My husband has been out of the country for the past month on business. With no phone or e-mail access to contact him I have furiously planned out additional work and social activities, projects, workouts and anything else I can think of. However, each night as I retire from the day I have inevitably been left with the resounding silence in the home and the jarring sound of my own wandering thoughts.
In these weeks I have recalled past lonely seasons in my life. I remember the intense aloneness living in Tokyo as I stood in a street with thousands looking just like me, while not understanding a word. I remember my first months living in Orange County where an entire weekend could pass without me opening my mouth until Monday morning at work. Those seasons were lonely and miserable and ten years later something is different now. Yes, it has been lonely recently, but there is no fear in the aloneness. It is uncomfortable, but there is peace.
I realize that as women we are so often caught up in the fear of being alone. We hate it. We envy our married friends and compromise our dating standards and even marriage standards. We fill our time with people we don’t care for. We fill the void with exercise, or food, or drinking or lust. And even with these substitutes we feel miserable because it is never enough. So how does that void really truly get filled? I don’t have a fix-all solution, but would love to share part of my journey as both a client and therapist of women who hate being alone.
- We get to look at where the lonely comes from. If it comes from a place of hurt we get to fix it.
- We get to change our belief system about our own self-worth. Beyond just self-confidence or an ego boost we get to experience a transformative process that strengthens boundaries and our standards in relationships.
- We get to explore why we choose what we choose to distract us from aloneness. If it’s been a poor choice in dating we look at why, how and if it’s worked, and envision a future without it.
- We get to challenge irrational fears around what aloneness means. We develop a new and comforting understanding of what being alone really means for us. We get to trust in the solid footing of our own two feet.
- We get to grow, expand and transform our lives in aloneness! We get to choose our relationships and activities with purposefulness and find acceptance in the absence of it.
Most of my life I was terrified of being alone and therefore revolved my schedule and my decisions around that fear, even though it meant giving up what I truly wanted. Then a dear friend pointed out, “but Laura, you are alone!” That night I remember having a stare down with my fear and knew it was finally time to love my alone time. Now, it is where I reconnect with who I really am, what I want, need, and desire. It is in the alone spaces where my true self shines and becomes refreshed. And then I’m able to offer a better self to others. It’s been freeing, empowering, refreshing, and healing in so many ways.
– Laura Reynolds, a dear friend of mine who has fiercely conquered the art of aloneness like none other.