How To Be Comfortable Being Alone - How To Win a Man's Heart

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May 20, 2016

How To Be Comfortable Being Alone

# 1. Follow the advice below


Long-term committed relationships are not faring very well in today’s dating market. Though people are marrying at the same rate, they are calling it quits forty percent of the time after first marriages, sixty percent after the second ones, and seventy percent after the third. Clearly, initially committed partners must be entering subsequent relationships more cautiously, more pessimistically, or not learning well from past mistakes.

The classic axiom that we can only change ourselves still stands, but those words can be interpreted in infinite ways. Most relationship-seekers strive to do that by making themselves into a more sellable package a la the media’s current concept of what that should be. They read self-help books, study current statistics, listen to relationship guru mentors, carefully watch their peer’s successes and failures, and compare them to their own experiences.

In my four decades of working with individuals and couples seeking to make their relationships thrive, I have seen much less desire or capacity in people to look inward at what their expectations, prior experiences, spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual needs, life-goals, dreams, fantasies, expectations, entitlements, and levels of self-confidence and self-esteem actually are, than they are too ready to let outside influences define them. I truly believe that the sincerity and intensity of their search to find and become the perfect, long-lasting duo has not included enough of their own prior internal search and reflection.

The ability and desire to go inward in the deepest sense of the meaning is a much more difficult path to define self than allowing the reflections of other’s mirrors to make that assessment. We have much better maps and manuals for establishing external popularity criteria than we do for the knowledge of who we authentically are inside. Even though many people are fighting the superficial feedback of on-line media hype by compensating with meditative, internal-seeking practices, most have not connected those quieting rituals with the search for internal awareness as it relates to intimate relationships.

Looking inward at who we really are, including our assets, our liabilities, our desires, and our openness to transformation takes the willingness to enter an internal labyrinth of who we were born to be and what has happened in our lives that has taken us closer or farther away from that evolution of soul. We may seek the help of a competent, compassionate, objective mentor to help us on that journey and many find that in a quality therapist spiritual leader. Those trusted guides often replace early childhood experiences that have taken us away from our internal destiny and help us back onto the path we were supposed to take.

Some can, and do, find that core self alone. Either way, it is only when we have the courage to make that journey that we are truly able to understand what true self-acceptance is all about and how we can bring that consciousness into our adult, intimate relationships. Without it, we are going to be too easily defined by what others expect of us and the price we pay to be valued by them, no matter what the cost to our internal balance and self-love.

In that journey of inner quiet, there are some crucial questions that must be answered, and help people to strengthen the core of who they are and want to become.

1. Who, and what, am I at my best?

2. With what kind of people am I the most authentic and the most alive?

3. What are the things I do that I feel guilty, sad, self-critical, or destroyed by?

4. What are the thoughts, ideas, or practices that strengthen my beliefs in my own worth?

5. What are the things I do in the world that I feel proud of?

6. What does love truly mean to me?

7. Why would I choose me as a friend or lover?

8. What would I like to change about myself on this journey?

9. How can I hold onto the things I treasure and believe in when faced with the fear of loss?

10. Who do I turn to when I am the most vulnerable and frightened?

11. What do I use to hold onto faith and hope when my life isn’t working the way I want it to?

12. What do I need to feel beloved by others?

13. Am I realistic about what I can attain and what I can give in an intimate relationship?

14. Do I learn from my mistakes?

15. What would I have done differently in the important relationships I’ve lost?

16. How do I best recuperate from disappointments or disillusionments?

17. If all the people with whom I’ve been intimate were in one room and totally honest, what would they commonly list as my greatest gifts and my most difficult behaviors?

18. How do I best regenerate when my spirits are low?

19. Am I truly authentic and real with those I need to love me?

20. What do I need to do or learn to help me recommit to love if I’ve had sad experiences in the past?

These are not easy questions to answer, nor should they be. But the self-knowledge that comes from the earnest search for those answers must precede any hope of creating a successful long-term intimate relationship. Letting a new partner know you and what you stand for early on in a potential relationship has the best chance of weeding out what will never work in the long run, and opening up to one that has a real chance. The chance you take by not knowing yourself deeply is to allow yourself to be defined by another’s fantasy of you that must someday fall apart. Any potential partner you want to love deeply over time will want to share his or her own answers to the same questions with you.

The following articles I’ve written for Psychology Today Blogs might help:

“The Myth of Romantic Expectations”

“Is This True Love?”

“7 Things you must do to keep Believing in Love”

“I” or “We” – Blending Independence with Commitment”

“What Keeps Me from Changing?”

