By Barry Kerr and Kristine Gay
Ever notice how sometimes, when alone, you long to be with someone and sometimes, with someone, you can’t wait to be alone? It’s a natural rhythm we all feel, and as with most things, requires balance. Yet, there are times in life when you can experience such a prolonged imbalance that you feel stuck.
Perhaps you are in a relationship that started well, with plenty of quality togetherness, and now togetherness has grown stale or smothering. When your partner announces a trip out of town or a trip to the store, you exhale a breath of relief, wishing it could be a longer trip. Or perhaps you’ve been living alone for a long time, and what started out feeling like refreshing freedom has now become an empty aloneness, a feeling of isolation with an endless aching for connection.
Neither of these extremes feels good and both seem to be conditioned on relationships. Yet, in the end, you are left with yourself to decide what to do about it. If you need more time alone, ultimately it is up to you to value yourself, assert your need and create time to be alone. In a relationship, you have enough control to do that — even when your partner resists.
But what if you’re already alone and feeling you have had enough? Merely asserting your need for a relationship isn’t really going to get you one. Another person has to agree to that. And lacking that other person, what then? What control and power do you have in it?
Well, there are thousands of books, seminars and websites that offer help finding a lover or partner. Some are very smart and helpful, if (and that’s a big if) you are ready. But that raises a very important question: does the aching desire for a relationship indicate readiness?
In a culture that presents relationships as the end-all and be-all in life, being alone can certainly seem like a form of poverty in which we may receive handouts of attention and affection from passersby, but are never able to feel at home with a full belly and a warm bed. Our eyes are always looking outward, searching for that one soul who will invite us in. This cultural bias actually distracts us from recognizing the positive value and inherent opportunities in being alone. The truth is, time alone, both short and prolonged, is necessary for relationship and spiritual fulfillment. But it’s not automatic. What we do with our alone time is what empowers us or not.
It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself. It’s just as easy to give up and swear off relationships, all the while secretly harboring that familiar longing for love.
A more conscious way to be alone, for an hour or for a decade, is to embrace it as a time to “know thyself.” If you haven’t been alone much this can mean exploring life so as to literally discover what you like, your values, your needs and desires. From this self-awareness, you can begin to build an honest, authentic expression of your ego and your unique, intuitive guidance system that will serve to keep you true to yourself, even in relationships.
Just as important is how to care for yourself. For fulfillment in life or relationships, you must value yourself enough to give yourself what you need and want, not dependent on others. It starts with healing and loving you. Learning how to do this well can take time — years, lifetimes. Ultimately, it’s about knowing yourself as a soul, the divine, unconditional source of love that you are.
A transformational life coach can accelerate the learning process. An experienced guide can help discern the ways you already love yourself from the ways you continue to block the flow of love and teach you tools of mindfulness and self-care.
As you feel a richness and contentment in being alone with yourself, then you are empowered and ready to follow your natural instinct to share that self with others. The more you know yourself, the more you have to share.
Barry Kerr, an evolutionary astrologer and certified life and relationship coach, and Kristine Gay, a licensed psychotherapist, own Choose Conscious Living in Madison. Both have extensive training in soul-guided, transformational healing of mind, body, heart and spiritual systems. They offer healing, coaching, therapy, mindfulness and astrology services for singles, couples and groups. For more information, visit http://www.ChooseConsciousLiving.com. Call or email for a free consultation and questions.