Growing up as an only child, periodically pleading with my mother to have another child, so I could have someone to play with all the time, I quickly learned how to entertain myself. It became such a norm for me that sometimes, when the childhood friends I did have came around, and I had about five long time faithful ones, I would politely let them know that I didn’t want to come out to play because there was something I preferred to do alone at that time. This concept is a very common one, even for introvert adults, of which I am one myself. And, YES! It’s a misunderstanding that introverts don’t like people. I love people which is why I do what I do to help others flourish into all they’re created to be! But, there are times we simply prefer to be in the company of ourselves. Yet, for others, being alone can be difficult to deal with. Some actually think it’s abnormal. I’d like to take this moment to remind you that anything too far to extreme overruns boundaries of the norm, even needing and wanting to be around others all the time. So, it’s OK to embrace being alone, while understanding how you can be alone without being lonely; because, there is a difference.
Recently, you may have encountered a time wherein you seem to find yourself, not by your own choices: alone, when you’d prefer delightful, and more importantly supportive, company. For, life is an ebb and flow of many elements. Minutes, days,… years, decades,… come and go. Movies come and go. Experiences come and go. And, so do people… they come and go. For, one reason or another, more often than not, they come and go. And, guess what? That means there’s not necessarily anything wrong with you! You only need to calmly and curiously seek to bring to fruition the reason for this alone time season.
As a woman of faith, I truly believe that when you are, what I call, humanly alone, you still aren’t truly alone, and will never be left or forsaken. Thus, there is an enlightening and purposeful reason you may find yourself in this situation. Seeking to reap the reward for being in your alone season is important to do because attempting to feverishly gather others around you, for concerns of what things might “look like” to others in the here and now, during the time you find yourself by yourself, can cause you to ignore pertinent relationship red-flags, misplace who you are, become a people pleaser, over extend yourself, and settle into what’s available though it may feel devoid of purpose for you.
The fact is, the true catalyst for loneliness is not, not having people around you. For, many are surrounded by others on a frequent basis, maybe in a large family or due to the type of work they do, and they still feel lonely. Loneliness isn’t staved off by finding others to be around and doing next to anything to get their approval and acceptance. It’s thwarted by you finding and loving yourself enough to know it’s ok to spend time with yourself, at times. And, it’s ok to dare to don your different, and be humbly proud and comfortable with who you are, when you’re amongst others who may not understand your uniqueness because you’re not quite like them. It’s in this where you are able to honestly state: “At this time, I’m alone, but certainly not lonely.”
So, sometimes, many times, the inevitable solitude you face, is actually a chance to take part in making a brand new start by you participating in making good use of your A.L.O.N.E time, by using it to Appropriate Your Inner Circle, Learn the Beat of Your Heart, Optimize Your Inner Strength, Nurture Your Needs, to later be ready to Engage Authentically in Your Community.
Starting with the “A” in your A.L.O.N.E time, is where you have this gift of a chance to…
Appropriate Your Inner Circle
As life, onward it goes, at time relationships must get pruned to facilitate what helps you to grow. As mentioned, people come and go for a myriad of reasons. Some come only for a season. They may sever by force of circumstances and other times they’re made by choice. But, there are a few things to keep in mind during a time when the right people aren’t around, or when just the wrong ones seem to always be creeping in, no matter how put together and good you are. And, as you go forward in applying the next few steps provided here, you’ll better be able to know who to keep around you, and who to let go; who to let in and who to love from a distance. Because, beloved, not everyone deserves to have close circle access to you. I often say the most trusted person in your inner circle should be your spouse, if you have, or when you find, one. For your spouse is the one you’re to be most intimate with (not referring to sexual part of intimacy). Then you have additional people with whom you share your most intimate experiences and aspirations, when they’re fitting, who must qualify for access into your close circle.
This is not to say be judgmental; for, true Love, love on the level that spreads across the span of humanity, conveys how you Love Others, in you not being judgmentally choosy about who you spend time with. Yet, also true love is shown in how “you” love yourself enough not to spend too much time with those who tear you down & steer you down paths you’d later regret.
If you have teenaged children, you know that helping them to understand that the wrong crowd can be a negative influence on their lives, can be quite a challenge. As an adult, however, you don’t escape needing to prune your relationship tree just because you have more years on your life. It’s true that no matter what the age, Bad Company Corrupts Good Character, and can potentially hinder you from becoming all you could possibly be in this age and stage of your life. Maybe some expected you to always be a “yes” person, and so you never take care of yourself. Perhaps some didn’t truly give you the support you’d like in your good pursuits, but instead much too often given you discouragement from doing them. Embarking on this part of A.L.O.N.E time, affords you the opportunity to prune, and then cultivate your inner circle with those who enjoy contributing to your well-being and promotion to new levels of who you are and are becoming.
But to be ready to know what type of people are right for you, “you” need to know “you” better than anyone else. And, you can do that as you activate the “L” in your A.L.O.N.E time to…
Learn the Beat of Your Heart
I don’t know where in this grand world you live, but despite where, life often gets LOUD, even when you’re in the privacy in your own home! It’s all too easy to hear the voices of everyone else, but not your own voice. At times, possibly more than enough, you sought everyone else’s opinion on the next move you should make in any major area in your life. Or, even in some daily activities. Maybe you weren’t seeking it but, for quite some time, you had controlling meddling people around you that expect you to yield to their every demand. Or, at times, it can just be the screaming voice of society, wherein you feel you need to meet certain milestones in life at certain ages to be considered successful, which by the way, is too much malarkey to stress yourself out about!