“The Most Important Quality of an Intimate Partner”

“Who are the Keepers”

Dr. Randi Gunther –

# 2. Create space for yourself


When a relationship ends, there is a huge, empty space where it was. It can feel like a big, black hole. All that love,all that energy was pouring TO someone, and now they aren’t there. But the habit of outpouring still is.

Somehow, you need to turn that loving energy back towards yourself. This is not so easy to do, but it can be done! In fact, it can be the opportunity of a lifetime! You can finally have the time and the energy to fall in love with you. In order to do this, you must go inward, for this is where your Self is!

Going inward can feel like a daunting task. Our instinct is to go outward. We want to get away from the pain, our broken hearts, the loss. But of course, that is exactly what we must attend in order to heal ourselves, not abandon ourselves. We must come to our own rescue and love ourselves back to life.

To do this we need to create space for ourselves. Being alone can be powerful and healing. We can take this time of being alone to heal recent wounds, and while we’re at it, past ones too. By allowing ourselves the time to know ourselves, to even linger there, we begin a process of self-love that will last for the rest of our lives.

In our society today, it can seem completely normal to fill up every single space with something. It is practically a pariah to not be busy. Busy-ness has come to mean worthiness, popularity, and success. I would counter, it is simply unavailability. The world will try to convince you that you shouldn’t ever, ever be alone. Like alone is bad. Like alone is failure.

But alone is where your heart is. It is where YOU are. And, alone is where you will begin to really learn to love yourself for who you are – as you are.

By allowing yourself to be alone, you begin to cultivate a state of spaciousness. This internal posture of spaciousness opens the heart. It makes you available – because you are present. And this presence makes you available to every aspect of life, including new love.

In my book, Opening to Meditation, I offer this idea.

“Most of us don’t know how to be alone. We’re afraid of the dark outside when we’re little, and we’re afraid of the dark inside ourselves when we grow up. We learn to fill up all the dark spaces with TV and newspapers and drugs and busyness and anything else we can think of – anything not to be alone. But if you examine the word alone, you’ll see that it comes from the compound word all-one. There’s a big difference between the words alone and lonely.”

This is a powerful notion – that by being with ourselves, really with ourselves, we can gain our greatest insights and understanding. We can begin to truly learn and know ourselves. And, in time, we learn how to love ourselves – our true self – not only the persona that we go out into the world with, but that most real and fundamental part of us.

The ability to be alone is essential to eventually being in a relationship. It is our self-love that attracts a partner that is right for us. Being alone teaches us to accept ourselves, forgive ourselves, and finally to bloom ourselves open to love again.

Diana Lang, Counselor and Author of Opening to Meditation –

# 3. Know yourself first


Probably the majority of people don’t like being alone, at least not for extended periods of time. People differ in their tolerance for solitude; generally extroverts need more social interaction, while introverts need more alone time to self-soothe. I tell all of my clients that while you don’t have to want to be alone, you need to be able to be alone. Developing the skill of being alone means that you won’t settle for sub-standard relationships. This includes friendships as well as romantic relationships.

I think the better you know yourself, the easier it is to rely on yourself for companionship, comfort and stimulation. If you develop your intellect, you will find yourself reading, watching good TV or podcasts, taking classes and generally looking for ways to interact with ideas. You won’t be as dependent on people for external stimulation. If you take care of yourself physically, you cultivate the ability to enjoy your body, to feel fit and strong. Fit people usually feel more self-confident, a quality that is generally attractive to others. Focusing on your sense of self, your values, your spiritual self, your personal relationship to society is in large part a private endeavor and one that will help you become a mature and mindful member of the human race.

Maybe the biggest payoff for engaging with yourself is that you will probably end up meeting people who are more like you. This can increase your chances of meeting people with whom you can form meaningful and enjoyable relationships. Meeting people may not be the goal of learning to enjoy your own company, but it’s certainly a desirable side affect.

I think it’s useful to remind yourself that almost always being alone is a temporary circumstance. If you are reasonably confident that at some point in the future you will again have some meaningful connections, being alone can provide a respite from the work involved in keeping up relationships.

Sally LeBoy, MFT –

# 4. Love yourself first

Becky Bringewatt

The best way I know to learn to be comfortable being alone is to learn to love yourself and be happy with who you are right now. Think about the people you know who you would classify and comfortable with themselves, and the common denominator is that they are all people who enjoy their own company. They have good self-esteem and seem to uplift others and make them feel good about themselves, too.

People who like spending time alone are comfortable with their own thoughts and their own feelings. They are interested in the world around them, and take the time to be grateful for the good things they have. They also look forward to the time they spend with others.

