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Are You Lonely Or Just Alone?

Are You Lonely

“Instead of viewing aloneness as a shameful condition to cure, think of it as one of freedom and opportunity.”

– Lauren Mackler, Soulmate

Being alone is not the same as being lonely. Though some resist being alone, it doesn’t have to be that way. Solitude can prove to be valuable time for personal growth. I was single with three children for 16 years. I spent many times alone and was not lonely. The weekends when my children were with their father, I planned activities for myself. I also learned to accept and even enjoy solitude.

The question is, do you feel comfortable spending time with yourself?

I recently overheard a young woman say, “I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be in my own head,” as if it were a frightening thing to do.

Most women do not plan to remain single. Most plan to marry someday—or remarry someday soon. Since our world sets restaurant tables and sells concert tickets normally in pairs, it may seem awkward to be alone.

In my new book, Living Learning Loving, I state, “If you feel uncomfortable with solitude, you can take it one small bite at a time. It might be easier to start enjoying solitude by going to the mall, taking a walk, or eating in the park alone, rather than going away (alone) for a long weekend. If you can, or do, take a weekend to yourself use this time deliberately. Consider taking a notepad with you to write down thoughts and feelings that come to the surface. You may be surprised what you learn. You may even get a much-needed break from the chaos of your life.”

Solitude is a good thing. It restores and can even be liberating. Here are a few ideas for the next chance you have to spend time with that special someone—yourself:

  • Treat yourself to your favorite food.
  • Take a bubble bath by candlelight.
  • Read in your pajamas all Saturday morning.
  • Pretend that you don’t have a million responsibilities for an hour.
  • Window shop and don’t buy a thing.
  • Drive to a nearby park or a shop that you’ve never been to.
  • Set goals for the next month, six months, and one year.

If your children are never away, I encourage you to carve out time for yourself. You might use the time just after they are in bed or before they get up in the morning.

Single parenting doesn’t allow much time to yourself. When you have a chance, make the most of it. Solitude can be rejuvenating. To rejuvenate means to make somebody young again. Other words for rejuvenate are: invigorate, revive, refresh, renew, and restore. Most single mothers I know need to be rejuvenated.

That is why it is part of the SMORE ministry name which is an acronym for Single Moms :: Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, and Empowered. Mothering alone can take the wind out of your sails if you’re not careful. Single mom burnout is all too common. To prevent this … rejuvenate, revive, and restore with time alone.

About Gail Showalter

Gail raised three children as a single mother for sixteen years before she married Sam. She was an educator in regular and special education for eighteen years, finishing her professional career as a Braille teacher. In 2007 She founded SMORE for Women - a nonprofit association whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, & Empowered. She is a certified Women’s Transition Coach and her stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. She released her first book Living Learning Loving in 2015.
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