Philosopher reveals why so many people find spending time alone ‘frightening’ – and what you can do about it

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  • With lots of talk about self-isolation and social distancing, a new podcast about being alone could not have come at a better time.

    The new Alonement podcast, hosted by journalist Francesca Specter, is all about the time you spend alone and why it matters.

    Hoping to rebrand what being alone means, a word that often comes with the negative conotation of loneliness, she’s interviewed a high-profile lineup – including Poorna Bell, Jo Good, Daisy Buchanan, Alice Liveing and Jada Sezer – about their own experiences of spending time alone.

    Explaining the concept on her website, Francesca writes, ‘It is a celebration of your relationship with yourself. It’s giving dignity and value to time spent alone, in a western society which celebrates extroversion all too highly.’

    And during the first episode with Alain de Botton – author of Essays in Love and founder of the popular School of Life – he revealed why being on your own can be frightening for many people.

    The author, whose books have been described as a ‘philosophy of everyday life, said on the podcast, “Being on your own is for many people not just a bit boring, it’s positively frightening.

    Listen to the first episode of the Alonement podcast here

    “It’s horrible because you’re in danger of stumbling on bits of information that will require pain in one way or another. The pain of mourning, the pain of needing to take action, the pain of realising that life isn’t what you want it to be.”

    But if you find yourself in that camp, Alain also had advice on how to overcome your fear.

    “If we’re looking for how to cure or solve the problem of loneliness, what we have to start with is changing what being on your own means. In a way, at times all of us can feel quite comfortable being on our own, but other times it’s anguishing, so let’s look at what goes on when it’s anguishing”, he added.

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    Happy hump day! It’s time for the second principle of #alonement – captured by @r4chelt in this beautiful design. #2 Value your relationship with yourself. By default, you will worry about your relationships with others. Are you listening to your partner enough? Are you being kind enough to your child? But it’s important to ask these questions of yourself, too. To apply the same values to your relationship with you. Listen. Be kind and thoughtful. Sympathise. Your relationship with yourself, by default, is the longest and most significant one you will ever have. No one will ever spend more time with you than you. No one knows exactly what it’s like to be inside your head. There’s no getting away from that reality – so lean it to it. . . . . . #alonement #selflove #loveyourself

    A post shared by alonement (@alonementofficial) on

    “We sometimes torture ourselves with the thought that everyone else is having a good time. Now we can really probe into that – what does that mean? We know well enough the reality of other people’s relationships, other people’s friendships to know a lot of people in company are not happy, very compromised in some ways.”

    Food for thought…

    The first episode of the Alonement podcast featuring Alain is now available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all good podcast providers. New episodes will be available weekly every Friday.

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