Is the fear of loneliness actually causing us to feel lonely?
Many of us are afraid of being lonely. But why is that? And even more important, how does that fear affect our actions? Maybe this fear is actually the main cause of our suffering?
First of all, we might need to redefine what being lonely actually means. There is a difference between feeling disconnected from folks around us and being at home by ourselves. In both cases, we might feel alone, but for different reasons.
If we feel lonely around friends and loved ones, we might want to ask ourselves, “What connects me with these people?”
It’s one thing to go to a bar and have small talk with a stranger and another to spend time with someone we actually care about. But to care about someone, we also need to care about something.
Spending time on our own creates space to find out what we really care about. Some folks find joy in reading books, others like to play an instrument, and, believe it or not, a few like to talk about politics.
There is nothing nicer than being around people who share similar interests and passions. But what happens if our fear of loneliness stops us from being ourselves?
In that case, we might end up with others who are also afraid of loneliness. There is an app for folks who feel this way; it’s called Tinder.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with dating apps, but if we use these apps to escape loneliness, we might end up feeling lonelier than ever before (while being with someone who feels the same way).
So, what can we do instead?
It might sound counterintuitive, but the best way to overcome loneliness is to celebrate it. As long as we are scared of loneliness, we will be at the mercy of those less scared of being lonely.
The more we can enjoy spending time with ourselves, the more fun it will be for others to be around us. Once we discover our passions, we are able to connect with others in more meaningful ways.
Reading books, listening to music, or practicing yoga are activities that we can enjoy without anyone else, but, at the same time, these actions create experiences that we can share with others. These hobbies make us who we are and invite folks into our lives who also enjoy these things.
As I was thinking about this paradox, I found this clip on YouTube that beautifully explains how our fear of loneliness is actually a self-fulfilling prophecy. I hope you enjoy watching it. May it be of benefit!