One resounding and common ‘voice’ that I have heard echoed by so many is the feeling of loneliness that has been exacerbated by the critical state of lock down; now something that we are again experiencing at the time of writing this, and throughout many parts of the world; coupled with the accumulative months of continued social distancing and self-isolating. But does loneliness have to be our existence?
Here I offer valuable strategies, and recommendations to implement for each of these three best practices; so that you will have the secrets to never feel lonely again; because the goal is to enjoy being alone with yourself and to not feel lonely.
TRUTH SERUM: If you are someone who has suffered with loneliness; if you do not like being alone with yourself, I invite you to think about the reasons why.
Do you feel loneliness even as you live with others? Have you considered what the psychological and emotional impact is of prolonged loneliness and isolation, and what you can do to eradicate this?
A-HA MOMENTS: How you have navigated this global pandemic and the changes that have made it less possible for you to socialize in the ways that you have been used to; is also precisely the means by which you can learn to appreciate your alone time in ways that you have never before.
Even if you live alone, you don’t have to feel disconnected and lonely. Therein is part of the answer; the solution.
The first secret to escaping loneliness is emotional connection.
How do you engage in the experience of emotional connection? Do you perceive being with yourself as positive; as allowing for a greater propensity to know yourself; to know who you are today because who you are in this moment is different from who you used to be; six weeks ago, six months ago, and certainly six years ago.
Do you shy away from the experience of examining your life – and of looking at aspects of yourself in order to make changes and to feel happier because you do not know where to begin? Are you fearful of what you will find with honest introspection and self-reflection? Let me help with this.
“Emotional connection is the first secret to feeling contentment and happiness in being alone with yourself.”
PRACTICAL WISDOM: Emotional connection is an important criteria in fostering meaningful relationships with others. It is also what allows you to enjoy time in your company and without feeling lonely. To have emotional connection with yourself and others is a life skill. You can learn this at any age and you can teach this skill to your children and others.
Let me define it further. Emotional connection is heartfelt caring and loving kindness. These are two prevalent guiding factors. If you care about someone’s well being; if they are important to you; you will likely feel an emotional connection or attachment to them.
You feel emotionally connected to someone: a friend, a partner, a co-worker, your neighbor, in sharing of yourself with them; and by being sincerely interested in their life. It’s about holding the space for someone to share of their self with you and you with them, in a meaningful and honest way.
If you wonder why your relationships feel distant, superficial, and limited and why you don’t feel a genuine closeness to others; it may be because you are not developing an emotional bond. Perhaps you have never learned how to do this; yet establishing a heartfelt connection is absolutely teachable. 💜
Emotional connection is not an automatic outcome of having ‘birthed a child’ or because you are in the same family of origin. Emotional connection is build on the sharing of your intimate thoughts and feelings; it is in caring about another’s needs and being thoughtful and kind. It is about expressing your feelings honestly and in showing love and affection freely. Emotional connection is felt most deeply when you are loving and kind towards yourself and another.
We can dive into the whole conversation of self-love right here because how you think and feel about yourself; your ability to hold loving and kind thoughts and to be your greatest source of encouragement and approval is emphatic to feeling emotional connection.
If this is something that you know you need to become better at, I have a link here for the ultimate self-love toolkit. It’s your complete digital playbook of what it means to have and hold love of your self and the steps to get you there. I encourage you to have a look and to make it possible; to give this to yourself as part of your ongoing curriculum for how to love your self completely.
Before we move onto the second secret to never feeling lonely, here are some clear examples of what emotional connection looks and feels like:
Example 1. You share of yourself openly; and you also listen to the other person as they share of themselves; your conversations are not one-sided. You truly care about another and in so doing, you ask questions and then listen with presence, giving them your full attention as you seek to understand the other person. Emotional connection is not about talking ‘at someone’ or talking about yourself excessively. It must be a reciprocal relationship of care, kindness and love. You will know when you have this depth of emotional intimacy and connection with someone. You will be able to feel it.
