Just so you know, the title of this article does NOT come with a caveat, like, “How to Live With Yourself...If You Have Done Something Wrong,” or “How to Live With Yourself...in a Different Apartment Building.” It’s more of a “How to Live With Yourself...When You are Alone, and Not Be Lonely,” kind of article.
I once dated a woman (let’s call her Theresa) who was told by her spiritual leader that she needed to take a day and spend it with herself, by herself...with nobody else around. When she told me this, I decided to help her out. I rented a hotel room for her so she wouldn’t be disturbed by family or friends, and I dropped her off. She had bath oils and books, refreshments and recreation, and peace and privacy.
What Theresa didn’t have was the ability to carry it out. After an hour and a half she called me and told me to come pick her up. She said she was done...and that her spiritual leader was right. It had worked.
I knew better.
Some people can’t stand to be alone with themselves.
Let me tell you why.
At some point in their life, they were left alone to fend for themselves. This is a difficult thing to overcome and loved ones need to be patient with them if they seem a little too needy every once in a while.
Even worse, if the person was rejected by their parents, “loved” ones, or others in their young years, they may have some deep-rooted abandonment issues. It is hard to be alone if you have felt lonely ALL of your life.
Sometimes the only way someone feels un-alone is when they are surrounded by people who they believe love them or at least like their company.
I later found out that Theresa was disliked by her “father.” He had always treated her like dirt (she didn’t find out until she was an adult that her mom had had an affair and that her “dad” wasn’t even her dad...that’s why he treated her so terribly).
It wasn’t going to be a 24 hour stay at a hotel room that would help her out.
Here are some things that she could do to get through her issues...
...and these can work for you, too:
1- Start Off Small.
If you are finding it a task to be by yourself for a long period of time, make a goal to live with yourself for a short time. But make it have purpose. I realized later, with Theresa, that an hour and a half was pretty good for her.
2- Have a Purpose.
There have probably already been times in your life when you spent time with yourself and forgot to be lonely because you were focused on something else. When you make a conscientious decision to be alone (and not lonely), have something that will take your mind off of the demons that usually haunt your mind. Whether it is a television show, a game, puzzles, a movie, a good book, a hobby, a journal, a soothing hot bath, or a long walk/drive; do something that will make you forget that you are alone.
The other day, I went to a movie by myself. When I told a friend of mine that I did that, he was flabbergasted and asked me if I was O.K. The thing is, I love to go to movies by myself, but apparently some people can’t even fathom the idea.
3- Entertain Yourself.
I am getting more worried about the world around me because of these two little words that I hear more and more every day...”I’m bored.” I believe that when people are announcing that, they are expecting someone else to relieve them of their boredom. But that (pause) is impossible. Only you can control how bored you are.
Oh sure, I admit there were times in my younger life when I was bored, but I learned to overcome it. I can honestly say that I haven’t been bored for at least 25 years. How do I do it? I constantly have things going on in my brain that make my mind race...ideas I would like to try, books I would like to write, contraptions I would like to invent. Even if these things never come to fruition, they are still fun to play with in my imagination.
You don’t need books to liven up your life...not when you could write your own stories. You don’t need people to entertain you, as long as you have YOU to entertain you. If you are bored, you aren’t using your imagination.
4- Get Rid of the Demons.
This is the most important thing. I can’t promise this will be easy or that it can be done quickly, but if there are reasons why you can’t be alone with yourself, you have to discover them and eliminate them.
The paradox is this: I DO promise you that once you get to a point where you don’t need anybody else to keep from being lonely, that is when you will have more friends and better relationships.
So learn to live with yourself and you’ll never, EVER, be lonely again!
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