Take a look at the little girl in this picture. I’m sure its hard to resist smiling. Don’t you just automatically love her? Its so easy to see her as a precious, innocent, earnest and pure being. Now, for a moment, I would like for you to close your eyes and imagine that a child like her lives inside of you. Recognize that there exists within you a lovable, precious, pure, innocent, and wise one who longs for your love. Developing a deep, intimate, compassionate relationship with this inner-you is the key to overcoming loneliness. No, loneliness is not solved through a relationship with someone else, because as many of you know, sometimes the deepest loneliness actually occurs within relationship. It is resolved through remembering that your foremost relationship is with Y-O-U! If you are in a partnered relationship, the relationship you develop with yourself will serve to enhance and deepen how you share yourself with your partner. You are derived from a much greater source of energy than you could ever imagine and staying connected with that Source, which is comprised of LOVE, fills in the hole within you that we often call “loneliness.” No human person can do that. As a great and wise teacher once reminded me: “when you are alone you are with yourself.”
So if you want to overcome loneliness, its time to cozy up with one and only you. How can I develop a deeper relationship with myself, you ask? Here are 10 ways:
- Listen: Do you ever notice or hear a little nagging sensation or voice within you that seems to guide you towards the next step in your life? It may nudge you to make a change, try something new, or bring something to a close. It always starts low and subtle and if unacknowledged, can develop into a loud, screaming, obstacle that will not move until you choose to pay attention. This is your inner knowing, often called intuition, your soul, or your Truth. Part of strengthening your relationship with yourself is about trusting this inner voice and heeding its call. Become an active and attentive listener to the part of you who seeks your highest good. The more you trust it, the more clear your Life path becomes and the less opportunity you have to abandon yourself. If you choose to stop abandoning yourself, loneliness dissipates.
- Honor and respect your Truth: These are the actions that follow once you have chosen to listen to and trust your Self. If you want others to honor and respect you, you must begin with honoring and respecting you. If you consistently throw yourself under the bus, apologize for your existence, or minimize your experience, you deny the truth of who you really are. If you honor and respect what feels true for you, you will set better boundaries, receive more love and feel supported. It is difficult to feel empty when you are taking good care of yourself.
- Be patient: Take it easy on yourself. Rome was not built in a day. Oftentimes, you may have messages or experiences from childhood that caused you to have to set up walls of protection and patterns of disconnecting from yourself in order to survive. Deconstructing your walls and developing patterns of connection and trust within yourself through the first two steps, can take time and practice. This becomes your “work.” This process is often part of the life lessons you are here to learn. Your challenges become your teachers. Take your time to allow the learning to heal you.
- Speak up: Use your words. Tell the truth. Say only what you mean and mean what you say. Do not agree to something that causes your stomach to churn or feel uneasy (that is a clear sign you are surrendering your power and abandoning yourself). In the speaking of your Truth, you honor yourself and those around you, you develop trust that you can count on yourself to advocate for what you need and ask for what you want. Release fear about expressing yourself, you are worth speaking up for. The more you love and value yourself, the easier it will be for the words to come out.
- Develop a spiritual practice: As I mentioned above, you come from a great Source. What name you call that Source is not as important as your relationship with It. The relationship between you and your Source is what a spiritual practice nurtures. This is where prayer, meditation, yoga, service, time in nature, mindfulness, music, art, and creativity come in. Engage in activities that help you feel connected to something much bigger than you. Practice humility, surrender, and experience grace. When connected to this energy of love, allow it to permeate all of your cells and fill you up. When your whole being is filled with love, it is very difficult to also feel lonely at the same time.
- Do something nice: Just as you would in a traditional relationship, be thoughtful. When there is something that comes up that you know you would like to do, take yourself. Watch the movie that you’ve been wanting to see, cook foods that nurture you, update your home or wardrobe to match your new outlook, take yourself for a walk or get some extra sleep. This is all about taking care of yourself. Identify and give yourself what you need in this moment. Believe that you deserve it and allow yourself to receive.
- Hug yourself: This is another gift to give yourself. Follow the little girl in the picture, she’s got this down! It might feel funny at first, but it feels good! Be mindful of what you feel when you give yourself this type of positive attention. Notice how different it might feel from other types of attention, such as, judgments, pressure, and self-rejection.
- Say “I love you” (A LOT!): When you are getting ready each morning, take a moment to look into the mirror, look right into your own eyes and say, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” Really see yourself, see beyond the surface and all the imperfections, right into your inner-being. The one who tries and who makes mistakes, and who works so hard. And before you go to sleep each night, take one more moment to really see yourself and say, “I love you. Thank you. Tomorrow is a new day.” Feel free to add in other times as well. Do this every day for 30 days and notice what happens.
- Ask for support: When you need help, ask. You don’t need to create a crisis, drama, get sick or throw a temper tantrum in order to get others to notice that you need help. In listening, speaking up, and honoring your truth, you will know when you need help and will find the words that you need to ask in a clear, concise way.
- Play: When you allow yourself to shed the armor of adulthood for periods of time, you allow that inner-you to come out and play. Get down on the floor and play with a child, run and jump in a park, play with your pet, be silly, laugh, or choose a workout style that is more playground than machines. Giving yourself permission to play allows you to get in touch with your creativity, vulnerability, and passion. Get to know this part of yourself, it has much to teach you.
Take some time to put some of these into practice and you may just discover that the relationship you have with yourself is the most satisfying and fulfilling one yet!