When Being Independent Makes You Feel Alone

September 11, 2016

Independence is something that many seek. It is in our nature to let go of the ties that bind us to that which we no longer need. Finding a job, financial independence, searching for our own home, and perhaps our own partner. But what happens when independence makes us feel alone?

Solitude is something that many seek, but for others it is very difficult to live with. This is something to fear when seeking independence. Two feelings appear with those who have to deal with it.

“Living with company is no guarantee of shared affection just as living alone is not synonymous with independence or freedom.”

-Maria Jesus Alava Reyes-

Learning to live in solitude

woman looking at the gates of heaven thinking about the weight of bring independent

When we become independent, we find a house in which no one is waiting for us. A house where silence and loneliness reign. This sense of isolation and abandonment is unbearable for many. What do they do then? Find someone who wants to share their life with them.

This usually happens on the emotional level. When we do not know how to be without a partner, nor can we endure emotional independence, we look to the first person that smiles at us to become a part of our life.

We try to fill our lives with something that really does not fill us. What we are not aware of is that being with someone is not going to fill us. That is something we create in our minds. Oftentimes, being with someone makes us feel equally empty.

Loneliness teaches more than any company.

This situation of independence, emptiness and loneliness, can make us become apathetic and miserable. How can we solve it? It will not be easy…

We are taught that being alone is something negative, but, on the contrary, independence is a good thing. This contrast causes tension between what we want and what we feel. Between the need for independence and fear of silence and loneliness.

I want to be independent, but not feel alone

When we are in this situation, we must reflect in order to come up with a solution:

  • Evaluate your attachments.We tend to become attached to material things and people which can be almost as bad as being addicted to drugs. Whenever we feel detachment it hurts and therefore we turn to the “drug” that makes us feel better.
  • Connect with your emotions and be aware that there is only one person who will always be next to you: yourself. If independence will produce a negative feeling of being alone, think of this as a new learning experience.
  • Enjoy your own company. We often do not know how to be with ourselves and enjoy the silence and solitude that enriches us and allows us to know ourselves better! Eating alone and going to the movies by ourselves may be uncomfortable, but it is something that can benefit you.
girl with umbrella thinking about being independent

Surely, out of these three things we have mentioned the most shocking is enjoying your own company. Especially when it comes to going to the movies or eating alone.

There are many people who do this because they know that it is important to partake in certain actions that we normally think of doing in the company of others. These people know how to enjoy their solitude. They know that going to the movies alone and going for a walk alone does not have to be unpleasant.

We have been taught to be in contact with ourselves and there are certain things such as eating or going for a walk alone that we unconsciously envision doing with someone else. If we are not accompanied, this already suggests an obvious discomfort.

Imagine that for work-related reasons you have to go to another country and you don’t know anyone there. What will you do then? Keep yourself locked up at home?

“Why, in general, do we shy away from loneliness? Because there are few who find company in themselves”

-Carlo Dossi-

If independence makes you feel alone, do not look back or turn around to someone to make up for that void you feel. Take this as a new lesson and learn to enjoy yourself without the need to be accompanied by anyone.

You can enjoy many things that you think you could only do with others. Eliminate this from your mind, begin to change and see independence from another point of view.

dandelion in a glass jar

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Images courtesy of Xiu Pen, Art H.Q, Stenn Lee