Tag Archives: alone

From Intent.com: You Are Not Alone

“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”
― John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

The thing they don’t tell you about getting older is how hard it is to maintain relationship. As a grade-school child, you’re in a room with 25 other kids your same age from your neighborhood and for roughly eight months, you have built in best friends. That’s how it goes for 13 years or so and then you slowly add more and more people until you realize, unless you’re intentional, you might not know anyone.

I can’t name one person I met in college. Seriously.

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As an adult, I’ve learned that if I want to have more than surface-level friendships, I’m going to have to put in the extra effort. I don’t know that I’ll ever find the consistency I had in grade school. I work from home. I’m a single adult. If I want friendships, I have to make them a priority. Here are some best practices I’ve collected over the past years:

1. Don’t expect your friends to be psychic. I’m not even sure the people advertising themselves to be psychics are psychics, but we expect our friends to know when we’re sad or sick or feeling left out. While you don’t want to end up in a one-sided relationship, involvement with another person is always going to require putting yourself out there in some form. If you’re feeling blue, invite a friend to dinner. Decide you aren’t going to let it ruin your night if they aren’t available. Maybe think of 3 or 4 people to ask just in case. The point is just to get some quality time!

2. Know what you love. It can be really frustrating hanging out with people who love football to watch football if you don’t love football. Who’s fault is it really? If they know they love football, they are only being authentic to what they love. What do YOU love? If it’s not football, that’s totally fine! Is it hiking? Is it crafting? Is it going to concerts? The more you know about what you love, the easier it is to find your tribe or to invite people into experiences with you versus always feeling like you’re tagging along with someone else. It’s no one else’s job to find out what you love so take the time to really think about it and then share it!

3. Reconnect. There has to be some advantage to all the social media we’re glued to these days. Maybe it’s an opportunity to reach out to family or friends you lost touch with long ago. Upon moving to LA last year, I reconnected with one of those grade school friends I mentioned after I noticed on Facebook that she’d also moved to Los Angeles after graduating from college in Texas. We sent a couple of emails back and forth and scheduled lunch. It was a little nerve-wracking walking up to the restaurant. Would it be weird? Would we even have anything in common anymore? But, from the moment we sat down at the table, it was as if we had never missed a day!


It’s hard to be vulnerable. It’s hard to say “I feel alone” because it means you want people around and so much of society these days says you’re weak if you need people. To that I say the world isn’t big enough for everyone to have their own islands, so community has to happen. I also think that some of our best refining comes in the context of community.

It is where we learn to be selfless and also to stand up for ourselves.
It is where we learn to love ourselves and also to put others first.
It is where we learn what hills we want to die on.
It is where we learn the value of “thank you” and “I’m sorry”.
Those seem like worthy lessons.

So, don’t forget.
You are not alone.
You’re here and I’m here and so we can go ahead and put the notion that you’re alone to sleep.
You are not hopeless.
You are not unworthy of love.
I can say that with full confidence because your heart is beating.
So get out there!
A lonely someone is waiting on your friendship.

You Are Not Alone

(For this week’s audio podcast, click here.)

Sometimes I feel like I’m all alone.  Even though my relationship with my wife Michelle is amazing, the love I feel for and from my girls is profound, and there are so many incredible people in my life (family, friends, and clients) – I still find that in my darkest moments, I feel like there’s no one who really gets me, knows what I’m going through, or even cares enough to truly have my back.  Do you ever feel like this yourself?

I’m facing some pretty intense challenges in my life right now.  Earlier this week, I was standing in the center of the circle at my men’s group and I allowed myself to really get vulnerable about what’s been going on and the underlying pain and fear I’ve been feeling.  As I fell to the floor and sobbed uncontrollably, I realized that two of my deepest fears have been – "I can’t handle all of this myself," and, "I’m all alone."

As I allowed myself to both feel and express the intensity of these painful fears, two amazing things happened.  First of all, I felt liberated (which is what almost always happens when we express ourselves vulnerably and authentically).  Second of all, I felt the acceptance, support, and love of the men in my group in that moment, which reminded me (both mentally and, more important, emotionally and experientially) that I’m not, in fact, alone – there are so many incredible people in my life who do have my back.

We’re never truly alone, even when we feel that way.  Most of us have important, loving, and caring people in our lives who are there to support us – if we’re willing to open up, ask for, and receive their help.  And, regardless of how many people are around us, what our current relationship, family, or work situation may be, or any of the other external circumstances in our life – each of us has access to a higher power, whether we call it God, Spirit, Source, or anything else.

One of the deepest and most basic fears of being human is the fear of loneliness – no one to be with us, love us, accept us, support us, and take care of us if and when we need it.  Although this fear seems very real and there’s nothing wrong with us for feeling it, the paradox is that we aren’t ever really alone – we’re surrounded by love and support all the time, from others and, of course, from God.  The idea that we’re alone is simply a "story" we tell ourselves, especially when things get difficult, scary, or both.

