“If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company.” — Jean-Paul Sartr
“All of our unhappiness comes from our inability to be alone.” — Jean de la Bruyere
Being alone. It can be a wonderful time to recharge, relax and just be. And it can also feel really lonely. Many of my clients this week have been dealing with feelings of loneliness so today I feel called to offer some ways in which you can shift how you experience being alone.
The truth is we are always alone and never really alone. I realize that may sound confusing. We are always alone in that even when we are with other people we are 100-percent solely responsible for our experience. No one can “make” us feel any certain way. On the flip side, we are never really alone in that we are all connected on a Universal level. One of the ultimate Truths is that we are all One and each one of us is also connected to a Higher Power, which makes it impossible to ever truly be alone.
The experience of loneliness is based on the misunderstanding that we are separate and that being with another would “fix” the ache inside. What we are most longing for when we are lonely is the connection to that feeling of Oneness. When you feel lonely, having someone else there seems like the solution; however, the solution really lies in reinterpreting your experience of being alone and finding ways to feel connected both to yourself and to Spirit.
Now you may be asking, “How do I do I feel connected when I feel totally alone and disconnected?” Sometimes the experience of loneliness can feel so painful that connection seems almost impossible. If that feels true for you, here is a four-step process you can use to support yourself in relieving feeling lonely:
Step One: Indulge. Throw yourself a pity party — but only for 10 minutes! Allow yourself to cry, feel sorry for yourself, entertain all the reasons why you are alone, fantasize over what would make it better, etc. Really go for it, get all the yucky feelings and judgments out by writing them all on a piece of paper and then destroying it. Give yourself the opportunity to experience the pain of your loneliness knowing you only have 10 minutes to indulge. Once the timer goes off, the pity party is over.
Step Two: Investigate. The negative feelings that come from being alone stem from what you are telling yourself when you are alone. Investigate your thoughts and judgments. What are you making being alone mean? I assure you that what you are telling yourself about being alone is what is causing your suffering. As you realize that you are the one making alone mean something that triggers pain, you will be ready to make it mean something different. You may not be able to immediately shift the physical experience of being by yourself; but you can change your perception of it.
Step Three: Inspire. Loneliness can be a heavy experience and your energy often becomes stagnant when you’re in it. Find something that feels inspiring to you to begin uplifting your energy. Listen to song that inspires you, read a book that comforts you, or do something creative to tap into your own inspiration. Being inspired also will support you in feeling connected to a Higher Power. Look closely at the word inspire and you’ll see “in spirit.”
Step Four: Initiate. From a place of inspiration, rather than desperation or separation, initiate some kind of action that aligns you with feeling connected. Take some time to meditate or pray to support you in your awareness of Oneness and deepen your connection with yourself. Get out of your house and head somewhere like the grocery store where there are other people around. Initiate conversations with strangers. Or perhaps reach out to a friend or family member — but remember your pity party is over so reach out with the intention to connect, not to complain about being alone.
And, remember, you are never truly alone. You are connected. You are part of the Oneness we are all a part of (even if it does not always feel like it). Seize the beautiful opportunity that the feeling of loneliness can be the catalyst for: a deeper connection to your authentic self. Soon you will discover that you are really good company.