Table of contents:
- 1. Decide who you want to be
- 2. Control your reactions
- 3. Look down on loneliness
- 4. Replace "loneliness" with "solitude"
- 5. Happiness at will
- 6. Increase your strength with a totem
- 7. Turn your lonely life into a project
- 8. Be kind to yourself
- 9. Find your ikigai - your goal
- 10. Be a good company, inspiration and support group for yourself
- 11. Slam the door in front of everything negative
- 12. Act as if …
2023 Author: Malcolm Clapton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 06:26
An excerpt from the book "Living in a Solo" about how to cheer up and enjoy the benefits of freedom.
1. Decide who you want to be
Use three adjectives to describe the kind of person you want to be. Perhaps, over time, the image will change, but the very fact of its presence is very important: the selected qualities will serve you as a value guide and the basis for decisions and actions. Perhaps some qualities will be relevant for a short time, for a specific task or goal. Others will stay with you for a long time. Decide for yourself. Adjectives don't have to be serious. You may have gone through difficult times, so cheer yourself up.
Consider if you want to be: positive, courageous, kind, skillful, strong, motivated, calm, optimistic, wise, gentle, loving, persistent, generous, compassionate, open, efficient, friendly, active, energetic, patient, happy, generous, passionate, disciplined, responsible, caring.
Act like the person you would like to become, and eventually you will become. Be your own beacon and guide.
2. Control your reactions
Very often you will have to mobilize all your inner resources to stay strong and courageous. You must admit that you cannot run away from unpleasant emotions and do not shrug them off. You must face them, acknowledge these feelings, sort them out and learn to control them. […]
It is very important to keep this in mind when people hurt your feelings - intentionally or accidentally. They themselves are not always aware of the impact of their words and actions. At such moments, I try not to forget that people are only projecting their own attitude towards themselves onto me. By impulsively responding to the interlocutor's remark, you give him your strength. If I see that a person is really trying to hurt me, then mentally I raise a shield with a mirror facing him in order to protect myself and show him that now he is talking not about me, but about himself.
Of all the advice received in life, one of the most useful was the following: you cannot influence how people will behave with you, or change some situations, but you can control your reaction to them.
You are not able to change the direction of the wind, but you are able to control your sails.
The same applies to living alone: perhaps you would like to share a shelter with another adult or have a family, but the reality is that there is no one around, so only your attitude to the situation will determine how joyful such a life will be for you. …
As my own life experience shows, difficulties temper us. A grain of sand in a shell turns into a pearl. Therefore, take any troubles - and they will be - as veils, passing through which you will become stronger and wiser. And if you urgently need to throw out seething emotions, take a dozen eggs and go for a walk in the forest; Throw eggs into the trees with all your might - and feel how satisfaction replaces anger!
3. Look down on loneliness
The very fact that no one is around does not mean anything. The problem is the feeling of loneliness that appears under different disguises. It can hide behind sadness, apathy, indifference, fatigue, depression. It is tangible. It is real. It will not be so easy to lag behind. How do you defeat him?
Understand that this is normal. Embrace your loneliness and move on. There is no escape from the feeling of loneliness. It is a fact. Everyone I spoke to while writing this book touched on the topic of loneliness. Everyone experiences this feeling: someone to a greater extent, someone to a lesser extent. It is as if you are driving through hilly terrain and from time to time descend into the dark lowlands. This feeling is expected. The main thing is not to linger in the lowlands, not to set up camp there.
You can fight the coming feeling of loneliness by moral and physical means. The former are much more important. You can, of course, physically surround yourself with people, but your sense of self has nothing to do with them. This is an inner attitude. You can't hide from him; you will only run away from yourself. So accept, accept and live with him further.
Accept that the feeling of loneliness, like happiness, sadness, death, birth, love and delight, is an integral part of the human being.
Resign yourself and live on.
4. Replace "loneliness" with "solitude"
Paul Tillich wrote: “Language wisely separates the two sides of the same phenomenon. There is the word "loneliness" meaning suffering without others. And there is the word "solitude" meaning bliss without others. Turn away from loneliness with its criticism and isolation. Face his friendlier brother - solitude.
Solitude is closer to a conscious decision and allows you to maintain your self-esteem. Solitude is your personal choice, while loneliness is a condition imposed by circumstances.