Here are some things you can do to let go of this "story" of being alone when it shows up in your life:

1)  Open Up Vulnerably – Acknowledging, owning, and sharing your deepest truth is one of the best ways to liberate yourself and connect with other people in an authentic way (hence, reminding us that we’re not alone).  So often we think that if we really let others know how we feel, what we fear, and what’s truly going inside our head and our heart, they would judge us, reject us, or not understand us.  In most cases, the exact opposite is true.

2)  Ask For Help – As the saying goes, "the answer is always ‘no’ if you don’t ask."  When we have the courage and vulnerability to ask for the help and support we need, a few important things happen.  First of all, we’re liberated from the pressure of trying to take care of everything ourselves.  Second of all, we give other people the opportunity to contribute to us and be of service (which most people love to do).  And finally, we’re able to tap into the energy, brilliance, and creativity of other human beings – which is almost always helpful and is also a good reminder that we have access to a great deal of love and support.

3)  Allow Yourself To Be Supported – Being "supportable" is something many of us, myself included, struggle with.  Even if we’re vulnerable enough to tell the truth about how we really feel and ask for the support we truly want, it takes a certain amount of maturity, self respect, and humility to allow other people to support us.  Even if it’s scary and feels uncomfortable at first, practicing and expanding your capacity to receive the support of others is both generous (as it allows other people to make a difference) and wise (you don’t have to work so hard and struggle so much).

4)  Have Faith – Faith is the belief in things not seen or proven.  At some level, our ability to grow, expand, and evolve in life is directly related to our ability to live with a deep sense of faith – in ourselves, others, and a higher power.  In our lowest moments, when it feels like we truly are alone and that things will never turn around, work out, or go the way we want them to in life, our faith is what can pull us through.  Waiting for a "guarantee" or until we think we’re "ready" or "deserving" of support sets us up to fail and creates more fear and anxiety.  Having faith in ourselves, others, life, and God is what can remind us, in an instant, that we’re not alone – because we’re not!

Where in your life do you feel alone right now?  What are you willing to do to reach out and get support in a way that will nourish and empower you? Share your ideas, commitments, thoughts, dreams, and more on my blog

To listen to this week’s audio podcast, including additional thoughts, ideas, and tips, click

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / AHMED…

Thoughts on Being Alone, Thoughts on Being All-One

Yesterday I drove down from Nederland, my little hometown in the Rockies, into Boulder. It’s about a 30 minute drive through stunning Boulder Canyon. I was heading in to pick up my daughter, Lily, at her Mom’s house. She is in first grade. She’s special. I know every Dad says that so I guess I’m no different.

On the way back up the canyon to our little mountain house things turned strange. Lily suddenly started crying and she became very angry with me. See, about a year ago my wife and I decided to split up for good. It was my decision, which you can read about in earlier posts. She looked directly at me and said, "Daddy, you made a bad decision to divorce Mommy and now you have ruined my life." At that moment my heart broke. Broke. Broke. Broke. For the next few minutes of the drive home I felt completely and totally ALONE. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt that alone before. It was like I had been beamed to a distant planet. One that is covered in ice and is dark all the time.

I started writing this blog back in August as a way to journal my experience as I move through a period that we typically call a midlife crisis. The way I see it is that individuals tend to take one of a few different possible paths during this particular time in their lives. Some people, I think, try to reach out to their youth. They perhaps find themselves attempting to gain fulfillment through material things,  constant social activities, sex, and maybe alchohol, etc. Some, however, choose a slightly different path. One that involves a lot of reflection and curiosity about the decisions they’ve made so far. A path that requires self-scrutiny and maybe self-realization. This path may take these Midlifers on a personal journey that is a good bit healthier both physically and spiritually.

I believe the latter is the path that I seem to be on. I’m not writing this to impress anyone or brag about how enlightened I am but rather to state my experience and hopefully provide some insight to other fellow Midlifers. This period of my life has led me to a deeper understanding of our humanity. Not because I’m wise but simply because I’ve injected some serious curiosity into each day and each emotion that I find myself immersed in. This introspection has allowed me to really see what my life is all about. It’s allowed me a chance to realize that I am never really alone. See, I have engaged in a full-blown knowing that we come directly from an energy that is far greater; a Source. We can label this Source anything we want; God, Buddha, Allah, Elvis, whatever. I personally don’t care what we call it.

This Midlife Manifesto isn’t meant to be religious in any way but it seems impossible for me to fully define what’s been happening to me without making some connection to our spirit. Although maybe a bit cliche, my midlife introspection has led me to believe that we are all-one. We are simply, at our very essence, God. And, God is experiencing itself through us; through each one of us as individuals. I am Joe and at the same time I’m not Joe. God is experiencing itself through the role of Joe; me.

