Autophobia – the fear of being alone. Most of us have had days where we have felt alone or isolated, including myself. It is a part of life, yet why is it a fear? When people talk about being alone, it is associated with negativity and presented as a fear for so many people. Although, it is inevitable that we are going to at some point feel alone, and discontent with ourselves because we are all human with flaws and imperfections that are not easy to change, but we can do our best to all realise that we do not need to feel that way. If we are more aware that we are not the only people feeling like that, it won’t feel like being alone.
However, being alone at some points in your life is vital and needed so you can develop as an individual. When people think about isolation, they picture a girl or boy, sat alone, disconnected from the same cliques of people around them, without choice, being left with nobody. The need for others to constantly be in groups of people contradicts itself when those same people claim they want “independence” in their futures. Nonetheless, I think being challenged independently, and being unable to rely on other people, is something that everyone needs to go through at one or more points in their lives. The ability to be away from others and appear confident without the requirement of people around them is an improbable quality. In regards to the statement presented by Jean Paul Sartre, there are many people who don’t feel capable of being alone without an overwhelming feeling of sadness and dread along with it.
It is necessary for someone to be content with being alone and in their own company for them to thrive as an individual person. Sartre supports the idea that people wouldn’t have the fear of being alone if they were satisfied with the company they were in. The need to have other people around you raises the idea that independence is crucial. The loss of people close to you can also make you feel very isolated, especially if you are not used to being without them. Sartre has experienced this first hand and knows what it’s like to lose someone close to you, as he lost his father at an early age. If you have not experienced being alone, the unexpected loss of loved ones will be even more traumatizing and can be damaging to you as an individual.
No one can undermine the fact that having people around who support you is largely pivotal to laughter, joy and in some ways, success; however, being alone is a skill, a skill that we all need to practice to improve our maturity and knowledge of ourselves. Being around people is easy, being alone is not, and may cause fear, stress and anxiety, yet in the long run it will teach you to support yourself.
Being completely co-dependent on another person can be toxic, especially if your fulfillment lies within that person. Sartre also emphasizes the idea that being alone does not mean you are without company. You are in the company of yourself, who you should know and understand better than anyone in this world. You are not alone. You should never feel forced to be around people just so you are not lonely, because it is better to be alone than in bad company.
Furthermore, the more you’re at peace with yourself, the better your own company will be. It is important to spend quality time with yourself, not only to learn more about yourself as a person, but to also ensure you have the right company around you in the future. The key to being your happiest with others, is being the happiest with yourself.
There is a clear difference between being lonely and feeling alone. Many people who don’t take the necessary time to recharge, consequently, end up feeling isolated, despite always being surrounded by others. There won’t always necessarily be people around you, so you have to learn to be happy by yourself; therefore, the teaching of self-awareness is vital.
I am not stating that you should isolate yourself from the world; however, I think we should minimise our need for external validation so we can limit the stresses we feel on a daily basis. The time alone is where you get to know yourself and your values, which you cannot do if you are constantly around other individuals. This will also have a positive effect when you decide to surround yourself with others because you will then be the best version of yourself, and as Henry Rollins stated, loneliness adds beauty to life. The fact that he describes loneliness as “beauty” indicates his contentment within himself. He does not need others to ensure his joy in life and refuses to see being alone as a negative attribute. If we all aspire to see loneliness in this light, we will all be more advanced individuals within ourselves and towards each other.