If we think we aren’t good enough or that other people are better than we are, it’s hard to spend time alone with our own thoughts. We put ourselves down and devalue ourselves. We spend our time alone thinking about what we are doing wrong and why others are not happy with us. No one really wants to spend time with someone who is negative and puts them down, even if that someone is yourself.

Choose one good quality you have, something you know about yourself or something others have said about you. Find out why that’s so great why others like it and why you like it. Spend time cultivating that quality and learning more about what makes you feel good. This will be the beginning of enjoying time alone, pursuing your own goals that are only for you. Then expand into other areas where you would like to excel. Take the time to pursue that. After a while, you might not even notice that you are alone, but if you do, you will see that you are comfortable with yourself and feel good about what you are doing – alone.

Becky Bringewatt, MA, LPC, NCC –

# 5. Understand your depth of character and personality because this adds to your growth


Eleanor Roosevelt, once said, “No one can make you feel inferior, without your consent.” Those are powerful words. An empowered woman knows that the most important relationship in her life is with herself. To find someone you like is great, but to like yourself is even greater. To respect others with admiration and love is important, but it is more vital to believe in yourself and all the good in life that you deserve. You should be the judge of your own worth and value. You should feel comfortable with yourself, whether alone or with someone else.

In other words, being alone can be fun, rewarding, relaxing, exhilarating and rejuvenating. If you are comfortable with who you are and where you are at, being alone can be truly special. Alone time is a time to regroup from a hard day’s work. It’s a time to explore and examine what you like and what you don’t like. It’s a time to build upon your strengths and revitalize those weak areas that need improving.

All this cannot be done as easily when your significant other is around or when you are relating to your partner’s issues or concerns. Apparently, there needs to be a time and a place for both. But when you have the opportunity to “just be yourself,” to have some quiet time, to be grateful for the simple things, then you know that you are grounded and okay with yourself.

Throughout your lifetime you should continue growing and learning from your relationship with yourself. Understand your depth of character and personality because this adds to your growth. Make sure that your appreciation of yourself is strong so that when you do meet someone special, the love you give and the love you receive will enhance the terrific person you know yourself to be.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC –

# 6. Follow the advice below


Being comfortable spending time alone is important in gauging your own ability to self soothe and internally validate. The ability to be alone without the company of others is an indication of emotional maturity. Being alone allows you to be still, rest, set your own pace, process your thoughts, review your internal themes, evaluate your behavior and learn to sit in your discomfort. Being alone is a way to get respite from the noise of the world around us.

Different personalities also require different ways of recharging and having down time. Some people reset better when they spend time alone while some prefer being with other people to feel energized. It is important to be mindful of the constant need to be with other people or your significant other. Being in the constant presence of others can be a way that we avoid being alone because we are uncomfortable with our own thoughts. When we are alone it means that we have to attend to our own emotions and find validation within the self.

Being alone helps us to center and ground ourselves. If you have a history of trauma, this might be more difficult to do. Learning to quiet the mind is a powerful tool, but just being alone may not be enough to master this. Some people have a difficult time being alone because their anxiety increases when alone. Being alone can be scary for some people because it implies isolation and loneliness. If you grew up in a large family, then maybe you are used to constantly being around other people. If you grew up an only child, then it might not be unusual for you to go to dinner and a movie alone. In some cultures the desire to be alone is challenged because it implies that you want to do things that the family does not approve of away from their influence.

There is nothing wrong with passing time with friends just to keep busy because you´re bored. Be mindful that you are not keeping busy with someone to avoid being alone. Be mindful if you have a need to be in a constant state of chaos. Can you pass the time alone in your home for a few hours without the need to talk to someone by phone, text or online? What does being alone mean or represent to you? Reflect on your time alone and the quality of it. Reflect on the origin of any anxiety around being alone. If you are struggling with panic attacks, fear or extremely high anxiety when you are alone, schedule an appointment with a therapist to talk about what is triggering your anxiety. Know yourself and be honest about where you are on this issue. Ask for tools that will help you work through any anxiety and fear of being alone.

Let go of any stigma you may have around spending time alone. Spending time alone is healthy and allows us to decompress, process our thoughts and work through our anxiety. It is important to be able to spend time alone if you are in a relationship. The need for space and personal time is an inherent need for most people. In order to give him space, you need to understand what that space looks like and feels like for you. Even in the best relationships, there is a need for personal space and time alone. Time alone helps to bring you back into balance and it helps to maintain balance and harmony in the relationship.

Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT –

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