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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

We’re all afraid of being lonely. 

I don’t always find being alone or feeling alone an easy thing to accept within myself. It’s such a complex feeling that has the tendency to appear out of thin air, regardless if I’m physically alone or not. I could be in any social setting, and yet, from the back of my mind, that feeling creeps up out of nowhere. 

Being alone and feeling lonely is a hard thing to admit. If I asked you if you felt lonely today, you would probably hesitate to tell the truth (for what it’s worth, I wouldn’t tell the truth either). It’s understandable. Admitting it feels like you’re exposing this hidden flaw within yourself and, it’s in human nature to protect ourselves against what may expose our vulnerabilities. 

You’re not alone in that.

According to CIGNA, 46% of U.S. adults report feeling sometimes or always lonely. Gen Z has been dubbed the loneliest generation at 48.3%.

By definition, loneliness is sadness caused because one is in no company. However, the truth is that even with company we can experience loneliness. Meanwhile, alone means being on your own. Being physically alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely. There can be a comfort found in spending time by yourself, and who better to spend quality time with than you? 

CEO and founder of Tea With Strangers Ankit Shah was a guest speaker for TEDX 2020 event TEDxPineCrestSchool to share his personal experiences of dealing with being alone and why learning to be alone is necessary to the meaningful connections we have in our lives. 

“If you want to feel less lonely, you need find comfort when you are alone. That means you can’t just rely on connecting with others or focusing on some distraction or another. Unless you learn how to connect with yourself—until your own company becomes enough—loneliness is always around the corner,” said Shah. 

If you’ve related to any of this, I need you to know that you’re not alone in feeling alone. You’re probably wondering “Now what? How can I be okay with being alone?” Luckily, I’ve found a few tips along my journey thus far that I feel could really be beneficial to this emotion and all its chaos. 

1. Ease into it.

If you’re new to this, try setting aside a small amount of time to do something you love! Read a book, start a new show, clean your room, create a journal entry. Whatever you feel allows you to connect with yourself and allows you to spend that quality time is worth doing. Finding peace in doing something with ourselves can spark our feelings of independence. You’ll be able to figure out what YOU like and eventually you will understand that isn’t a bad thing to enjoy on your own.

2. Know When to Log On and Log Off.

If you’re one who finds comfort in being online, the internet offers great outlets and resources for this common feeling. Consider things like group chats, multiplayer games, and even online dating sites. All of these offer ways to interact and engage with others. That being said, social media and the online world can be chaotic and could even contribute to these feelings of loneliness. Not everything we see online is reality, and often times it can be so easy to compare ourselves regardless of what is true. I’m here to say that if you need to take a step back, do it! The internet is forever, and it will all be here when you get back.

3. Practice Self Care.

It’s always a good idea to take the time for yourself, whatever that may look like. It’s super important to find things that make you feel like your best self to ensure that you feel the richness life has to offer. Each of us deserves to find time to discover that about each other.

I am still learning to listen to my own advice and navigate this topic. Nobody has it all figured out no matter how much we wish we could. Trying to be comfortable in the lonely is not something to feel shame in. It’s a challenge I find myself admiring within myself and others.

In case nobody has told you today: I am proud of the progress you have invested in yourself. You’re capable and deserving of the good things the world has to offer you. This emotion will one day pass by. It’s important to allow yourself to feel it. 

Whether you’re alone or feeling lonely, you’re entitled to finding your own comfort and confidence. Keep navigating the unfamiliar!

Madison is a student at The University of Florida majoring in Mass Media Production with a minor in Graphic Design. Madison is a positive individual who loves astrology, Harry Styles, and any kind of iced coffee. When she isn't writing, you can find her shopping for plants, playing Mariokart with her friends, and perfecting her strategies for making the perfect avocado toast.