Learning how to be alone is an art. It takes patience, tons of patience in fact, but it is so vitally important for good mental health and healthy relationships. If we can’t stand to be alone, we are far too vulnerable and, in many cases, we do things that are not good for us in our desperation to avoid being alone.
So what do you do when you find yourself faced with the cavernous ache of being alone?
Don’t Fight It: The worst thing you can do when you are faced with being alone is to run from it! This is the time to embrace your season of loneliness. Get used to your own company, marinate in the silence, and soak in the unknown. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, allowing yourself to really get in touch with your quirks, nuances, feelings, needs, and wants.
Nurture Yourself: Learn what soothes your soul. Feel your feelings about being alone. Allow yourself to cry, if you need to. Find out what makes you laugh. Journal your feelings, allow them to flow through your fingertips. Snuggle up in a soft blanket or with your pet. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend if they were hurting. Resist the urge to fill the void with unhealthy things like partying, TV, excess food or alcohol, overspending, or working too much or (God forbid) dating!
Research You: What do you like? Chinese food? Italian? Starbucks? Chai Tea? Watching sunsets? Photography? Racquetball? Do you like to sleep late, or go to bed early, or both? Go to church. Attend Karaoke night or go Salsa dancing. Learn to ride a motorcycle or take an art class. What have you always wanted to do but never done?
Change Your Self-Talk: Far too many people curl up in a ball and wallow in the pain of their new situation. Instead of looking in the rear-view mirror and agonizing over being where you are, look forward and decide where you are headed. Tell yourself that you’re going to be okay. Know that the butterflies in your stomach will settle down as you become accustomed to the changes. You WILL survive this difficult period of your life and you will be better, stronger and healthier for it.
Learning how to be alone is an essential part of normal growth and development. If you are in this stage right now, rest in knowing that you are right where you need to be. Learn from it; hear what it has to say to you. One day you will look back on this day and be thankful for the growth that sprang from it. In the meantime, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and trust that you are going to be okay. . .