How to Be ‘Okay’ with Being Alone

This past Sunday night, I wanted to attend the sit-in rally downtown in solidarity with Charlottesville, NC. I asked my daughter to go with me, but she was unavailable. I thought about reaching out to someone else. And, I thought about not going. Then I thought again. “What do you mean you’re not going because you have to go alone?!?”  It sounded immature and dumb, so I made up my mind to go anyway. I wanted to be there.

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Going someplace alone, I sent my psyche a message that I do know what I want and I don’t need other people to affirm or confirm my choices. I’ve had that bad habit my whole life of needing others to set the stage and determine what’s important, and what’s right. You lead, I’ll follow…I haven’t always trusted myself completely.

When I became single, I used to think, I didn’t want to go places by myself because I would feel lonely. I avoided feeling lonely if at all possible. It was like a curse. Sometimes I felt lonely even when I wasn’t alone!

That is until I stayed lonely long enough and forced myself to face loneliness like a real fear. That’s when I learned something valuable.

Thomas Moore states it better than I ever could. He says, “Loneliness is sometimes a sign that we need to learn what it takes for us to be constructively alone, grounded in our own natures, willing to take responsibility for making our own decisions and shaping our own lives.”                             ~Thomas Moore, PHD

We turn to our attachments (the fillers) as a go to strategy when we’re struggling to understand who we are. We shift our sights from one thing to another, people, places, and circumstances, all the while thinking, this is who I am. We devote what we have available (and even things we don’t have) to prove that something outside us defines us.

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But it’s impossible for any of these external attachments (like a person or relationship) to contain our being-ness. They are not who we are. The proof in that is we are constantly changing our circumstances and relationships. And yet we still exist without them. We will and often do face exhaustion trying to fit into the different molds we encounter in our lives. We must instead seek to know our authentic beingness and express that alone.

20170813_202808I went to the rally alone because showing up for love is part of who I am. I didn’t need anyone to hold my hand or say, yeah, this is a good idea, a good thing to do. I didn’t feel less invested or less of a person sitting on the steps by myself – AND surrounded by thousands. Instead, I sunk into my true connectedness with the Universe. I made some brief friends. I soaked it all in. 

 

Lonely is a gift few of us really recognize for what it is. Lonely makes us learn to connect with humanity in a real way. When we have no one, we turn to invest in everyone. Lonely squeezes us into the shape of our authentic nature. Lonely pushes us past our resistance and our fears, and toward our divine potential. Lonely fills us with a longing to know who we really are deep down in our bones. Lonely wants to introduce us to the love we have inside – just so we learn and never forget what we truly have to share.

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