of the biggest problems. Every day more and more people feel alone. They don’t want it but they don’t know what to do about it. For them it is a problem. Because they don’t know how to fix it or how to live with it without it harming them.
It often begins with a vague fear of loneliness. It is not being alone in itself that causes the fear. The cause is the feeling of being abandoned, a kind of indefinite fear. When that fear reaches a certain level, it becomes what we call ‘existential fear’. Existential anxiety is the constant feeling of being threatened or empty.
Loneliness and anxiety very often lead to insomnia. When you can’t sleep, you end up having vague, disturbing thoughts running around in your mind. You also feel a bit inhibited towards others. When you communicate with people, you are tense. And when a relationship gets a little closer, you quickly turn into a demanding and dependent person. But let’s focus back on the fear…
What’s behind that fear of loneliness?
Sometimes the fear of isolation and loneliness is not noticeable. For example, someone can cram his daily schedule so much that he should not be alone for a moment. What a person really tries to avoid is the time he may have to spend alone. Those people run away from themselves. What is hidden behind this fear of being without the company of others?
Sometimes there is a childhood conflict that has not been resolved. When we are very young, we are very vulnerable. Any kind of rejection or abandonment leaves a deep scar. They are open wounds that don’t heal because we haven’t cared for them properly. Maybe there was someone we loved but wasn’t there for us. At that moment, a formless fear filled that empty space. When alone, we may be forced to face these painful feelings.
What can also happen is that the fear is not focused on the loneliness but on an aspect of ourselves. Perhaps there is something about ourselves that we do not want to see or acknowledge. That is why we avoid contact with our inner self. After all, this can only happen in isolation.
Yet another possibility is that we have formed a negative opinion about what it means to be alone. Maybe we’ve never really experienced it. We then avoid it because we don’t understand how good it can be. Loneliness is also unpleasant when we think we are unable to cope with life. We always need someone else to lean on.
How do we break free from the chains of loneliness and fear?
We can treat and reduce the anxiety that results from our fear of being alone. Sometimes we just need to look at the situation and make some adjustments in our way of life. At other times we will need professional help. In either case, some healthy steps can help. Here are some examples:
- Think about your habits. Certain things can isolate you. Just think of being too dependent on your mobile phone or your computer. Isolation causes fear. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t interact with others for a few hours. In fact it is very good for you.
- Don’t idealize the company of others. Without realizing it, you may think that being with others will completely change your mood. Observe yourself and see if this is really true.
- Think about the positive aspects of loneliness. Stop and take a minute to think about the positive effects of loneliness and what it can offer you. What can you do on your own that you find interesting, relaxing or enjoyable?
- Strengthen your friendships. You will find that if you commit to having close friendships, you will be less afraid of being alone. Intimate relationships protect us emotionally.
- Being alone doesn’t mean you’re locked in the house. Go to the movies or to a concert alone. You don’t have to stay inside because you are alone.
Relationships and Loneliness
One of the worst things about loneliness and fear is that they can lead to superficial relationships. Because we only need people to make us feel better. So we are not trying to develop authentic relationships. To share your life with others in a healthy way, you need to learn how to be alone.
Think about this too. The fear of loneliness is in a way a fear of living. Because the only person who will always be with you in life is you.