Alone: having no one else present, on one’s own. The definition of alone sounds a bit lonely at first. I have found out recently that lonely to one person is not necessarily the same for another. The truth is, I like being alone and it takes a lot for me to truly feel lonely. This recent discovery came after my long-distance relationship ended. I knew he was not handling the distance well but I also knew he had other issues he was working through that had nothing to do with me and maybe that is the real key to being alone and being okay. I am happy with myself, my path, my life in general. I am ready to accept another into my world and share it but I don’t have to have someone. I think sometimes people are lonely and any warm body will do to keep from dealing with the thoughts and feelings they are avoiding. Being alone means sitting with those thoughts and processing your shit. Being alone means not having to constantly be entertained because you have interests that keep you entertained. I can read, research, cook, clean, watch TV, garden, tend to my pets or plants, organize, write…spend days doing things that do not involve another person. I understand this may not be healthy after some length of time, but the ability to do it and not feel lonely is healthy.
I go out to lunch with friends, have coffee, get dinner and drinks, and other activities in my life. I visit my parents farm and interact socially. I am not a hermit. I think the key word here is balance. Balance includes a healthy variety of friends and family and alone time. If you are not getting quality time socializing with others that can be bad but not having the ability to be alone is also bad. This recent relationship had many warning signs that grew over time. It saddens me because it also had many wonderful qualities. It is hard to let someone go when you see them struggling, especially as a therapist. I have to remind myself that it is not my job to fix him. We agreed to be friends and here I am on a Friday night wondering what is next in my book of life? I admit, I am tired. I am starting to make peace with myself and my goals and become more and more comfortable with the idea of remaining alone. It seems dating and relationships have lost their magic for me. The times when couples would be miles apart and only write letters and get the occasional phone call but still stay in love are long gone. Attention 24/7 is often desired. People have no patience or grit to hang in and work for long term goals. Instant gratification and keeping score of who gives what and how much can often be the bigger focus than learning someones heart and their hopes for the future.
It is disheartening but I have not lost hope, but for now I do believe I am quite happy just being alone.
Sometimes the ones we love the most seem to be the ones that pull us out of alignment with ourselves. Then I think, if we were ever really in alignment why did we attract their negativity? That is when I am reminded that the work is not about anyone else, as long as I am staying in my own lane, focusing on being my best, finding my true happy place, well…then I will feel good about life and remain in alignment. I remind myself of my values and goals and ask myself if what I am doing and the thoughts I am allowing to fully form are supportive of my end game. Are the people I am surrounding myself with and the words they are speaking to me supportive of my end game? Often times we cannot control the situations that come our way or the people, but we can choose how we respond to them. This is where the real power lies.
I have found myself trying to find positive, common ground with a person who just seems to focus on the negativity of each situation. When I make an effort to have a positive conversation about things the response often starts off with a negative statement followed by a slow backing up of how they are making the best of it anyway. My first instinct is to challenge and call them out on the negativity but often that is met with a either more of them trying to say it really isn’t that bad and how they are making it work anyway, as if it is some great chore they are suffering through. So I have stopped challenging them on their thoughts. If a person chooses to treat each day like chore and take on the role of victim of their own situation (that they chose), then they really have no one to blame but themselves. I no longer feel it is my job to argue or talk them out of this mindset. If you are unhappy with how your life is going then take action to change it. If you continue to stay in the same situation and make no effort to change then stop complaining about it.
People often want to point fingers and use others as a reason for why they are in the situation they are in, never taking full responsibility for their choices or lack of making a solid choice. When you are out of alignment and feeling negative the first place everyone should look is within. Unfortunately, the first instinct is to point fingers saying “you talked me into this”, ” I stay because I love you”… comments like this are simply cop-outs. Nobody talks anybody into anything unless that person already wants to do it themselves. Staying because you love someone even though you are unhappy in the situation is a lie to yourself, because love should not feel like a sacrifice. Look within and discover the real reason why you feel unhappy and stop blaming others.
True alignment starts with taking responsibility of your own life and not blaming others or trying to fix others. Emotions are a guidance system and if something feels off then be brave enough to ask yourself why and do something about it the first moment you feel it. It could be as simple as changing how you respond to a person, like I stopped challenging a friend on their thought process. I realized my need to challenge them was to get them to see things the way I see them and that is just not possible. We often spin our wheels trying to get people to understand us in life only to realize that most people have to just learn on their own. We complicate relationships often because we feel complicated within. How we treat others is often a reflection of how we feel about ourselves in any given moment. Take a moment to pause and really be self-aware of how you feel and why you respond to people and situations the way you do. Taking inventory may lead you to making some changes which I like to call re-alignment. This is something everyone should do daily. Mindfulness check-ins can help us stay value focused so our choices throughout each day are moving towards the type of person we want to be, an aligned individual.