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There comes a time in (almost) everyone’s life when we feel single and alone. Truly, deeply, and vulnerably.
Maybe we just went through a breakup, or had a loved one pass away.
Perhaps we’re traveling and don’t know anyone, moved to a new city, or even feel alone amidst the people who love us deeply.
Whatever the reason or season, you’re allowed to feel alone. It’s okay. If anything, it’s normal and human.
Connect With Nature
“Connect with nature, you say? Bonny, you’re going a bit cuckoo,” is exactly what a friend told me when I suggested during a particularly depressive episode, she spend some time in nature, single and alone.
Yet connecting with the earth, with nature, with the air, water, trees, grass, critters and mountains is exactly what she needed. It’s also what I do when I’m feeling down and out myself.
Now, I’m particularly blessed in that I call “home” the middle of paradise, nature-wise (Vancouver, BC, Canada). So, I can literally walk outside and peruse Stanley Park or the Seawall anytime.
Yet having traveled the world (I now travel full time), I’ve found nature almost everywhere. When I do, and when I’m feeling single and alone, I do one of a few things (or, sometimes all of them):
- Walk barefoot, being mindful of every step;
- Hug and/or touch a tree, really looking at every branch, root, piece of bark, as something alive and nourishing;
- Watch a flower like I imagine a bee would;
- Float in a lake, ocean or body of water;
- Admire the sheer power of a rainstorm or windstorm by standing in the middle of it (okay, maybe not during Hurricane Matthew in the Bahamas – see the photo below);
- Stomp my feet into the ground and let Mother Earth absorb my frustration.
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Some of the damage at the adjoining property from #hurricanematthew. They're right next to the beach, and while this is about 10 ft above sea level, there were pools of water, some quite deep. As I've said in other posts, anything taller than the house line was destroyed – like this tree. #staysafe everyone! This was taken October 6th around 14h EST while the winds were still strong, sun peeking out occasionally. #grandexuma #bahamas #bonefishcay #oldairportroad #canadiantraveller #nomadslife #writerslife #uprooted #afterthestorm #stormyweather @local10news @wsvn @cbcnews #cnnireport #trackingmatthew242
By doing any or all of these things, I’m grounding myself. I quickly recognize my connectedness to all things, that this too shall pass, and that the blades of grass beneath my feet lovingly support me. If I want them to.
Write Love Letters To Strangers
After a particularly challenging period of time in my life, I decided I had to do something in order to feel more love. I’ve explained the process and what came of it elsewhere, for those receiving one of these love letters and wondering where it came from.
In a nutshell: when I give love, I get it back in infinite amounts. And so, whenever I feel I need more love in my life, I write love letters to strangers.
Then, I give them out.
Try it if you’re feeling particularly brave (and especially if you’re not).
Imagine whatever it is you need to hear, want to hear, hope to hear, and write it down. I’ll bet you’re not the only one on the planet feeling a bit single and alone, in need of some support or love. Pour it all out onto a piece of paper.
Then, fold it up, and leave it for someone to find. Libraries are always fun, as are coffee shops. I’ve even had business owners ask me if I can leave a bunch of love letters behind so they can give them out to customers that really need it.
The point is, just do it. Grab some paper and a pen now, and write your heart out.
Love Yourself, First
It wasn’t until very recently that I understand what it meant to love yourself. “Of course I love myself,” was the flippant answer I gave a partner, when they questioned my ability to really know what I needed in the moment.
Yet, somewhere deep down, a thought emerged. “Wait, do I?”
A few days later, I read an article (that of course I can’t locate in this moment to link to it) about self-love and the question, “How am I loving myself, right now?” I really had to think about it.
How AM I loving myself, right now?
So, I created an hourly reminder on my phone, asking myself just that. “How are you loving yourself?”
When it goes off, I answer in my head. Or, I change my behavior to something kinder, more loving, friendly. Or, I go do something that I’m craving, needing, wanting. Some of the things that come up, for me:
- Looking at myself in the mirror, making eye contact, and saying, “Bonny, I love you. Really, truly, completely. You’re awesome!”
- Changing how I speak about myself, such as “What an idiot,” to, “I did the best I could”;
- Taking a long, hot shower;
- Investing time doing something my body craves, such as yoga, stretching, getting fresh air, truly nourishing organic food, knitting, taking deep breaths, sharing a belly laugh, petting a dog or playing with a baby, getting on a swing;
- Literally, sitting and doing nothing;
- Recognizing I’m having a food craving, realizing the craving comes from some part of me that feels anything but loved, and taking the time to give myself that love. Do I still want the food after I’ve fulfilled the craving in another way? Ok, cool. Let’s find the most decadent, rich, perfect version there is then, and enjoy it.
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Beautifully, I had this exact conversation with a dear friend yesterday. When I read this random sign today, I cried with joy and gratitude. Yes, even with the mistake. This was also an, "I'm completely lost," moment. A few seconds later, the London Eye appeared before me. #graffiti #streetphotography #visitengland #visitlondon #tunnel #loveyourself #lookinthemirror #amateurphotographer
What Do You Do When You’re Feeling Single and Alone?
Did this article help? Did you find some new ways to support yourself when you’re feeling down, out and just not that connected?
Have you used any of these tactics successfully? Or, are you wanting…. more? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear and help however I can.
(Psst… seriously though, I know you’ve got this).
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Good points. I’m lucky enough to have the Ozark mountains near me and can get very lost in the woods, or I can find a pretty quiet place to fish. Solitude often provides me a bit of clarity.