It took me a long time to realize I never really practiced being by myself—a codependent expert in many ways. I was over 40 the first time I started to live by myself. Not under ideal circumstances. Lisa and I separated, and it was time for me to get my first place as we decided to move into the next stage of being devoted co-parents. To say this stage of my life has been a struggle is an understatement. It's feeling failure on multiple levels with a swirl of foundational changes in my life. The overwhelm is quite gripping some days. And I take solace in the foundation I've built for my holistic health.
One key piece has been steadily learning to be alone and take care of myself in a way where peace overcomes loneliness. It's a process: my coping skills and habit practice are invariably tested. One of the reasons I'm writing this piece tonight was because I am feeling hurt and lonely. It's mostly related to the dread of filling out divorce paperwork, and writing gives me a chance to shine a light and gain perspective to move through the feelings.
Here are the key areas I'm working on to be healthy while alone.
Forgiveness. I'm starting with the most challenging. Forgiving is the hardest for me by a long shot. I've made strides as I feel a deep connection that my hurt or judgment towards others is uniquely my own. And I'm holding onto it. It always relates to something I can't accept about myself. It's a persistent reminder; I know that I need to practice forgiveness to be with myself and content.
Avoiding distractions and bad habits. I'm getting sounder with this piece in life. I find that the more I tell the truth out loud, the easier it is to stay aligned with my wants and avoid distractions and habits that take away from my life: social media, TV, hyper-palatable food, substance abuse, and negative thought patterns. This process has been a slow evolution over the last couple of decades. New distractions crop up every day (especially with the exponential growth of smart devices and the internet of things). Staying focused and connected through practice is vital.
Self-care. Administering care to oneself is a broad category as I'm grouping mental, emotional, and physical care here. It's also the easiest one for me as I've spent most of my life testing and implementing. I feel like there are at least 100 menu items for self-care laced in the web pages of this blog. Even just today, I started with intention and gave myself a boost of self-love by starting with meditation, breathwork, and the 2-minute morning exercise. Anything that feels like an act of care and love you may give yourself could fall under this category for you.
Building a healthy relationship with yourself is a worthy venture, regardless of how you feel about being alone. We might as well learn to enjoy the one person that we will be with our entire life. 😉