Why do I bring this belief up now? Well, because after my sweet little first-grade daughter hit me with her anger yesterday I had to call upon everything that I know to be true. I could have allowed the "aloneness" of that specific moment to over-run me. I could have allowed it to take me down a mutlitude of paths that may have been destructive. But, honestly, the first thing that came to mind was to settle myself down, return to my breath, and the perfect stillness that surrounded me. This allowed me to escape the lonely feeling that engulfed me. I literally went from a feeling of being "alone" to a peaceful understanding that we are "all-one." This made me a better Daddy in the moments that followed our torrid conversation. I’m certain that Lily was feeling alone as well. We sat quietly. We allowed the angry moment to pass and then we had a beautiful talk and an even more beautiful evening together.

It truly helps to know that I’m never really alone. I can always find the stillness in the situation. That stillness sometimes actually feels like an embrace.

(More tips for Midlifers and Everyone Else at My Midlife Manifesto)

Mastering the Art of Aloneness

Americans now spend half of their adult lives outside of marriage, and fewer than half of all households consist of married couples. These are major shifts that have been brewing for decades, yet people’s attitudes about being alone have changed remarkably little during those years.

Aloneness is still associated with a variety of negative emotions. At the start of the Mastering the Art of Aloneness workshop, I ask participants what they think of when they hear the word “aloneness.” I hear the same responses over and over. “Lonely.” “Unwanted.” “Afraid.” It’s no surprise that people think of aloneness as a negative state to avoid rather than embrace. From early childhood, we’re conditioned to associate aloneness as something to pity, fear, or feel ashamed of.  

Mastering the art of aloneness doesn’t mean foregoing the love and support of others. It means living a life in which you feel whole and happy; a life in which you can take care of yourself emotionally and financially. It involves reframing aloneness as an opportunity to develop the self-awareness, life skills, and emotional intelligence needed to live a full, gratifying life—whether you’re living it alone or with someone else.  

As you embrace your aloneness and engage in new behaviors, you will create new results in every aspect of your life. Below are a few of many action steps you can take to strengthen your relationship with yourself and use the state of “aloneness” as an opportunity to develop greater self esteem, personal fulfillment, and financial security.

    * Learn about and develop who you are: Imagine what life would be like if we all put as much energy into developing a healthy and loving relationship with ourselves as we do in our relationships with others.  Personal development work (coaching, workshops, therapy, etc.) allows you to better understand your strengths and passions, the influences that have shaped who you’ve become, and to live your life by deliberation versus by default.

    * Develop an inner support system: Deploy stress-reducing strategies such as getting enough sleep and exercise, meditating, scheduling leisure activities, extending compassion to yourself through supportive “self talk” (“great job!”, “you’re magnificent!”, etc.), and by maintaining a diet that supports your physical and emotional well-being.

    * Develop an outer support system: Build friendships with people who support who you really are, and utilize external resources to help you achieve your greatest potential (a holistic physician, nutritionist, fitness trainer, life coach, etc.).

    * Take financial control: Make a list of your monthly expenses and income. If you’re living beyond your means, you either need to alter your lifestyle or develop an action plan for earning the money you need to support it.

    * Do work that you love and at which you excel: The smaller the gap between who you are in your personal life and who you are at work, the happier you will be. Doing work that’s aligned with your strengths and passions makes going to work a joy, versus a daily source of frustration.

    * Create and live your ideal life: Write the book you always wanted to write, buy and create the home of your dreams, open your own business, interview for your dream job. Instead of waiting for someone else to provide the life conditions to which you aspire, identify and act upon the steps needed to bring them to fruition.

© 2009 Lauren Mackler all rights reserved

Coach Lauren Mackler is the author of the international bestseller Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness and Transform Your Life and host of the Life Keys radio show on hayhouse.com. Visit Lauren’s web site at www.laurenmackler.com.


How to be alone

I was once told that aloneness is not  the same thing as loneliness. That I should learn to embrace aloneness.

I saw this today and that made me think about this again.

“The worker who sleeps with BlackBerry within touching distance, the girl sitting alone in the cafe but texting furiously while waiting for a friend, the woman on the bus on her mobile telling a friend that the test was negative for chlamydia, the solo traveller who Skypes home most nights from the hostel in Borneo, and the TV personality who tells you via Twitter that right now he is running a bath.

These are all symptoms of the death of our ability to be alone

We are not just relinquishing our alone time, but we are gleefully sacrificing it, and doing so for multiple data streams, and even so our employer can contact us around the clock. Is the 11pm call from the boss better than nothing, silence, being disconnected – and perhaps missing out?”


Then almost by coincidence this fell into one of my RSS feeds.


 If the image doesn’t show because Intent is being buggy, please click here to view.

This is my food for thought today.

No thank you.

I can’t find peace, balance, happiness or love. I love a man who reacts badly whenever I say so. He hasn’t contacted me in over three weeks. I miss him and still love him but it feels empty throwing it out there and getting the opposite in return. I’m crying. My life is so uncertain but today the uncertainty is dark. I don’t know what to do when my best isn’t good enough even for myself. I’d say I want to die but more accurately I’d like to know what a happy life is like first.

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