We as human beings thrive in connection with others. We were not created to be alone. The legendary poet John Donne said it best when he stated, ”No man is an island unto himself” Based on this sentiment, it becomes wildly evident that we as living, breathing human beings were created to share an interdependent existence based on love, mutuality, and togetherness. Usually these things are found within our families and circle of friends. Those who we call our “kin” and “close knit friends” are charged with the responsibility to provide the love, support, and nurture necessary to grow.
But what happens when you have to go it alone? When you have no family or friends you can count on for support? What do you do when you are out here fighting alone?
First thing’s first: you mourn. You grieve the loss of having no one you can count on. You cry. You write. You scream. You let out the rage and the anger and the hurt that comes from knowing no one is in your corner when you need them the most. You cycle through the stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. You allow yourself to feel those emotions. You sit in those emotions and act as a curious observer to the delicate nuances of feelings that emerge during the course of this experience. This will hurt immensely, but you must sit in this discomfort, as eventually you will be granted powerful insights and amazing tools you can use to self-soothe and pull yourself out of this terrible gloom.
Sit here, but do not make grief your residence. Do not make sadness your permanent address. Allow yourself the space to feel this then get up, shower, dress, and make yourself breakfast. You will need your strength because you have work to do. You have to find out how best to support YOU. As you do this work, remember you have you. You are not without someone.
As you engage in the very purposeful yet terrifying work of supporting yourself, remember you know how to be alone. You have done it so many times before. When you were first being formed in your mother’s strong womb, you were alone. When you were resting in your crib at night as a small child at the beginning stages of your life, you were growing alone. When you were playing in your room, sometimes you were in the company of one. Other times you just had you and your imagination to rely on. You know how to be alone. You already have a repertoire of flying solo. The blueprint on how to be alone has already been formed.
Keep in mind that you are not alone in being alone. Many people feel the same way you do and have no friends or family to rely on too. They have used the time to build their own empires. They have used the time to discover who they are, what they enjoy, what they want, how best they can support themselves irrespective of having family, friends or a life partner.
They have also learned to draw on various sources of motivation from books, nature and a meaningful relationship with their higher power. They have collected concrete tools, namely quotes, affirmations, and sayings that keep them regularly motivated. They have looked in their mirror and engaged in what is known as “power posing.” They stand tall inside themselves and hold poses that reflect their inner strength and the person they wish to project to the world. They become the change they wish to see and engage in this self-defining choreography and realize they have everyone they need right inside of them.
Mostly they engage in radical self-care. They do not wait for others to validate their intuition. They honor their own voice. They journal and meditate and let themselves breathe. They take up space and reclaim their time. They rest and drink water and eat nutritious well-balanced meals. They reparent and repair the wounded ego and the damaged inner child that was created as a result of inadequate caretakers. They become their own best friend and learn how to protect themselves from spiritual exploitation.
Amidst all this self-care, they realize that there will be days when they will feel like they can’t go on. They know that there will be days when they will want to throw themselves away. They will long for the love of the family and friends they never had and will often get very, very sad. On those days, they will break out the emotional safety plan they created a long time ago in case of emotional emergencies like this. They will remind themselves of their worth. They will make sure to take extra care of themselves and be the love they deserve. They will make their bed in the morning to set the tone for their day, and they will be everything they ever wanted from another for themselves, by themselves, because they deserve it.
Truth is, it’s hard having to be your own safety net and having to catch yourself at every turn. This is why rest and rehydration are essential to your survival. But in addition to these life sustaining activities, it is important to create preemptive emotional safety plans for days when you do not feel at your best. Doing these things lets you know that even on those days when you feel like you are out here fighting alone, you are loved by the powerful army of one—that one being YOU.