An old Buddhist adage says, "A tenth of an inch of difference - and heaven and earth are separate." Solitude and loneliness are also separated by a tenth of an inch, but for our sense of self it is crucial.
When you live alone, you have to rethink your worldview, and this is far from all the changes. Do not even think of thinking of living alone as a prison sentence that you will have to serve. Change your angle of view. Reframe the concept. Solitude is not a stone on the neck, but a protective capsule. A means to an end. Learn to draw strength from it - and you will be rewarded.
5. Happiness at will
“If you want to be happy, be happy,” Tolstoy said. He knew a thing or two about life even before scientists started studying the problem of happiness, and the authors began to race to write their practical guides for those who want to find the joy of life.
The world is as you see it. So if you feel like you missed your chance or that life has treated you unfairly, this is your reality. I’m not saying that you need to think positively with a fake smile on your face, but research (and common sense) indicates that a positive mindset leads to positive outcomes. In the morning, as soon as your feet touch the floor, think about how you would like to live the day ahead.
Experts have proven that feeling happy contributes to success, not the other way around.
6. Increase your strength with a totem
We, lonely people, are like aerial acrobats in a circus, performing without a safety net. Criticism and caustic comments can throw us off balance in no time, and their number never ceases to amaze and upset me. Some come from strangers, some from friends and enemies pretending to be friends. Most of these people do not know what it means to live alone, and do not even suspect to what extent their statements offend us.
Okay, okay, life goes on. Without false optimism, I am sure that difficulties temper us and provide an opportunity to learn something, even if it may take many years to master the lesson. Perhaps our offenders are also learning something.
We must become thick-skinned. Wrap up in an imaginary protective cloak and let it ward off all grievances.
I learned resilience from three beasts and began to regard them as my totems. This is a wild dog, lioness and bison.
Wild Dog Solo
As a child, I was presented with the book "Solo" by Hugo van Lavik. It tells about a hyena dog puppy. After the death of the brothers in a fight with other dogs, Solo is left alone. She is nailed to someone else's flock and tries her best to keep up with her. Outsiders ignore her, but she doesn't give up. For me, this dog with burning eyes and ears torn from numerous fights is the embodiment of resilience. Her story serves as an example for me.
During that period of my life, when the divorce proceedings were going on, I accidentally came across one image that made a deep impression on me. On a bas-relief in the British Museum, I saw an Assyrian lioness: wounded, she continues to fight. Now I see myself as a lonely lioness, regained strength, restrained and proud.
Did you know that during a blizzard of all living things, only bison instinctively turn around and go straight into the heart of the storm, knowing that this is the shortest path to salvation. Perhaps I was too carried away by anthropomorphism, but it is impossible not to fall in love with an animal that, without batting an eye, rushes towards difficulties.
Solo's tenacity, the lioness's desperate resistance, and the bison's ability to face difficulties remind me not to succumb to the negativity of pessimists, spiteful critics, and imaginary friends.
7. Turn your lonely life into a project
Why not write a book about your life alone or document it? What helps you? What advice would you give to other people who find themselves in the same situation? What challenges did you face and what lessons did you learn from them? How did the process of changing self-awareness develop from “I am alone” to “I am on my own”?
Many women have described their experiences of solitary life, including Joan Anderson (A Year By the Sea), Ann-Morrow Lindbergh (Gift of the Sea) and Alix Cates Schulman (Drinking the Rain]). Read it. You may find something inspiring in these books.
A fulfilling life in solitude is an inner attitude that will not form on its own. Explore a new experience as if you were in an unfamiliar country, and draw a map of your life alone with yourself, as if it were an island. Why is this island good, and where are the problems? What beauties are you proud of? What corners have not yet been explored?
8. Be kind to yourself
We women are prone to harsh self-criticism, and it seems to me that living alone aggravates this property of ours. Sometimes I feel like the central mast of a circus dome - when I have to be responsible for everything at once - and I don't always successfully cope with this load. We demand too much of ourselves, and when we fail to meet our own expectations, it greatly undermines our self-esteem.
Not everyone is doing well. So don't think about others. Congratulate yourself on your progress and don't be afraid of what remains to be accomplished. Everything will work out.
Each of us has his own path, and it is different for all.
9. Find your ikigai - your goal
The Japanese have a concept called ikigai - the reason that makes them get up in the morning. This is a person's healthy craving for something that fills his life with meaning; in other words, the goal. Finding it means finding the direction of movement; it's like marking a destination in Google Maps.
