A year ago I would've cringed at the thought of writing this post on loneliness… But, my own current Lonely hearts club isn’t a sad solo meeting in a church basement or a drunk sing-along A La Bridget Jones Diary anymore. Here I want to share about how I turned believing loneliness was a curse into a big old gratitude fest of celebrating my own company.
This topic in the past was something I looked at as taboo and shameful. Thinking something was inherently wrong with me for being alone and comparing my single status to others that are not, “Wow if they can find somebody, Why Oh Why can’t I?” or judging other single folks. As you can see over the years I have done a lot of self negative talk on being by myself and it has seemed to spill over into many other aspects of my life. But, always back to ‘What the heck is wrong with me’ ? Now I realize there is absolutely nothing wrong with me, maybe there are things I need to change, but not for the sole reason of finding a mate. Clearly, on a daily basis flawed humans date, marry and even procreate:)
So, what changed?
Staring Loneliness Head On. When I learned that I needed Heart Surgery and was scared sh*tless of doing this alone or worse dying alone. Yes, I had some remarkable individuals step-up to the plate and I will be forever grateful to know I actually wasn’t as alone as I thought. But, not having my Father, Mother, Step-Father or my Ex-husband there was excruciatingly hard. Looking back in some ways for most of the pre-surgery journey. I spent a lot of time doing the All or Nothing attitude. I wanted my Mommy and that unconditional love by my side or nothing at all. But, even though I did the ‘feel sorry for myself loneliness dance’, something happened… I wasn’t really alone. The Hospital Staff, amazing Chaplain and a Priest were there for me. My friends and family pushed through my loneliness to be there. I realized that my ideas of what I didn’t have was fulfilled in so many other amazing ways. Reminding me that loneliness is a choice we make sometimes out of fear and facing it truly takes it’s power away.
A Book. Last Fall, I listened to a Podcast interview via The Lively Show on the topic of Consciously Completing a Relationship with Author Katherine Woodward Thomas. Currently then and now I am Single, so the topic wasn’t too useful, but I was curious and so glad I listened because I heard Katherine's own story of her own challenges of being single and a previous book she had written called Calling in “The One”-7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life. I was fascinated to know how at my own age she finally found the One and to read the insights she had collected.
When the Book arrived at my local Barnes and Noble, I slithered shamefully in and picked it up. Once home I worked that book like Therapy Appointments for weeks. But, instead of finding the ‘One’. I began to truly allow myself for the first time EVER to be OK with my Solo status. Katherine really brought home that you must ‘Start creating your best life to bring in your perfect partner’. So, the advice that so many of us singles hate to hear is actually TRUE. Work on yourself and the lover will arrive;) Wink. Wink. Or in my case now you celebrate solo in the meantime.
Some Movies. While laid up after my Heart Surgery this summer, one of my dear friends from work brought over a extra Laptop and DVD’s for me to watch. Included in her selections was the 2003 Romantic Comedy, Under the Tuscan Sun starring Diane Lane. I had surprisingly never seen it or as I would like to believe… maybe it wasn’t the right timing until then:) But, whoa each time I watched the story about divorced, American writer Frances Mayes embarking on her ‘I am sick of being afraid’ adventure about fixing up a ramshackle villa in Tuscany, meeting unique characters and taking a chance on herself. It felt like big embrace of ‘It’s cool to be alone right now’ and even more rad to accept it.
And there is another movie favorite that recently reminded me that I was on the right path of embracing time by myself and that Harrison Ford is still hot:) Sabrina, the 1995 version with Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear. Do you remember the scene when Sabrina is in Paris and walking with her French Mentor? And she says to Sabrina, “You seem embarrassed by your Loneliness. Don’t be. It is only a place to start …”
A Slap in a face reminder that We shouldn’t be embarrassed of our Loneliness ever. I have firmly come to believe now and know it is where some the greatest adventures of our lives do start.
Other Cool Lonely People. Another big thing I have learned recently is not shy away from other lonely people for fear of misery likes company mentality. After all, not all Lonely people are miserable:) Get to know their stories, let them know your story and do things together. Embrace the chance to make new friends. I know that idea can be a frightening one as adult, so many of us stick with old friends just out of comfort and honestly that can even make you more lonely. Getting outside of our comfort zones might be scary at first, but who knows a new friend might introduce us to our next relationship:) Even if not, it is still worth cultivating new pals.
Gratitude. I know I have been talking a lot about Gratitude lately. But, it is a discipline that really works in the loneliness department as well. Being Grateful for the time alone to focus on the things we love and self-care. And I am not just talking about running a bath or going for a walk. Those things definitely matter and bathing is always a good idea;) But, Gratitude for self-care when related to how we treat ourselves mindfully. The things we say to ourselves. If we are talking trash about ourselves, loneliness will be a prison of sorts. But, if we change that trash talk into gratitude talk, loneliness becomes a possible place of happy:) In my daily Morning Gratitude Practice, I try to say kind things about my current relationship status and even find myself saying, “I am Grateful for loneliness and all the lessons I am learning.”
I know many of you might think, I have falling off the Lonely Ladder:) But, Seriously it is pretty amazing to feel so at peace with this Single Moment in my life. Yes, of course I would love to find someone and I will. I never have had a problem with it in the past. But, I don’t want it be about desperation and embarrassment. I have learned from that kind of Loneliness, when we panic we attract like minded relationships or allow people into our lives that we normally wouldn’t. Just for the sake of not being alone.
So, I really hope all this Lonely Hearts Club talk might of helped you as well and if you have any other ideas of enjoying loneliness let me know. I would love to hear from you. Because I am Lonely and All;) wink. wink.