Example 2. Emotional connection allows for the safety and confidence in your relationship to state your differences of opinion, or disagree, or even experience conflict – safely because you both respect the other’s opinion and decisions even if you do not always agree. It is important to not be judgmental; to allow for the differences that may exist in opinion, lifestyle, preferences, and even the distinction of some values and beliefs.
Emotional connection means care, respect and loving-kindness. Your role is not to judge another, but to be in a relationship (by choice) that is build upon connectivity and kindness.
And if your answer is “yes” to the questions: “Can I be myself completely?” and “Can I be wholly honest with this person?” then you feel the support and safety of what it means to have emotional connection in your relationship.
The second secret to banish loneliness, is reflective of your mind set and the habits and routines that you live by.
For example, how do you use and value your time when you are alone? Do you plan and enjoy creative and constructive pursuits? Do you nourish yourself with activities that you may enjoy on your own, and which offer rich experiences and personal growth? Are you able to nourish and care for yourself rather than look to others and to distractions that are not truly nourishing nor self-loving?
Remember that no two moments are the same. Even your daily routine, which may feel somewhat compromised given that some options and freedoms are now different; is not the same as it was yesterday. If you approach your life from this perspective, then even the same or similar types of activities are experienced as different each day.
Your job is to witness the precious nature of each moment; to see everything with new eyes and appreciation and openness. This is how you will never feel boredom, alone, or lonely; because you choose to witness everything in a state of presence; with curiosity, interest, and appreciation.
This time of a global pandemic has taught us to rely on our self for how we want to feel. It continues to teach us to take ownership of our life, to be more self-reliant and independent; and to choose happiness. Happiness is most certainly a choice. To feel happy you need to think the thoughts that serve to curate this feeling.
In moments when you feel alone or lonely, practice telling yourself what ‘is true’ rather than the stories that cause you to feel unhappy. For example, “I can enjoy time alone with myself” and “I can choose to be grateful for my life and to do what allows me to feel my inherent happiness.”
Feeling comfortable, content, and happy being in your own company is something that can be taught. You may have had this experience reinforced in childhood if you were given encouragement to play alone; to take up an activity or hobby that is experienced in solitude; to be competitive in an individual sport that places the focus on bettering yourself; and if you have travelled and lived alone.
To practice being alone and to enjoy alone time, teaches you from a young age that you can be self-sustaining and independent; and perhaps most of all, you can enjoy the experience of thriving in being alone. To know that you are capable, independent and self-sufficient builds self-confidence, autonomy, and resilience.
To be comfortable and happy being alone with yourself is a life skill. I encourage parents to foster independent play and activities for their children and to teach them how to find comfort in being in their own company; to rely on themselves for emotional nurturing and self-soothing. Couples and members of a family who cohabitate also need to have alone time; both at home and also outside of their dwelling space.
Should you ever run out of ideas, there is always a plethora of teachings and education that can be accessed online and as well as in books and other means of self-learning and study. Use your time for good, use it constructively; practice self-care and self-love; and then reap the rewards of this as you choose to live inspired and in the presence of yourself.
When I ask people who speak of their loneliness, ‘What are their personal pursuits?’ and ‘How do they account for all of the hours in a day always available to them?’ their answers often reveal the cause of their loneliness. Ask these questions of yourself. Determine if you have been existing rather than truly living.
Living is anticipation; it is enjoyment; it is planning; it is the experience of what is new and remarkable because of your attitude and the perceptions that you hold of what life is; and not as a means of checking a list to fulfill requirements that you may have decided you should do.
Embrace the many luxuries that you have right here in your home country, in your home; as you step outside and in nature; and as you surf the internet. Open your mind and your heart to what is available and you will see some of what has been waiting for you to experience.
