#EchoWarriors Story Project: ‘On Being Lonely’ by Naomi White

Posted by on Jul 12, 2016 in adult survivor of child abuse, EchoWarriors, healing, inspiration, self-care, self-healing | 0 comments

 

#EchoWarriors - Naomi White

 

This piece was written as guidance and tips for when we are single and feeling lonely, however, I found Naomi’s excellent advice is applicable to the various feelings of loneliness that survivors can also experience.  Please read on and perhaps her wisdom may be of service to you.

***

On Being Single.
Or rather,
On Being Lonely.
Because the two are not the same.

I recently spent time with a friend who is grieving the death of her husband of 26 years. She noticed that we’re switching places. She is now single and I’m happily partnered up. She wanted to know if I had any tips on how to do it well. This being-single-business.

I was flattered, mainly because my singleness, for the most part, hasn’t been by choice. (Ok, it has – I’m choosy. But poor company is not a substitute for the partner of one’s heart.) It’s not something that I’ve felt like I’ve done particularly well or with any significant amount of obvious grace. That notwithstanding, I was surprised at how quickly I was able to come up with a list of things that have either contributed to the Thrive or Survive categories of my life, depending on the day, and I’d like to share them here.

In no particular order…

1. Take exceptional care of yourself. Find ways to rock your own cradle. For me, this has meant a gym membership to a place with a steam room. High thread count sheets in colors that I love. Kombucha in my fridge on a regular basis despite the fact that it’s expensive. Thinking of myself in the third person, especially when I’m feeling sad. As in “What does my friend Naomi need right now? How can I provide that for her?” One day it was a beautiful Italian copper pan. Another day it was an ultra clean and tidy apartment. Three summers ago, it was a writing and yoga retreat in Bali as I got ready to become a foster mom. This week, it was new art supplies at Michael’s and internal permission to spend as much time as I wanted being creative.

2. When the loneliness gets really bad, find a way to be of service ASAP. It’s hard to focus on making someone else’s load lighter and feel the weight of your own at the same time.

3. Find things you love to do and do them. Alone. Watercolor. Learn how to surf. Write. Go for hikes. Make a gourmet meal.

4. Sometimes indulging in an old-fashioned pity party feels great. At times, mine have also included alcohol and tears and one evening, my dad patiently on the other side of the phone for two hours while I cried out my heart break to him. It’s ok. Just don’t stay there.

5. Remember that feelings are energy and give them the permission and space to change.

6. Feel free to excuse yourself from gatherings of happy couple if you’re feeling fragile. It’s ok. Truly. You don’t even need to give a reason why. A simple “I’d love to come but it’s just not going to work for me tonight” is sufficient.

7. I moved across the country when going to church every Sunday and seeing nothing but sweet couples with their adorable children got to be too much. I went somewhere where people were more in my state of life. It helped tremendously.

8. It’s a numbers game. Most people end up with someone at some point in their life. When I’ve been able to tap into that energy, I can really enjoy the wonderful things about being single. And there are a LOT of them.

9. Find ways to keep your heart and spirit juicy. For me, that’s been dancing and personal growth workshops.

10. Be selective with whom you share your struggles. Not everyone is going to respond in a helpful way and there are only so many cliches one can hear and respond to in a gracious fashion.

11. Speaking of cliches, BTW, it’s NOT when you least expect it. (Well-meaning friends: REMOVE THIS PLATITUDE FROM YOUR VOCABULARY IMMEDIATELY.) It’s when you’re ready. And our idea of readiness and God’s are very different. I’m having a memory of a comment about Gandalf seldom being early but always being right on time. God’s like that. Or rather, Gandalf is like God.

12. I play a game with myself when I’m in the middle of any sort of struggle or pain. I ask myself “What if before I came to earth, God and I sat down and mapped out my whole life. And I said YES to all of it? Would that change how I”m experiencing this thing now?” And the answer invariably is affirmative. It DOES change pain if I feel that I accepted whatever is happening because I would have had the foresight to see that it will all be ok in the end.

13. Learn to enjoy your own company.

14. Travel by yourself. I’ve done it so much that it’s become something I really enjoy doing. The interactions I have with people are different as a woman alone than as a woman partnered up, or even traveling with a girlfriend. And I no longer resent exquisite sunsets because I don’t have someone special to share them with because I’ve learned that I’M special and it’s enough to share them with ME. (Self in third person again. It really works.)

15. Ask this question frequently: Where are things coming together in my life? How can I focus more on that?

***

Naomi has also included this link for a great program called, “Challange Day” > http://www.challengeday.org/
Per their FAQ:
“Challenge Day is a 501 c(3)non-profit organization that helps people learn to connect through powerful, life-changing programs in their schools and communities. The day-long, interactive Challenge Day program provides teens and adults with tools to tear down the walls of separation and inspires participants to live, study, and work in an encouraging environment of acceptance, love, and respect.

Using highly interactive and energetic activities, Challenge Day Leaders guide participants through a carefully designed exploration of the ways people separate from each other, and model tools for creating connection and building community.

Challenge Day programs increase self-esteem, help shift dangerous peer pressure to positive peer support, and reduce the acceptability of teasing, oppression, and all forms of violence. Our programs inspire youth and communities to Be the Change they wish to see in the world and challenge others to do the same.”

Interested in submitting your story?  Go here to learn more and submit today! > #EchoWarriors Story Project

Blessings to you,
Heather Durling, The Phoenix Gathering
“One Starfish At a Time.”
Proud Member of www.TheWellnessUniverse.com ‪#‎WUVIP‬

Copyright 2015-2016 The Phoenix Gathering. All Rights Reserved.

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