A reader reached out to me last week stating he is struggling. He wants to create sacred space for his own self love while not being distracted by the opposite sex… considering that we can not really love outside ourselves until we love our own experience as an individual. He asked for any insight on the topic.
I loved the question because this is something I have been wrestling with the last 2 years. I write this with a face full of dried tears (it isn’t the first time and won’t be the last!). For whatever reason, I have really been feeling it the last few days; the fine dance of enjoying life on my own, while still being in connection with others, but not depending on those connections to make up for a lack of what I can give myself.
When I started this inward journey 2-3 years ago, there was a big lack of what I was giving myself in terms of validation, love, self-respect, and sacred space. We need to be able to dance with ourselves: enjoy it, savor it. AND we need to be able to connect with others along the way.
A state of loneliness is different than being alone. I have felt alone in a sea of people before, but more connected when alone hiking in nature. Many times I have had the opposite experience, where I have felt awful when alone, but very engaged and connected when I am with people. I absolutely do not have all the answers on this topic, but I do have some insights.
Lonely means to be cut off from others. I have found this to be literal or metaphorical. If you’re cut off from your true self and your heart, there can be a sense of loneliness no matter who you are with. On the flip side, the caliber of people matters greatly, too. If you are with people you cannot be yourself around, you’re going to be “cut off” in a metaphorical sense, and it is going to feel less than satisfying.
There are some tools that have helped me navigate the path so I can keep myself in check navigating loneliness versus alone. These have also helped me depend on people less and give myself more of what I need on the journey of being a happy, whole human being. Therefore, I want to share them with you!
1. Be the friend/partner to yourself you’ve always wanted during your alone time- This has hands down been the most important thing I have done for myself the last 2 years. In my childhood I desperately wanted my family to allow me to travel abroad, and then my former husband to want to go places with me. Well, who better to give me permission to travel the world than me!?!? I started giving myself permission to do things, take myself on dates, and give myself the times and experiences I was so craving. Love on yourself! Buy some high quality sex toys if no lover is in sight! Dress up sexy for YOU. Send yourself flowers or order that gift you wanted. TREAT YOURSELF AND MAKE YOURSELF SMILE!! What would bring you joy, be satisfying and fulfilling? When I started being to myself the friend and partner I always wanted, I started feeling way more joy and satisfaction, and loneliness has been low to nonexistent during my time alone. It is a process, but it has to start somewhere. You can start, one joyful decision at a time.
2. Surround yourself with people who fill your soul tank- I cannot emphasize this enough. Whether it is your partner, friends, or family, you need to find people who lift you up; people you can talk to for hours about real life, be goofy, silly, laugh, cry, and have authentic and REAL connection without the BS. I have been doing a lot of relationship reconfiguring the last 2 years. I have lost some, gained some, and dynamics in existing ones have shifted. What I can say is my relationships are the healthiest and most satisfying they have ever been, and that makes time in between seeing my friends more fulfilling. The time in between dates is less significant too because I am so satisfied in the now. My theory is that my “soul tank” is so full, I am experiencing the connections long after the interactions. If you’re feeling drained around people, that is your sign you need new connections. You have control who you let in and out of your life. Be intentional, be full.
3. Find your healthy balance in connection- If I am doing all of the above smashingly and loneliness shows up, it is usually my body telling me that connection is lacking. It is then my job to troubleshoot where that is. Maybe it is with myself, or perhaps I have gone too long without others. I will then take action. I will make plans, make a date with me, or make a phone call. It just depends. Everyone is different; some are more extroverts, some more introverts. No matter where you land, don’t let people become a crutch because you’re afraid of being alone, and don’t let aloneness become a crutch either because you’ve been hurt. Find your connection beyond people. I have found connecting more with nature, my purpose, and the oneness of it all extremely gratifying. Explore.
4. Lastly, allow yourself to be present and find acceptance- You may not have all of the answers today. Your relationships may not be exactly where you want them to be. But stay MINDFUL ON THE PATH. I say if you are on the path, you are on the way. Be patient and allow yourself to take action when necessary and then surrender when necessary. We do not find our way overnight. It has taken me my entire life with 3 years intentionally dedicated to intense inner work to get to where I am. I am no longer afraid of being alone, and I am providing myself what I need without seeking externally. It is possible to be where you want to be. It hasn’t been easy or pretty all of the time. Life has happened while on the journey, and it will for you too. Give yourself grace.
It is all coming together. Be intentional, be patient. Xo