You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
You’re single. You love it. As happy as you might be with the daily routine of single life and the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want, there may come a time when you long for companionship. You may even begin to question the very nature of your solitary life.
If left unchecked, the longing and questioning can turn to brooding. That downward spiral of loneliness has an internal dialogue that might sound a little like this:
You: Why am I alone, anyway?
Also You: Because you want to be.
You: Really? Did I choose this life or is it that no one wants to be around me for very long?
Also You: Don’t be silly. Here, have a donut.
You: I don’t need sugary carbs; I need an answer.
Also You: [sigh] Well, you are a little set in your ways, but you’re a decent and loving person.
You: You have to say that; you’re me.
Also You: Very true, oh, wise one.
You: Seriously. Is there something wrong with me? Why does every romantic relationship I have end disastrously? Will I end up dying alone and unloved?
Et cetera, et cetera.
You Can’t Take it With You
There are many reasons why your romantic relationships may not turn out well, so let’s not dwell on that. As for dying alone? Here’s a newsflash: We all die alone. Married people, well-loved people, people with oodles of best buddies—death is a natural journey that we all make as individuals.
We don’t get to bring anyone along with us. But we don’t have to die unloved. In fact, spending a life alone doesn’t mean remaining isolated. The truly honored Highest Self knows that it must balance the restorative properties it receives from time alone to help cultivate loving relationships with friends and family.
Loneliness is a state of mind. It usually creeps up on us when we’ve had a particularly bad day (or week, or month) and are feeling defeated. Here’s something that will make you feel better: loneliness may be a sign that you’ve done an excellent job of honoring your Highest Self.
Your soul’s batteries are now well charged and it’s time to go out and socialize.
Kick Loneliness to the Curb
What if no one you know is around or free to play with you? Go out anyway. Here are a few things you can do to combat loneliness:
- Volunteer…anywhere. Soup kitchen, YMCA, after-school programs for kids, etc.
- Go to a poetry reading or book signing at your local bookstore.
- Go to the gym and work your loneliness off in a group class.
- Take a course in something you’ve always wanted to learn at your community center.
Here’s what not to do if you’re feeling lonely:
- Think about how lonely you are.
- Ask yourself why no one wants to be with you.
- Eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Mud Pie ice cream while staring blankly at the refrigerator door magnets.
So, Why Am I Still Single?
After about three or four years in a row of living alone, I began to experience a deep longing for companionship, and the inevitable questioning that accompanied not finding true love.
I paced around my house talking out loud to myself about how it might be possible to be pushing forty and still single. I had no terrible habits (except, perhaps, talking out loud to myself). I was neat, clean, funny, intelligent and a good listener. I could make a mean salad.
I had decent if eclectic taste in music, literature, art, cinema… So what was going wrong? Why was I single? Why didn’t I have loads of friends to keep me afloat (instead of a small handful, most of whom lived in different states)?
As I paced and talked, I found myself descending into a depression. It was a depression based on the fear that there was something fundamentally wrong with me and I would remain on the fringes of society forevermore.
I had to stop the spiral.
How? By turning off the stream of negative ideas in my head and allowing the positive facts of my life seep in. The distinction is an important one, so let me say it again: I stopped the negative ideas and let the positive facts take over.
Loneliness is a state of mind. Negative ideas encircle that state, thoughts of being abandoned or of not being worthy of human interaction. By turning those thoughts off—simply not letting them have airtime in our minds—we leave room to cultivate positive facts about our life alone. For example, instead of, “What if secretly no one really likes me?” think: “In my life alone, I have time and peace of mind to accomplish my goals.” In essence, we can turn negative loneliness into positive aloneness.
Stopping the Downward Spiral of Negativity
Stopping the flow of negative thoughts may seem easier said than done. In reality, what you are doing is retraining your mind to think a certain way. Scientists have proven that certain thought patterns create a neural pathway in your brain, much like a well-worn hiking trail in the woods. It’s your job to step off the negative path and blaze a new one with positivity. This is how hypnotherapy works, and its tools can be used by anyone.
The next time you feel lonely to the point of questioning your life of solitude, isolate the first negative thought that comes to you. Write it down. Now consider a positive aspect of your life alone.
Perhaps it’s the clarity of mind that comes from living a home life without interruption from others. Or it’s the joy of knowing each day can unfold as you desire, with no one to question your decisions. Write the positive fact of your life down as well.
You may even wish to put a blank sheet of paper on the refrigerator and add your positive facts as they come to you. Refer to it often for a quick pep talk, especially when you feel the negative thoughts creeping in.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman