Being Alone--There Comes a Time
by Tom Damron
"I'm learning a lot about myself being alone, and doing what I'm doing."
Monophobia, or the fear of being alone, is a catch-all term for several discrete fears. Many of us are afraid of being apart from a particular person, most usually a spouse or partner. Some of us fear living alone or even to being in public alone. Still there are others who are afraid of being alone when they are at home. Nervousness while alone is surprisingly common, but having a full-blown phobia is a relatively rare fact.
It is surprising that the number of people who fear being alone is so high, nearly two-thirds of the population. When we take the time to think about it, perhaps it is just about all of us who have the fear to some degree.
We have the fear of being without a spouse or partner, but many times the fear also includes friends and family. We all generally have the fear when we are traveling alone, especially in unfamiliar places and we are lost without anyone close to us to ask for help. There is also an overbearing fear when we are taking on life without guidance and a leader because we fear a personal letdown.
Fear of being alone is an inborn, natural human emotion. There is no one who hasn't felt it in their life. The fear is deep-seated within us even though we try frantically to dispel this fear. This may well be the source of our despair: to sidestep the fear of being alone, we attempt to socialize eternally, spending inordinate amounts of time on social networks such as Facebook and we overuse e-mail in order to make contact with another human. In our effort to avoid being alone, we establish relationships with someone who pulls us down instead of building us up and we do it only to have an outlet to grasp so that we can depend on them as being reliant. We stuff ourselves with fast food, we force ourselves to shop in order to reassure ourselves, but what we buy are only substitutes for the love we seek nonstop.
But I have a surprise for you: being alone is the sanction that leads to the understanding that the peace and quiet of your aloneness is true tranquility.
If we shun the thoughts that being alone is isolated, gloomy, and futile then being alone can be judged to be limitless, the opportunity for emancipation, the opportunity to become familiar with the real you as an uninhibited joy.
This is something I’ve recently been learning the hard way. My spouse of 46 years became such a burden to me at age 79 that with heavy pushes from our son and family plus my two doctors, I reluctantly admitted her to an Alzheimer's Care Center.
It is not easy to learn to be alone again. Fortunately I've lots of support from prior co-workers, neighbors, and family. I am slowly adjusting although I admit that her adjustment to new living conditions has been smoother and quicker than mine.
I initially had the fear of aloneness, but I concentrated on learning emotional self-sufficiency and I find that it was one of the best things I’ve done for myself.
Let me give you a few ideas to try as a way to overcome the negative thoughts.
Find a place that is quiet and sit there for a few minutes with nothing on your mind. Ask yourself a few pointed questions. Start with who you think you are and why you are that person? What do you mostly think about when feeling for yourself? What are your capabilities and what are you doing about them?
If you were to look in the mirror, would you become your friend? Can you accept what you are when you consider everything about yourself? Why should anyone else accept you?
Did you find the splendor in yourself? Would that splendor shine through as you begin to discover something new in your life? Is it worth your time to reflect on your life and what it may bring in the future?
Remember what Roosevelt said in 1941? "We have nothing to fear but fear itself!"
I'm telling you that there is nothing to fear about being alone. Don't allow yourself to fear the fear.
Is that a frightening thought? You bet it is, but just think that the fact of aloneness can actually be magnificence if you set your mind to it.
Learn to overcome your fears by meeting them head-on. Go out, read a map, get lost, ask for directions, get a GPS device, use Google maps, navigate by yourself until you have the feel of being competent with finding your way around. Once you are no longer nervous, go to a strange place and conquer it without help or assistance. Discover the new you and celebrate the confidence you've gained.
What else gives you problems? Never paid a bill before? Get one out and study it. Write the check and mail it. It was easy wasn't it?
The secret is to learn the things of life management skills one step at a time. It really is a simple procedure to become fully self-sufficient in a short time span. Life is far easier when you begin to take control of your own daily needs than it is to rely on someone else to control your personal needs. Once you overcome your initial fears and become self-sufficient, then it is acceptable to rely on someone else because you have given then the task as an act of potency, not one of frailty.
Be fully aware of your surroundings and make it a point to evade any and all bad situations. Teach yourself how to escape confrontations and strange locations. Be alert in how you can defend yourself to get at least enough time to be able to make a call for help. If you spend time thinking and planning these things, you’ll feel better about traveling alone.
The trip we make through life alone is a continuous learning process and you always gather strength as you plod along. We are faced with events and situations that are akin to being lost when you can’t find your way home alone — being in that situation the first time is scary, but you're safer and better off having learned the way on your own.
Being alone doesn't mean you can’t ever be in a relationship? If fact, relationships when you have control are excellent. You just have to be wary and know that if you aren’t totally in agreement with being alone, then being in a relationship most often will turn out to be essentially a mistake.
I know you want to ask why I think that it is a mistake? I'll tell you it's a mistake because you are too prone to become dependent again. You don't want the other person because you respect them, you want them to take control of your life so that they will pay your bills, so that they will manage your life, so that they will make you safe and so that they will meet your emotional needs. You are surrendering so that the other person will give you full attention and stamp your validation ticket to what you believe will be comfort and love, but is oftentimes false. Once you submit to another person, you have lost confidence, attractiveness, power, and become less desirable in the other person's eyes.
The unsurpassed ideal is to become comfortable with being alone. You are the only one who should provide for all of your emotional needs. Make the decision that you are perfect and you can survive without anyone else to make you a complete person.
There can be lots of joy in being alone. You only need to realize that you can be alone and happy with yourself.
Being Alone Part Two Will Follow
Wendy: WOW, Tom, Go for it! Lots of great input here!
Wendy's other site... because Aging Matters!