November 8, 2021

If Spending Time Alone is Difficult

Identity Development

As we approach the season of, “romance,” with valentine’s day, and all the hearts and chocolates around you, it can be tempting to sit in a sea of wallowing because of what and/or who you “don’t have.” You may be working hard to distract yourself from being, “alone,” and trying so hard to hang out with whoever and wherever to avoid this sense of loneliness. In a way, yes, it is good to be around friends and family to build a support system, but if that is done in order to avoid this deep seated fear of being alone, well…what is that really doing for you?

It is important to ask yourself, what is this fulfilling in my life? This simple question can do so much for you. It allows you to understand the reasoning behind the behavior and can increase insight. Essentially, the more answers you can give yourself, about yourself, the more empowered you will feel. If you find yourself with this difficulty in spending time alone that can highlight two areas in your life: self esteem and independence.

Self esteem, huh?

This concept of Self Esteem is an important one to grasp because it can influence how we think and may motivate what we do or don’t do. If you find yourself constantly thinking negatively about yourself, or needing the approval of others, you most likely fall into this category of low self esteem. Don’t worry, it is much more common than you think (phew!). This can come from a variety of things, including being self critical, or because of the narrative that others have said about you. Either way, it is good to be aware of this and there are ways to help increase your self esteem. How, you ask?

Here are a few recommendations:

  • Take 5 minutes every day to journal self affirmations (i.e. I am beautiful, I am worthy, I am loved, etc)

  • Partake in an activity that you enjoy doing (drawing, running, cooking, etc.)

  • Acknowledge what you need vs what others need

  • Get dressed up, or better yet relax and give yourself a facial – ideally, care for yourself in a healthy and positive way.

Yes, independence is possible

Independence may seem daunting to those that rely completely on someone else, which, in essence, can contribute to the difficulty in spending time alone. Sometimes, it can feel comforting to depend on someone else, but I would wonder if that actually causes restrictions for a person to live a life they want vs what someone else wants for them. To solely depend on a relationship for guidance, love, self identity, and maybe even purpose can be a dangerous way to live.

Now, for those that are believers, in the Christian faith, dependence on God is different in itself, so please hear me right, I am talking about earthly relationships. I may talk about dependence on God in another blog, but for now, we will stick on human dependence. In psychology, we call that, “codependence,” where, in essence, the boundaries in a relationship are unclear and you rely on someone else in the majority of your decision making. In order to increase independence, it is important to first recognize that you need that. Once that is recognized you can do a few things to increase this.

Recommendations to increase independence

This may seem easy but pick where YOU want to go to eat when someone asks
Learn to soothe yourself
Learning deep breathing techniques
Stop asking for permission from others
Plan some “alone” dates doing something you love

Alone time can be good

So, if you find it hard to be alone, it can be helpful to work on these two areas of self esteem and independence. Along with that, it is important to ask yourself, why is it so hard? Now that may seem like a huge question to ask, but I believe that we can take you on a journey of finding true confidence in yourself.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to do this alone! That is what one on one therapy is for! So, if you are ready to start this journey and answer that question of, “why?” I would encourage you to reach out to our team here at Optimum Joy. What do you have to lose?

Written by therapist Fallyn Lara

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