One way to capture the habits and choices in a day in your life is to chart what you do in your alone time; or as you live alone. How well do you live in appreciation of your daily habits and routines? Are you mindful and awake to the beauty of life all around you?
Here are a few more examples of what nourishes and supports you in your life: exercise; being in nature, meditation, prayer, reading, self-study, creative pursuits, and journal writing (which is a great way to explore your thoughts and feelings, to understand and know yourself better; and to witness your inner voice and your intuitive self).
All of these solitary activities take you deeper within yourself and also into the presence of your inner nature; to hear your inner voice which is the voice of your highest self and a beautiful reminder that you are not alone; that you are never alone.
This last point leads us to the third secret; and which impresses upon your ability to feel a connection with all things.
This awareness comes from the experience of feeling a oneness; a connection with all of life. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your dwelling place to open your heart; and to feel the heartbeat of the world beyond you.
During this time perhaps more than ever, you can practice this as you feel empathy and compassion; two experiences that drive emotional connection, as you think of and read about people all over the world; of how others may be suffering and also how many are thriving; by using this time to find opportunity to rewrite what they have always done and to connect with themselves and others.
This secret is the relationship that you have with all of life. To find it; to cultivate it; you simply close your eyes, you sit or lie in peaceful stillness and you travel inward to witness your breath in the expansiveness of this moment and beyond.
Being alone and in the mindful presence of your inner nature is a spiritual practice. It is a path to feeling wholeness, and to the awareness that you are far more than your physical self. This is how you experience a greater connection with all things.
For example, think of at time whether in nature, or in a meditative or prayer state, in which you perceived yourself as being a part of something much greater than yourself.
This feeling of connection with all living beings and the planet can be experienced as you smile at a stranger, as you allow your eyes to connect for a moment; to hold this connection, as this illustrates for that moment or two how you are not alone in the world but connected with others (even those you do not know) through your kind and loving actions. (Even though there is such discomfort in the having to wear face masks; there is much to be grateful for that you; that I – may still see into the eyes of another.) Connect with others wherever you go through your meaningful words and actions and these heartfelt moments will remind you that you are not alone and that you can feel a oneness with all of life.
“You feel a connection with the collective whole, and with all of humanity, each time that you imagine this; that you expand your awareness to include everything that is beyond you.” – dorothy ratusny
Included in this experience is your ability to feel the presence of your inner being; what I call your highest self. This is your inner voice; separate and distinct from the voice of your mind, and the busy and endless activity of thinking. It can be best experienced when your mind is still and quiet. It is the eternal part of you; and the deeper knowing that you are never truly alone whenever you are in the company of yourself.
I’m also including some helpful resources and additional readings that speak to how loneliness affects us and especially during this time. The fear of facing yourself no longer has to be what you seek to escape and avoid. These additional best practices and helpful habits may be immediately implement to engage connection, to feel a oneness with all living beings, and to walk the planet knowing that you have the ability from within to feel connection; as you share of yourself in meaningful ways, and as you care deeply for others.
Be alone. Love your time with yourself and you will always feel grateful for this.
I will also leave resources for self-love; and for the ultimate self-love toolkit which you must have a look into and get your copy. It is a complete digital resource to download, save, and of course you may print it. It includes guided prompts for reflective journal writing, guided meditations, mantras, new habits, strategies, and best practices for greater self-care and self-love. Your ultimate self-love toolkit also includes a one-on-one self-love coaching session with me.
I also want to remind you that you may reach out to me at any time if you would like some further guidance and help with your choice to establish greater connection and meaning, with yourself and with others; and to live by choice, in the certain happiness of being with yourself and with what you discover.
Watch the Video here:
Dorothy has an online practice as a Registered Psychotherapist. She works with youth, adults, and couples on a wide range of mental health and wellness topics. She is the host of The WISDOM podcast and her Guided Meditations and Life Coaching WISDOM can be found on Insight Timer, Aura, and LIGHT. For more, please visit: dorothyratusny.com