Being able to listen for the rhythm of your own heart beat, enables you to dance to your own beat despite what age or stage you’re in. Understanding what makes your heart pump with passion, causing you to be dedicated to a zone of fulfillment when doing it, can begin to revitalize and energize your life. Contrarily, knowing what you don’t enjoy can help to do the same, because it shaves away what drains your joy. It’s in knowing these things and feeling comfortable with them that can give you confidence in setting boundary lines to where you can begin to more accurately decide what to say no, or say yes to. As well as to truly gage your idea of success based on core values that don’t necessarily conform with the world’s expectations.
It sets a personal foundation on which you build your grit! The grit that will help you to…
Optimize Your Inner Strength
Once you have a grasp on what’s truly important to you, you have something to ground or anchor you, enabling you to stand firm in what you believe and truly want for yourself. You know the old adage, “if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.” And, to keep standing you need inner strength! Not only for yourself, but for others as well. For, some of what may make your heart’s passion pump could be fueled by your sincere compassion to touch the lives of others in some special way.
You’ll recognize your inner strength building as you plan to take action in certain endeavors. And whether others are doing something similar, or not, you stand your ground to do it despite discouraging comments or incidences that may come your way. Whatever your inner strength undergirds, it helps you to pursue them with all integrity intact.
Relationships, perhaps some of them that have seemed to drift apart, or ended, were quite draining for others involved having been emotional vampires. This is where A.L.O.N.E time begins to restore you as you…
Nurture Your Needs
Tending to your inner circle, and understanding what makes you run like a well oiled machine, in this A.L.O.N.E time, you now have the opportunity to replenish yourself. Replenish yourself by setting aside time to get physical rest, but also to refill the reservoir from which you so often give out to others during your interactions and endeavors.
Perhaps your needs aren’t necessarily solely rest, as in setting aside time to do nothing. But, a time to take that training class that you’ve been meaning to take, yet because you’ve been so over obligated, you haven’t taken it. Or, joining the community gardening event you so enjoy periodically doing, yet haven’t done so in a while. And, if you’re one who has put off things because you’re too afraid to do them alone, your optimized inner strength will enable you to do that. It’ll give you the fortitude to pursue that business &/or non-profit, that fuels your calling, alone when you haven’t yet found those trustworthy partners. Understand that, even though you may start out as one, trust eventually you’ll become many!
For many years, I was afraid to travel alone, mostly fly. That’s over now, as I am happy to take flight and soar, whether anyone’s with me or not! In the past, I had friends, but either I had the funds and they didn’t or they weren’t interested. Let me share that I missed many years of great experiences that I finally began to enjoy after leaning on faith that all would be alright as I nurtured myself with what I enjoyed doing without letting doing it alone hold me back. Doing such activities, even when you’re in the company of yourself, is still quite empowering and fulfilling!
That empowering prepares and equips you with experiences and energy that readies you to take on the “E” in your A.L.O.N.E time, which is to…
Engage Authentically in Your Community
When you unintentionally find yourself in an A.L.O.N.E time period, it can often feel like you are on an island all by yourself. But, as we know in all actuality, no one person is truly an island. All of the steps above work in tandem to enable you to step back into your community, your career, new relationships, your areas for which you feel you are designed, after having learned the beat of your heart, to have the most positive impact by engaging in what brings about the best change for those around you. You are now able to walk in a newly discovered, or solidified, essence of who you are by getting involved and contributing where you feel the good works you were created to do fits best.
As you choose when & where to begin to interact in new endeavors, ones that are fitting to your liking, you’ll meet new people, better recognizing, those who are like minded and like hearted. And, in your authentic uniqueness, you bring something to the table no one else has exactly like you, enabling you to join in to operate in harmony to bring about the best for the rest of who your involvement will favorably influence.
So there it is, beloved, if you find yourself unexpectedly and unintentionally alone, it doesn’t need to be a lonely experience, but an exploratory one where you Appropriate, Learn, Optimize, Nurture, and Engage! A time you can be allowed to be focused on self, and not be considered selfish, is in one of these A.L.O.N.E time periods. It’s also a path on which you may come to realize the desire to periodically take, in parts here and there, by choice to ensure you remain at the top of your game going forward. In taking it as a journey to discover you, you at least become aware of how to clean up and pull together, a better support circle, albeit possibly smaller than before, but here it’s quality over quantity. You can start to understand the inner workings of what makes you unique as you look into your heart to see what makes your passion pump. Your inner strength can be established in a way that you are able to stand strong in any challenge using what works so powerfully in you. Nothing’s more necessary than refueling in the opportunity you take to nurture your needs, and then you’re energized to engage authentically in your community, taking the best of who you are to contribute to the best in others!
~~ How has being alone, at times, made you feel? And, considering that…
~~ Which one of these A.L.O.N.E. time steps seems to be the most outstanding ones you’d want to embark upon first to achieve your best?
Love You to Life!
Lukeisha Carr, BCACLC
Coaching to Cultivate the Abundant Life on an Unshakable Foundation!