So the relationship you thought would make happy forever has ended. You have been let go, fired from your role as partner, cast away in the world. Your world has shattered. You feel like crawling into a hole. You feel like closing the blinds in your bedroom and curling into the fetus position … forever. Forget about eating. Or perhaps, you are painting the town red. You’re partying like it’s 1999 (reference to a song for those younger folks). Either way, chances are that your behavior is based on feeling lonely or not wanting to feel lonely. The key word is “lonely.”
We tend to confuse being alone with being lonely, but they are very different words and carry very different power or energy. We can be alone and be lonely in a crowd (notice the word “and”). We can be alone and not be lonely. The choice is hard to make, but it is yours. There is a difference that we refuse to observe when a relationship has ended. After all, unless we love ourselves, you depended on your partner to feel whole, loved, even perhaps adored. It provided a glow in your heart, and that light has now been removed. Nothing but darkness. Not even a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Of course, as usual, our friends, family and the media (particularly the media) pound the idea that being alone is being lonely into our heads. From the time we were born, most of us have been surrounded by others: parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, friends, enemies, teachers, etc. We are used to being cuddled at first, and judged worthy or unworthy later (mostly unworthy). Either way, we are surrounded by others. We are not used to our own silence, to quieting our minds and listening to our hearts.
For corporations, equating being alone to being lonely is simply a way to manipulate us to buy more of their products, and we fall for it. Anything to make us feel better. Some of us even run to alcohol and/or drugs, legal and/or illegal, to mask our pain and not feel lonely. But you have control of the on/off button of loneliness. Alcohol and/or drugs, illegal or legal, are not the answer, at least not long-term. They are simply a Band-Aid® we put over our wounds. A way to deal with our low self-esteem. A refusal to seek our own silence and discover who we really are; what our passions are; what our purpose is!
That is not to say that we should become hermits, go meditate in the desert for 40 days, join a monastery or convent, or a myriad of other choices that, as it turns out, may also be Band-Aids. What it means is that, it is wise to spend time alone rediscovering you, or perhaps discovering who you truly are for the first time.
For my part, it took me almost 56 years to understand this. I remember that when my most recent relationship ended, my partner said that she had never been alone and wanted to experience it. I remember telling her, among other things, that I hated being alone. Yet, I have passed several opportunities to date because I understand that I’ve never really met “me.” In all these years I have been fearful of discovering someone I wouldn’t like, never mind love. Someone who’s been told that he would always be a failure. But, as I am finding out, you can, and should, define the terms “success” and “failure”. When you let someone else do it for you, it is sure to disappoint you for their definition is likely to be different than yours.
Use this time of transition to be open to change and welcome new opportunities with open arms. Follow your path, your rhythm and desires. No need to explain them to anyone. In fact, best not to, for they will judge whether your choices are worthy or not. Most of the time they will judge them “unworthy” because your choices are likely to be different than theirs, and also likely to be different than the choices they are used to you making, and this will scare them. They will pull you down, try to talk you out of it. They will want to take partying, drinking, etc. Because that’s how they would deal and have dealt with this situation. They too are fearful of listening to their own voices.
One of the greatest fear in our society is to be alone. “Look, he’s eating by himself. He must be lonely. Poor guy!” “Look, she’s coming to the movies by herself. She must be lonely. Poor girl!” “Look he’s in the coffee shop by himself. Poor sap. Look at him drinking his coffee by himself!” Judgement about being alone and therefore lonely surrounds us. Its energy engulfs and suffocates us. The media expounds on the heartaches of the ones who are alone and extols the virtues of the ones who are paired. Do what feels good to you regardless of what others may think or believe. It’s your life. Define your success. (For the record, I love to be in a healthy relationship but I am taking my time to discover myself.)
The process is hard and usually takes a long time. Most of us give up along the way. If you stick with it, there will be light at the end of the tunnel and, once you have discovered yourself, you will be happy with yourself. You will develop a healthy dose of self-esteem and you will never feel lonely anymore.
Feel good and watch what happens. Say it with me: “I feel good” and watch what happens. Imagine feeling good and watch what happens. Simple? Oh, yeah. Hard? You bet. Possible? Most definitely yes. Be inspired. Go forth. Find pleasure in your silence. Find beauty in things that surround you. Feel the warmth of the rising sun. Delight in the colors of the setting sun. Go out of your way to make someone feel good about themselves (best way to feel good about yourself I’ve ever discovered). None of this is hard, but it requires living … getting out of bed … crawling out of the darkness and knowing that you control the on/off button of loneliness.
Remember: The light can only shine in the darkness. A pupa needs its cocoon to transform into a beautiful butterfly.
As always, in love, Jean-Pierre
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