For so many people, days are filled with co-workers, children, friends, family members, those we serve, those we work for, or a myriad of others. They wake up and immediately surround themselves with other people, whether they add value to their life or not.
Then, if they do find time where they are suddenly alone, they fill it with busyness; working, cleaning, organizing, exercising, television, etc. They constantly have to have something to occupy themselves, and if there is nothing to do they become agitated, annoyed, and irritable.
I know first hand, because I used to be one of those people. I went through a very stressful transition in my life and to deal with it I became a workaholic. I woke up at 5:00 AM to go running and would then head right to the office to dive into work. I was usually the first one there and many times the last to leave. But it didn't end when I went home.
The company paid for me to have a blackberry, so I could be connected to email 24/7 (this was before true smartphones came out). I would go home, have a bite to eat, go running again (!), and end up either in my home office working lat into the night or at my neighbors house for a few drinks, because without some alcohol to take the edge off I couldn't relax. I worked almost constantly and even slept with my blackberry.
When someone I worked with sent an email from another time zone in the middle of my sleeping hours, I was right there to read it!
Sounds great doesn't it? It really doesn't, and I wasn't living any kind of real life; I was just covering my problems and my fear of being alone with work, exercise, and alcohol. I was terribly imbalanced and because of it I became very sick.
When we try to ignore our minds telling us something, it inevitably comes out physically, forcing us to slow down or stop and reevaluate. I did recognize just before I became sick that I needed to make a change, but I didn't know how, and by the time I left my job it was too late.
Once I left and became well again I was still mentally a mess! I had no clue what to do with all of this time and solitude. Admittedly I started to feel a little crazy.
I began journaling to reduce my stress and started spending most of my time reading everything I could get my hands on to overcome my inability to just be. Before the stressful transition in my life I was ok, but now I had a serious fear of just being when I was alone.
Yet, so many great things can come to light when we spend time alone. If we hold onto a fear of being alone we tend to either fill the time with busy work, or fail to do much of anything, becoming frozen. It took me a really long time, but I found that in order to overcome my fear I just had to do it.
It is almost like meditation, and at first I did go a little crazy, but the more time I spent alone, the more comfortable I became.
Eventually I got past the withdrawal period and would catch myself sometimes still trying to fill my time with something, but once I did, my creativity returned, my anger and irritability diminished, and I had a sense of calm instead of constant stress.
Journaling, yoga, and flower essences helped me understand more about myself and regain equilibrium. Honestly, I am a completely different person now. Overcoming my fear of being alone has lead me to try new things, relax, and figure out what I truly want out of life.
“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for
constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being