Hi dear Readers! Welcome back to The Art of Onward !! I'm using my story here to inspire yours. Sharing what I've learned through my journey and my struggles, is my way of turning this around, to help make the world a better place by hopefully eliminating the struggle you may be facing.
This is our topic for this week. Loneliness. Being lonely, feeling lonely. It's different than being isolated, or isolating ourselves, the two can go hand in hand, but
Loneliness stands on its Own.
It is a feeling deep within us. It feels like a deep empty hole, and the temptation is to try to fill it as soon as we possibly can, because we so badly want that feeling to go away.
We can run to social media and begin talking with whomever we can find available.
We can work more, longer.
We can surround ourselves with people, and jump from one event or party to another.
We can erroneously jump in to romantic relationships to try to fill the void.
Because it is a void. And it can be discouraging. And it IS PAINFUL to feel lonely.
I'm preparing myself for a season of loneliness as my youngest daughter is going off to University on the other side of the country. I know I will miss her terribly. She is such a big part of my life. It's bringing back memories of when my oldest daughter moved far away as well, and I thought I would never get past the pain within me that even manifested in to physical pain.
I am fiercely connected with my daughters. And now that connection will need to continue on a spiritual realm, physically so removed.
It will be difficult. I know this.
You may be feeling lonely in your situation, it is like a type of grief, isn't it? The end of someone in our lives, the removal of a reality we've come to love.
And it affects us all at some point in our lives.
I can empathize with loneliness, and that deep hole within, which is why I like to end many of my posts here with "You are Not Alone". In fact, a big part of my struggle in the initial months was that deep loneliness that felt like it would never be cured, healed, filled. There seemed to be no possibility of relief for me during those days.
And here's why: I hadn't learned how to be my own best friend. This is process, to be sure. It also requires conscious effort on some days, and in many evenings.
I wholeheartedly believe in the fact that we are social beings, we need significant and insignificant relationships in our lives. Not all will last, in fact many won't, but we need interaction and mutually supportive friendships.
We are Spiritual Beings yes, but we are here in the midst of our Human Experience. And being human requires us to have meaningful, purposeful interaction with other Spiritual Beings in their Human Experience.
So how then, do we deal with this loneliness?
I don't believe I have all the answers here, I'm not sure anyone does, but here are some concepts that have strengthened me during the extra lonely moments:
1. Nurture My Spirituality - because we are Spiritual Beings first and foremost, this is a significant part of our wellbeing, it is a strong component of our wholeness. That inner health, however you find it and nurture it, needs to be first and foremost. It is the root of all joy and fulfillment.
2. My Own Best Friend - this doesn't mean for a second that I don't need my close friends, or my daughters. I need them very much, and I am happy to stand behind this fact any time, any day. Now though, I am no longer afraid to be lonely. How? I continue to use daily opportunities to teach those voices in my mind how to speak to me. I have been working on finding ways to build myself up, like I would for a friend, or a coaching client, instead of allowing the attacks to have their way with me.
Because WE HAVE A CHOICE and WE CAN DECIDE what we accept from not only others, but from our own voices. By making this choice a conscious one, we can be our own friend, and when we find ourselves battling with that lonely depth within us, we now remember the love surrounding us by the Divine, we now remember our friendships and relationships ENRICH our lives, but it is up to us to build that healthy inner life in order to be enriched BY relationships, and enriching TO relationships.
3. Conquer the Fear of Loneliness - Sometimes we can see it coming, sometimes we can't. Make a list of what you like to do in case it hits you off guard - have those paints ready to go, have that journal ready, have a hobby that is uplifting and brings you joy, have a playlist that encourages you in times of discouragement, have a movie you save for that evening when you're sitting alone - you know that one you know no one else really wants to watch with you - and feel too tired to put much effort in to anything, treat yourself to a drive with the windows down and music on too loudly.
4. Get Creative - gift yourself with the connection with your creative side. This is a highly spiritual exercise, I believe, and brings us closer to ourselves and closer to the Divine. He is the ultimate Creator, so by tapping in to our creative sides, however that is (dance, paint, photography, baking, cooking, singing, music of any kind, sculpture, anything creative that fills and serves you), we are connecting also to the Divine.
5. Meditation - have some meditations ready to go - those need to be listened to alone anyway, right? Put your essential oils in to your diffuser (remember my lemongrass for uplifting? It's inexpensive and highly effective - there are so many others of course, but this was my go to for a long time before I found others that work for me) and lay in a comfortable position and listen and meditate. Now you're back to point 1 in this list of ideas, and you are nurturing your spirituality.
6. Get Active - go for a run, a walk, a swim, do some yoga either in a studio or at home (so much available for free on YouTube) - getting active releases serotonin and allows us to feel better from a physical standpoint. Maybe even grab that uplifting playlist and get your headsets to double duty :)
7. Read - Have a few books ready, easier to read, a little heavier ... there are so many available that teach us how to live a fuller life, and of course, there's always fiction - I don't suggest reading love stories if you're going through a breakup, but find something that inspires you - whatever that is. And have it ready for those moments when you find yourself with time on your hands.
HERE'S WHAT NOT TO DO
Please don't sit and stew and feel awful. If you feel the need to, which is more than valid and has its place for sure, GIVE YOURSELF A TIME LIMIT. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Or 5. Sit and feel the loneliness, the emptiness, and grieve it. This is a part of respecting yourself. It's important - BUT don't do it for hours on end. Set a Timer, and when that timer goes off, let that be it for now. You can always go back to it next time, but after 10 minutes you've felt more than enough, now it's time to move on to something on your own list, or grab an idea from the above list.
You've had your cry, you've lamented your loss. Now build your you. Because in the end, your you is the key to your tomorrow.
If you find yourself lonely because your relationship partner has decided to end your relationship, please repeat this at least 5 times OUT LOUD:
I CHOOSE ME
I CHOOSE ME
I CHOOSE ME
Why? Because in this moment, it is YOUR opinion that matters. And him or her leaving you can sometimes make you feel less than, for a multitude of reasons. But here's the truth, as long as I CHOOSE ME, and it's MY OPINION THAT MATTERS, I'm going to be okay.
Remember, we can feel the most lonely when we are surrounded by people. We can feel the most lonely when we are in a relationship that is no longer serving us. We can feel the most lonely when we are pretending.
And we WILL FEEL THE MOST LONELY, if we don't choose ourselves. Consciously. Wholeheartedly.
(With Gusto as they say)
This is your life. It deserves to be amazing. You already are amazing.
And again I say,
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The Divine surrounds you and fills you always. There is love everywhere. Go back to that breathing exercise from my earlier posts - breathe in and receive the love and life around you, hold it and let is really sink in to your being, then slowly release the pain and grief. A little at a time.
Say no to the "nasty voices" and choose how you allow yourself to be spoken to.
It is okay to be alone physically. You have your you. And you have your Divine always. And now, you have all kinds of ways to enrich your you, and nurture your you, so being alone doesn't have to be scary anymore.
I truly hope this helps you in your journey.
So very much love,