As the last child in a family of eleven, I will admit that I am always trying to get my brothers and sisters to “see me”. Birth order research has indicated that this is a common trait of last children, the baby in the family. Maybe its because I was so used to always being around so many people and feeling so loved all the time while I was growing up.
I used to get so upset when I would plan events and invite my brothers and they wouldn’t show up. I thought somehow that it meant that they didn’t really like being around me. Well the fact of the matter is, they truly do, and absolutely show up for me when it counts. But today my brothers and sisters all lead pretty busy lives themselves. They have their own families, work responsibilities, and activities with their kids. Like me, they are striving to find balance and carve out time for themselves. The same is true for my best girlfriends. Who also lead very busy lives. They have children, spouses, full careers and their own hobbies and interests. Its even hard sometimes for us to get time to talk on the phone. I know they love me though and are always in my corner.
So the other day I had a bit of an epiphany when I was feeling a little alone (not to be confused with lonely) and out of sorts. I realized that this is the perfect time to just focus on myself. I don’t mean in a selfish way. I mean just spending time really figuring out what I truly want to do to better my life and the lives of others. So I started making a list of some things that I needed to do that would truly allow me declutter my mind and my space. Here’s what my list looked like:
- go for a workout (spin or yoga class)
- clean my garage
- reorganize and update my blog
- clean my closet – reorganize
- Go shopping for new dresser for the boys
- Binge watch my favorite show
So you see there was a myriad of things for me to do! I really didn’t have to sit around feeling lonely when I could get busy. My time does not have to be spent with someone else, I can spend it with myself! It was a great time to better myself and the space that I reside in. What I know from experience is that it makes me a happier person. But I also learned from this that I crave connection. All of my tasks really were designed to facilitate better connection with people. I love being around my family and friends, its just who I am. But when everyone is busy, that is the time to shift the focus to the things that I want to accomplish.
So here’s some of the things that has happened to me since I have created my list.
- I have been able to pray and mediate consistently (Doing the 21 day meditation with Oprah and Deepak) and reading my Bible.
- I cleaned up my blog and aligned my purpose which has lead to an increase in my followers on Twitter (60% increase), Facebook (10%) and sign-ups to my newsletter (14%), leading to great online connections.
- I reorganized my book outline and now have a few solid chapters written.
- I joined my nearby 24 Hour Fitness and went for my first workout.
- Booked my space at a coaching seminar this fall – Yeah!
- Went through my closet and identified items to donate/give away.
- Found projects online that I want to support and funded one on kickstarter (my first)
So all in all, I gotta say my list was a great project starter. I still gotta clean my garage and finish my closet, but it helped me get clear on some of the things I wanted to do and helped me identify other things that wasn’t even on my list.
So here are 4 things you may want to consider when you are alone:
1. Acknowledge what you are feeling. Don’t try to deny what you are feeling. You are human and sometimes we do feel lonely when we are alone. Figure out which space you are in (alone or lonely) because when you are feeling lonely it can be hard to be creative or productive. Connection is important to all of us, even the introvert. Even if you are a person that prefers solitude, you may still watch TV, go online, or in some way, still connect. As humans we are not designed to spend long and extended time by ourselves. But don’t sit and get mired in feeling sad and disconnected. This is a time to connect, it just happens to be with your own spirit.
2. Use your alone time to your advantage. Your being alone is not a reflection on anything that is wrong with you. You are great! At some point in our lives we have to learn to be alone. It can be such a liberating and productive time. Its where you can truly grow and learn so much about yourself. Think of it as an opportunity, instead of a failure or flaw. Think of it as your refining time, where you can get clear on all of the things that you are going to create and put out into the world. I see a lot of people running from being alone. They don’t know how to just be by themselves. They get into the wrong relationships, hang with the wrong people, or do the wrong things because of loneliness. Being alone is not a character flaw, its the Creator’s way to giving you time to manifest your gifts to the world! <that’s a tweetable y’all>.
3. Make a list of all of the things that would make you happy, right NOW! This is a fun exercise. Its great to see what you truly want to do. Keep it actionable and achievable. It’s great to add them to a task list. If you are a gmail user like me, they have a handy little task feature. Just about every calendaring system does. Use it!
4. Celebrate your successes and keep track of your tasks as you accomplish them. Don’t just write it down and never look at it again. Check those babies off as you accomplish them! Some pats on the back as you go down your list is absolutely imperative. When your friends and family check in with you again and ask you what you have been doing with yourself, you can rattle of the huge amount of tasks that you have accomplished. Let them know that you aren’t just sitting around twiddling your thumbs waiting for them to get un-busy, but you are busy about the task of creating the life that you want for yourself. That is sure to make them happy (and ease some of the guilt if they haven’t returned your calls – ha, ha)!
So I guess what I wanted you to realize with this post, is that being alone can be a super productive and amazing time for you! It doesn’t have to lead you to feelings of loneliness. Get clear on what you want to do, execute, and revel in your success!
Please Note: If you are struggling with feelings of loneliness, know that this can be very serious and you should definitely make the time to talk to someone.
Until next time,