If you do not set yourself such global tasks as the search for a higher goal or vocation, if you are not at all up to it, do not worry. Not everyone is born to a great mission.
There are many threads of experience in our life that show the way to the goal. It happens that she is already known, but, perhaps, is hiding on the periphery or in the past. Look into the depths of your consciousness and search properly. The goal does not have to be global and grand. The main thing is that it suits you. She will be found; and you don't have to chase her too hard. Life constantly talks to us and gives us hints. Our job is to listen.
10. Be a good company, inspiration and support group for yourself
You are your own team. One-man team. You spend more time with yourself than anyone else, so try to be good company to yourself. I'm lucky. I feel good alone with myself. But if everything is wrong with you, how can you improve the situation?
People rarely compliment or compliment others, so fill that vacuum yourself. Don't wait for someone to tell you "well done" or "great job." Pat yourself on the shoulder systematically. You are not discouraged and move on - this is already praiseworthy.
11. Slam the door in front of everything negative
If you are tormented by negative thoughts, do not dismiss them, but admit them. You can even give them names if it helps: you are pettiness, you are impatient, you are tired and frustrated. Now, with Nora's determination, slam the door in front of their noses so that they no longer spoil your life.
Instead of complaining about how and why you ended up in a particular situation, find the nearest reflective surface and tell out loud what you are going to do with the situation.
Of course, everything happens in life. I do not live in a fictional world and do not wear rose-colored glasses. My heart still squeezes a little at the sound of my "thank you" to the cashier in the supermarket, said in a voice hoarse from a day of silence. And sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall asleep from worries. I miss the reassuring feeling of being around someone to rely on.
Thoughts in your head are not idle, and negativity always does its dirty deed. They whisper in your ear, “You're old. You are ugly. You're a loser. You are fat. Is it possible to love you? What is the use of you to the world? " Women are very strong by nature, and it is doubly insulting that we voluntarily become hostages of these vile voices in our heads.
Fight them as best you can, do not succumb to their pernicious influence. We must deprive them of their power, otherwise they will take root and bloom in lush flowers. Don't let yourself get bogged down in your usual discontent with everyone and everything: this is an emotional dead end. Pull yourself out of the swamp, shake off the dirt and move on. You choose your thoughts.
12. Act as if …
The words we choose have a significant impact on our sense of self, on our approach to many things, on the result of our actions. The more often you say "I want …" or "I need …", the less likely you are to get what you want. Instead, act as if everything has already happened and you are reaping the benefits. Replace “I would like to be successful” with “I am successful” and “I would like to have a job that I enjoy” with “I have a great job” and behave accordingly. You will immediately notice a dramatic change in your attitude to the world. This kind of inner attitude is much more likely to lead you to success.
I am confident in the effectiveness of this technique, because I myself was forced to look for a full-time job when I was already over fifty - and everything worked out. Now I have to do it again. A harmful inner voice whispers: "I'm too old, no one will take me to work." I understand that such prophecies turn into misfortune, so I deliberately changed my internal attitude to “Now I bring a lot of benefit to my clients. I am calm about my abilities, I am confident in them, I have significant valuable experience behind me."
Nevertheless, sitting at home, doing positive auto-training, reading "The Secret" and eating crumpets, I am unlikely to find a job. To do this, I have to shake up my connections and send out a resume with a compelling cover letter. Now I approach this task with confidence and act as if …
If you are unable to act on the “as if…” principle, try to rephrase the problems in a positive, pragmatic way, look at them as problems for which you just need to find solutions.
- It was: "I can't afford it." It became: "How to make it so that I can afford it?"
- It was: "I can't." It became: "How can I be able to?"
- It was: "I think this is difficult." It became: "I am working in this direction."
- It was: "I should have." It became: "I will do it."
In general, the idea is clear.
This too shall pass
When problems are piling up all at once and it starts to seem to you that your boat is about to pick up water, evaluate what is happening in the future. Whatever difficulties you are facing now, this is just a tiny dot on the line of your life. In a year or five, today's events will mean much less or be forgotten altogether. You are stronger than you think.
Australian writer Jane Matthews believes that the ability to be lonely and enjoy life at the same time is a simple skill, but it requires some effort and mental work. Like learning a foreign language. In his book “Solo Life. How to live alone and enjoy it”she sincerely talks about what helped her.