You’re not alone if you’re living alone. There are many people in the world today that live alone – some have never married, others are widowed or divorced. In the United States alone there are approximately 95 million single adults. Although living life as a single person is more accepted than it was in the past, many people still see it as a way of life that’s lonely and even shameful in a way.
The media does not help as it continues to portray romantic love as the answer and without this, life is not worth living. So, are all those people living alone really doomed to a miserable existence? I can’t accept that. Perhaps living alone is not something we aspire to or the ideal lifestyle but it is indeed possible to live alone and create a full, rich and satisfying life. After all, plenty of couples are living a far from blissful existence and just because you have a partner does not guarantee you happiness.
The vicious cycle
If you are alone and you believe, either consciously or unconsciously, that “there must be something wrong with me because I am alone”, it will have a negative effect on how you see yourself and how you live your life. You may walk around feeling inferior and indulge in plenty of self-pity. Other people inevitably pick up on this and it starts a vicious cycle in your life. Your low self-esteem makes you tend to withdraw and cut yourself off. You’re so afraid of being judged that you avoid the very people and activities that could enhance your life.
If you feel bad about yourself, you’re less likely to take care of yourself too. You may eat unhealthily, do no exercise and sleep badly. You try to numb your feelings through distractions like working too much, compulsive shopping, overeating, drinking too much or other unhealthy habits. Everyone has different ways of coping if they live alone and some of these ways just make the situation worse.
Challenge your thought and behaviour patterns
The bottom line is that if you believe you can only be happy if you have a partner, you will always be waiting from someone to come and rescue you from your miserable existence. You will never live your life fully. It can be a challenge to break your habits of thought and behaviour that hold you back from living a full life on your own.
Look at aloneness differently
The first change you must make is to view your aloneness differently. Instead of associating being alone with pain, emptiness and loneliness, you have to start imagining it as an opportunity for growth. It is not easy if your thought patterns are deeply ingrained. If you have always thought about being alone as being lonely, it’s hard to separate the two. The minute you are alone, you feel lonely and depressed instead of inspired and motivated. Your depression leads to apathy and you don’t feel like doing anything. Your attitude affects your behaviour and the cycle continues.
When my divorce came at the same time as my children flew the nest, I could no longer rely on anyone else for my happiness or my financial welfare. This was a very difficult challenge, and I haven’t completely conquered it yet. But I know without any shadow of doubt that my thinking influences all the other aspects of my life and so I have worked consistently and persistently to change the way I think. I began by focusing on opportunities, rather than the fact that I was approaching retirement age rapidly with no financial security. I started looking at making a living through working online and rejoiced at the opportunities this offered. I invested in a copywriting course and learned as much as I could about blogging, websites and affiliate marketing. This meant that I had something to get up for in the morning instead of wanting to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep.
A healthier relationship with yourself
With no romantic relationship or partner to distract you, you have the unique opportunity to focus on your own personal development. You learn more about who you are, the choices you’ve made and why, what you want out of life and what’s holding you back. When you realize that no-one else is going to change your life for you, you reach a point where you can decide to do something about making a joyful life for yourself. You can focus on what interests you – your passions and goals. You can form relationships with people who are supportive and uplifting. You can find daily activities that motivate and inspire you.
Healthier relationships with others
When you improve your relationship with yourself, it changes the way you relate to others. You are no longer looking for someone else to make you whole. Your self-esteem is intact and that allows you to form relationships out of conscious choice rather than fear or neediness. When you are emotionally needy, you fight for closeness all the time and this put an unnatural pressure on your relationships. Such relationships are full of jealousy, resentment and insecurity.
You may have carried some of your responses with you from childhood into adulthood. It’s important to become aware if these are destructive so that you can work on them. As you begin consciously aligning how you think, behave and relate to others with the results you want in your life, you will develop healthier relationships. You will become more skilled at communication, learn how to identify and set boundaries, and manage differences without resorting to verbal attacks. You won’t be relating to others out of some desperate need but simply see them as enhancing and enriching your already fulfilling life.
You are able to create the physical and emotional well-being, financial security, experiences, relationships and circumstances you want to have in your life. When you build a good, solid inner and outer foundation for your life, no-one can take that from you. You have created it and it will sustain you, whether you’re in a relationship or on your own.