by Olivia J. Scott, Woman to Woman
‘Alone,’ ‘lonely,’ ‘aloneness’ and ‘loneliness’ are different concepts, though they may or may not be related in a given situation. By this I mean, for example, being alone does not mean being lonely or experiencing loneliness. You can have people around you all the time and yet feel lonely, while on the contrary, you can have no one around and still do not experience loneliness or aloneness. Unlike being alone, loneliness is a condition. If not treated, it can lead to frustration, anxiety and depression.
There is no mystery to the occurrence of loneliness. Contrary to popular opinion, it does not have everything to do with not being in a relationship, be it dating or marriage. The occurrence is closely connected to concepts such as Self-Concept, Self acceptance, Self Love, Self-Esteem and Self Awareness.
Self esteem is linked to self concept and self concept to self worth. Our gender, role expectations and sense of identity are important parts of our self-concept. Based on the strength of these parts, we can estimate if we are vulnerable to loneliness and how we deal with it when it comes along. I am not saying that everyone who experiences loneliness has self-esteem issues, though we need to recognize that the two are closely linked, especially where the loneliness experienced is prolonged.
We must learn to accept and love ourselves before we can truly love others. Otherwise, when they are no longer around or when rejection comes, we are likely to become devastated and withdrawn. Last but not least, when you are aware of yourself and your worth you will not feel diminished when you do not get the level of attention or affection you may expect. Not everyone will love you, and those who love you the best may do so the best way they know how. Their best may not be yours, according your expectation. But this should not leave you feeling reduced.
Low self-esteem and relationship conflict
People with low self-esteem are observed to have a tendency to crave consistent affection. They are never satisfied with whatever affection is given by their partner and so, to constantly get it, they end up pursuing their partner. This can destroy the relationship or to the very least cause conflict. The pursued partner may start distancing himself/herself. This in turn leaves the already low-esteem-filled partner feeling rejected, because seeking affection and not rejection is what constantly brings that partner to the other in the first place. Now rejected, that person may sink lower and lower into lack of self-esteem, feeling unloved and unwanted.
“If I am attached to another person because I cannot stand on my own two feet, he or she may be a life saver….” Erich Fromm (1956)
Fromm pointed out that this kind of relationship “is not one of love.”
You do not need a constant person in your life to feel loved. If you feel like you always need someone around you in order for you to feel good, you may have lost your sense of self and self worth. When you love yourself, whether or not anyone is in your life or around you, it significantly reduces the chance of you feeling alone or lonely.
Spending time alone is therapy for loneliness!
Loneliness is a condition that must be treated, otherwise, we can end up becoming depressed or end up turning to destructive behavior to quell the feelings. Engaging in activities like drinking, smoking, gambling or promiscuity is only going to mask the feeling, creating a temporary moment of satisfaction. There are some who turn to new relationships to treat the condition. While it may be healthy to date and feel like you are not being a recluse, ultimately you need to deal with you.
If you treat loneliness correctly, you can actually cure it. It is also important that you treat the cause of loneliness rather than the symptoms, otherwise, like a bodily disease, it will never leave you!
Often times you hear, a cure to loneliness is surrounding yourself with people, reaching out and making friends. You are not alone, rather you are experiencing loneliness—two very different concepts. ‘Alone’ is a fact, ‘loneliness’ a condition. Of course, talking and sharing your feelings and experiences help but there is a limit to that.
Believe it or not, spending time alone is therapy for loneliness. There is something special about spending time with you. I am espoused to the idea of having a love affair, an unconditional one,with self.
In having your “me time” (plenty of it) you are able to discover or rediscover yourself. It also creates a way for you to confront rather than run away from yourself. It is that avoidance of self that caused you to run and seek comfort in others and which in turn often leaves you feeling rejected when you don’t get the attention and affection you so badly crave. Then you start to question yourself and self-worth.
In spending time alone, identify your needs and ways in which they can be fulfilled. You will find that you don’t necessarily need someone else to fulfill those needs or fill those empty spaces. When you know self, it also helps you to be more comfortable around others and others around you. Men for example, are proven to run away from women who appear affectionately needy and uncomfortable in their own skin. Men love their space and if they feel forced to always share it with you, it will chase them away.
People do need people but hey, you need yourself too—more than anything else. When people go, and they will at some point in life, either physically or emotionally, you will need you to depend on. Be your own best friend, companion and lover and save yourself from loneliness.
Test your self-esteem and honestly evaluate yourself. Click here Self-Esteem Test
How to love myself more click here Love Me More
Copyright, Woman to Woman