THE CHOICE TO BE ALONE — IS THERE A POSITIVE SIDE?
“GETTING BIG” with David Essel
“I think it is a sign of strength, power and confidence to consciously choose to walk your own path, pursue a dream and live a normal life. You can accomplish more, and have a more fulfilling life than those who feel they are a failure if they are not with another individual. Look at how many people jump from one relationship to the next throughout their whole lives, or remain in one because of the fear of aloneness.
If you are alone, ask yourself why? Do you feel comfortable being alone and maximize the time you have that is not being devoted to someone else? Are you doing something for your career growth, for yourself, for society? Because if you are not utilizing the extra time constructively, I think that is a sad waste. At certain periods in our life many of us are not ready to commit to a relationship or may not have found that person who is compatible for us. We should still be happy.
Having a fear of aloneness often is societally based, because it's society view that there must be something wrong with you. There is pressure from ads that show couples skipping down the beach. And of course there are familial pressures.
Some suffer from a personal fear of aloneness, and are uncomfortable or frightened to be alone for even a few hours. I believe this stems from a lack of knowing yourself and your own immense power and worth. These people run from their thoughts and internal dialogue, and cover it up with distractions like watching television, listening to the radio, eating food, making idle conversation on the phone that leads us nowhere, taking drugs, etc. are always out. If you were comfortable with yourself, you would be able to sit in silence.
The first thing I tell people who always have the television or music on when home alone is to become aware of their habits, because there is no way anything will change in your life if you aren't first aware. Here is an example: a female client said to me, I have no time for myself. And it was true. She was a single mother of two, and worked 60 hours a week. I asked her to count all the times that she said this to herself. It turned out to be 47 times a day. Well, if you say something to yourself so often, this creates a belief and you will find ways to sabotage your desire for time for yourself. After realizing she had all these negative thoughts, we did a time chart. If you don't know how fearful of being alone you are, start to chart what you do when you come home. If you find yourself immediately flipping on the radio, the television, or grabbing a phone . . . stop. You will begin to hear your true self emerge from within. Be patient. It takes time. And it should be comforting to know that everybody is, in fact, alone.
Meditating is a great way to relax when home alone. But for those who aren't into meditating, the Buddhist practice of mindfulness is less structured and also helpful. It can take place with the washing of a glass, where you focus on the warmth of the water, the slipperiness of the soap, the texture of the glass. Or when taking a shower, and you feel every zone of your body. Or when chopping vegetables and preparing a meal. As we incorporate this awareness during simple everyday activities, the mind automatically relaxes.
Regarding love relationships and their affect on health, most studies that have come out say that individuals who are happily committed in long-term relationships are healthier than those who are single in their later years. But a caveat is that those who are involved in communal activities with a lot of social interaction have similar health statistics to those in committed relationships, and their state of happiness, self-esteem and confidence should not be affected. Conversely, if an individual chooses to be alone due to a fear of commitment, or believing that they're not worthy enough for a relationship, this is a weakness and needs to be addressed.
Living without a sexual relationship is tough, although many people have learned about their bodies, sexual desires, and needs when they are alone. A woman just told me that she began pleasing herself sexually and found zones that she had never found in her 20-year marriage, and as she approaches a new relationship will now be more aware and sensually involved. Sexual aloneness gets a bad rap because human beings are meant to be intimate. But, looking on the bright side, we can use this aloneness to explore our sexuality and learn more about ourselves.”
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