The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.
― Mark Twain
We’re just recovering from the 6-week holiday blitz that begins every Thanksgiving. For those who are lonely during the holidays, Valentine’s Day can be another painful reminder of broken relationships or loneliness. As Mark Twain and other wise sages have said, loneliness is a state of mind. You are the most important person who can meet those needs.
Be proactive and use your loneliness to proactively foster your well-being. As others rush to get the perfect box of chocolates, let the self-esteem pampering begin.
Are you always busy? Are you the kind of person who is always taking care of others and yet you have no down time for yourself? Consider five ways mentioned in the link above where you can bring down your stress levels.
“But these ideas focus only on myself and not my family. Isn’t that a bit selfish?”
For two good reasons, yes . If you aren’t used to taking care of yourself, it may seem strange, even negative, especially if you’ve never considered your own well being. Second, if you NEVER focus on centering and taking care of yourself, you’ll always feel like you are sacrificing yourself for others. That’s a form of self-abuse and self-neglect, and they will show through as resentment in your attitude, energy, and actions toward others. The best way you can nurture current and future relationships is by taking care of yourself first.
Time is always in flux, changing people, situations, and relationships. Just because you are lonely NOW doesn’t mean you’ll always be lonely. Things don’t seem so bad if you think of this as a temporary situation.
Feeling kind of ticked off or resentful about a toxic or previous relationship? Don’t allow yourself to get into a toxic round of blame and shame. Instead, ask yourself:
What have I learned about myself, relationships, and what I want from life?
Are there any positives from this relationship I want to bring to my next one?
What do I KNOW I never want to experience again?
What was I missing in that relationship that I want in my next one?
Create a Daily Intention that Focuses on Loving Kindness
If you are a hard-working perfectionist, I can bet you may always be focused on work and others (note the self-neglect I mentioned above). It can be unsettling to focus on yourself, but once you get in the habit, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try this sooner.
Set an intention every day to practice something kind and thoughtful toward yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything big or extravagant. It can be as simple as saying to yourself, “I am practicing mindful care toward my happiness and well being.” Write the intention down and put it in places where you’ll be reminded to practice it. Your daily electronic calendar is an excellent place to start if you are regularly online. You can learn more about intentions here.
Focus on Your Strengths
What are the special qualities that make you YOU? Start a journal, listing 3-5 qualities or positive actions about yourself on a daily basis. The list may be very small the first few times, especially if you are hard on yourself. That’s okay – no judgement. The main purpose here is to bring your attention to the things that make you gloriously unique and more than okay.
Create a Sanctuary
When you envision a peaceful location, a cherished friend or relative, and favorite activities, what are they? Consider creating a sacred place in your home that reflects your “most favorite things.” Once you create this space, promise yourself to spend just 10 minutes a day in this space to relax and get inspired.
Stop Mistreating Yourself
Self-criticism and self-loathing are easy actions to against our selves, habits that can perpetuate low self-esteem. If we think like this long enough, we begin to believe those destructive thoughts Switch them off, with these tips from Marc and Angel. Healing begins with action, not just thoughts!
Leave the Thinking Behind – and Feel
Feel who you really are, not who you THINK you are. Besides, those thoughts, until they are nurtured, may not exactly be positive ones.
Find a quiet place to sit, and close your eyes. Breathe deeply into the belly, lower lungs and upper lungs, focusing on the movement of your breath up and down the spine. Blow away random thoughts with each exhale.
Cross your arms in front of you, bringing your hands to the opposite shoulder blades. Grabbing each shoulder blade, take a deep breath in, feeling the stretch and tension in your shoulder blades, using your chest to push your arms forward during the inhale, and exhale with a big sigh. Hug accomplished!
In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
Sources and Further Reading
Khoshaba Psy.D., Deborah (27 May 2012) A Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love: Self-love is An Action Not a State of Feeling Good. Get Hardy, Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love.
Lo Giudice, Antonia. Focus on Your Strengths and Live Your Passion. Stay Hungry Be Foolish.com. http://www.stayhungrybefoolish.com/2013/09/30/focus-strengths-live-passion/.
Ni, Preston. 1 January 2015. 7 Keys to Increasing Your Self-Esteem Today! Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/communication-success/201501/7-keys-increasing-your-self-esteem-today
Sears, Michelle. 50 Positive Qualities to Help You Live an Outstanding Life. Self-Esteem: Build, Discover, Maintain. http://www.selfesteem-building.com/50-positive-qualities.html.