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In my 20s, being alone was so triggering.
I would find any distraction to avoid loneliness: partying, unhealthy relationships, being constantly on the go and busy…the truth was, it was not being alone that was excruciating, but the feelings I associated with my beliefs around solitude. At the time, being alone meant not being good enough—not good enough to have friends, not good enough to be in a relationship, not good enough to be loved.
It took time, but I’ve learned to truly enjoy my own company. I now find being alone rejuvenating. I’m able to connect to my needs and recognize when I need time with myself or company.
Let’s explore how to enjoy being alone in those triggering moments.
1. Give yourself permission to feel.
First and foremost, listen to what’s happening within. As soon as you feel a situation bringing up a trigger—sadness, discomfort, or anxiety, take a breath and observe it.
Maybe you came home to an empty apartment. Maybe you saw a happy family on the street while you’re going through a divorce. Maybe you saw families reunited for Christmas on social media while you were away from your family.
2. Stop the distraction.
An important step here is to take a breath. Don’t go into the habits you’ve developed to distract yourself from your uncomfortable feelings. Maybe you open the fridge to eat, maybe you turn on your mobile phone to scroll social media, maybe you numb with alcohol, TV, or anything else.
Just pause. Take a breath. Or two. Or three.
3. Trust that you can handle the emotions that are there to be felt.
Observe the emotions flow. The movement of energy that are emotions. With no resistance. Observe with curiosity and kindness the sensations within the body. Where are they located? Do they have a certain texture, a certain colour? What type of sensations arise? Tightness? Contraction? Sweating? Is the heart beating faster?
4. Observe the thoughts and beliefs that make the trigger start and worsen.
Observe where you mind goes. What are you equating being alone with?
Being miserable? Nobody loves me? Being a failure? Being a burden?
What are your projections about it?
I will always be alone?
Your beliefs come from what you might have experienced or learned in the past. A grandmother who was alone and perceived as a burden because everyone had to look after her. Maybe your family emphasized being social, outgoing, fun, going out, having friends around, and avoiding being alone.
Maybe your expectations are coming from the culture of the society you live in, expecting you to be married and have kids. If this is not the model you’re living now, you might feel disappointed or you think others might be disappointed.
Maybe it is the eyes of others that bother you most in the situation. What would people think if I spend new years eve alone? What would people think if I am not married by 35?
Bring awareness to all those limiting beliefs that show up.
Once you observe those thoughts and beliefs and the negative impact they have on your state of being, give yourself permission to choose different beliefs. Choose to believe something that will serve you better at that moment.
Are those beliefs absolute truth? Are those beliefs just constructs of your mind? Are they constructs of our society? Are those constructs serving you well right now? Do you know someone who is single and happy? Do you know someone who chose to be alone for new years eve and enjoyed it? Are any of your single friends actually happy and free? Don’t you long sometimes to be alone, quiet, and at peace?
Are you ready to let go of those beliefs? So take a breath and make the decision that those beliefs are gone for good. Visualise them dissipating into the air as you breathe out.
Maybe reframe being alone as being free. Doing anything you would like to do, when you want to do it. Maybe being alone means being strong and independent.
Maybe being alone means being quiet, being at peace. Maybe being alone is simply giving yourself time to rest and rejuvenate.
The truth is that being alone only has the meaning you create for it. Being alone is simply being alone. It does not mean anything. It can mean whatever you choose. So choose a better belief. A belief that serves you right here right now.
6. Learn to enjoy your own company.
Now that there is no meaning attached to you being alone, let’s:
>> Go for a walk in nature. Nature has a way to bring you back to your true self, your natural self, to a state of balance and peace. Nature is nonjudgmental. It’s beautiful. You are nature. Spend time in nature. In winter, in summer, on a rainy or sunny day…breathe, look, observe, feel.
>> Read an inspiring book from one of your favourite authors or spiritual teachers.
>> Listen to the music you love, give yourself permission to dance.
>> Meditate. Find a guided meditation that you truly enjoy, cultivate a peaceful, elevated state of being.
>> Move your body (yoga is one of my favourites because it’s a full mind-body-spirit practice) but anything from a walk to dancing to any type of exercise you actually enjoy. Get the energy flowing.
>> Sign up for something you always wanted to do or learn. Even online these days. Painting classes, singing lessons…
>> Connect with a good friend. Have a chat. Share how you feel. Have a laugh!
And of course if you feel this is all too overwhelming get help from a therapist or a coach. We all need a helping hand from time to time.
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