Alone versus Lonely
Alone: a physical state of being.
Lonely: a mental and emotional state of being.
The art of being alone is a practice of finding more satisfaction in our lives. According to the longest study on happiness, more satisfaction in relationships correlates with less physical pain and affliction. That means when we spend time developing self awareness and deep connections, we'll experience more comfort and ease in our lives. Count me in!
Satisfaction in relationships with others, including partners, coworkers, friends, family, mentors or students, comes from making efforts to develop quality relationships that are dependable and long lasting. It's not always easy or sexy to maintain long term relationships, but the people who do are deeply rewarded.
Folks who have satisfactory relationships they can rely on experience life with more happiness, better health, heightened memory function late in life and longer lifespans.
So, how can we find more satisfaction in our relationships? This begs the question: How can we know another without first knowing ourselves?
Say we operate in the world while feeling disconnected from ourselves and, therefore, everyone else. Then whether we are alone or in a room filled with friendly faces, it's likely that we'll feel lonely. I've been there. It's an uncomfortable place to be.
One way to face loneliness is, paradoxically, to spend time alone. When we make special plans to be alone for "Me Time" to recharge, to reflect and to experience our current state of being, it helps us move back into"We Time" feeling connected (i.e. not lonely).
Being alone is a healthy part of our daily routine. It's a time when we get to relax and become aware of thoughts, emotions and the body. The more you and I creatively spend alone time developing our self awareness and strengthening our connection to ourselves, the more capacity we'll have for genuine connection with others and the more satisfied we'll be.
As we move through the state of mind called loneliness toward connectedness, it won't matter whether we're alone in a room or at a party, we will have an inner knowing that, yes, I am allowed to be a part of whatever in heaven's name is happening here on this blue sphere floating through space.
These are some practices you can do alone to experiment with the emotion of loneliness. Find one that sounds lovely to you and give it a try.
- Take yourself on a date and get to know yourself, your preferences, your tendencies, and your desires. Learn how to love your quirky self!
- Go on a walk and notice the microcosms of plants and animals that surround you. These are reflections of the connectedness of all of life, and it includes you standing and watching. Where in your body do you feel sensation when you are experiencing connectedness? Remember that and tap into it the next time you're feeling the tinge of loneliness.
- Light a candle and listen to relaxing music with a nice cup of tea. Notice each part of your body one at a time. Where do you feel the most sensation, pleasant or unpleasant? Relax into the senses and let emotions be drawn up so you can experience them, then let them go.
- Find some space to stretch or do some yoga postures that your body is craving.
- Say or sing an affirmation out loud! Examples: I am enough. I am connected.