Q: I grew up in a full house and have always had lots of friends around. That’s great, and I’m happy. But it makes it so that when I’m by myself, I feel uncomfortable, unworthy, and alone. I know that being alone doesn’t mean that people don’t want to be near me, so how can I get over that sensation?
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A: Being alone is a talent for some, just like being in a crowd is for others. There’s nothing wrong with being social and enjoying the company of others.
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When you place that much value on interaction, it makes sense that the absence of it would seem wrong. But being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely. Plenty of people can feel lonely even when they’re in the middle of a huge crowd.
The truth is that you need alone time, not just to shower and study, but to regroup and recuperate. Think of socializing like a kind of mental and emotional workout. You need to take breaks between your gym sessions, don’t you? This is no different. Being alone allows you to just exist, without having to entertain or support anyone else. Your time is just yours; you don’t have to share it. If you remember that, you’ll come to cherish those moments where you can be alone with yourself.
If you need advice, ask your question in the comments, and it may be featured in an upcoming column.
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