A Psychologist Explains The Real Reason You’re Lonely & How To Love Being Alone

With the challenge of social distancing, many people now have to spend time alone, and many are having problems with it. We are social beings, and we are meant to connect with each other both physically and emotionally, so of course it’s very challenging for many, especially extroverts, to be alone.

Yet it’s vitally important for all of us to be able to be alone with ourselves and still feel peaceful and full within.

The true secret to beating loneliness.

While connection with others is very important, even more important is connection with ourselves—our soul—and with our higher power. It’s this inner connection that takes away the inner feeling of loneliness and emptiness. In fact, without this inner connection, even connecting with others can leave you feeling alone and empty, which is one reason people turn to addictions such as food, alcohol, drugs, TV, social media, and so on.

Self-abandonment is the true source of feelings of loneliness and emptiness. It happens when you ignore your feelings, judge yourself, numb with various addictions, or hope someone else will take responsibility for your feelings. When you focus on truly connecting with yourself rather than abandoning yourself, you might discover that you actually enjoy being alone.

Sometimes people feel this inner connection with meditation, yet often when they are done meditating, they again feel the alone and empty feeling of inner disconnection. With social distancing, it’s important to be able to maintain your inner and spiritual connection all day.

How to create your inner connection.

You can do this at any time. You don’t need to be sitting in meditation or doing nothing to start practicing inner connection.

1. Tune into your feelings.

Take some deep breathes and shift your focus from your mind and into your body. Get present in your body and scan your body, noticing any tension, tightness, numbness, emptiness or fluttering anywhere. Breathe into these feelings.

Instead of trying to avoid any of your difficult feelings, move toward them, imagining that they are your inner child–your feeling soul self—communicating with you through feelings. Feelings other than peace and fullness inside–such as anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, or emptiness—are the way your soul lets you know that you are abandoning yourself.

2. Recognize the ways you are abandoning yourself.

Ask yourself what you’re telling yourself and how you are treating yourself—how you are abandoning yourself. What self-abandoning actions or beliefs do you have that are causing you to feel disconnected from yourself? Allow the answers to come from within—from the less-than-peaceful feelings.

3. Visualize your higher self.

Once you understand what you are doing to self-abandon, visualize your higher power or an older, wiser aspect of yourself, your higher self. Ask, “What would be loving to me right now?” Open and listen for the answer.

The answer might not come immediately, but if you stay open, the answer will come. Spirit is always here guiding us in our highest good, and opening to learning with your higher guidance will eventually let you know that you are never alone—that you are always being guided toward your highest good.

This is so helpful in learning to love being alone.

4. Take the actions guided by spirit.

This might mean starting to do something creative: writing, drawing, inventing. It might mean listening to beautiful music. It might mean going out in nature, if you can do so safely. It might mean catching up on work. It might mean playing with a pet, or even getting a pet. It might mean reaching out virtually to connect with loved ones or help someone else. It might mean looking to what we’re eating to see how we can better support our immune system.

There is much to learn about what is loving to you, and what better time to learn it than now? You will also find that the more you learn to connect with yourself and your higher guidance, the more you will find joy in connecting with others virtually. This is because, instead of trying to get your emptiness filled, you are already filled with love and can receive great joy from sharing your love with others.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

The 28 Most Important Questions to Ask Before Getting Married

It’s a wonderful feeling to be in a deeply committed relationship, whether that means you’re married, engaged (congrats!) or simply in a solid forever partnership. But with deep dedication comes a great responsibility to make sure you’ve talked about the most important questions to ask before marriage—even when it’s tough.

After all, “learning how to ask hard questions is not something that ends after you get married,” says Michelle Joy, MFT, co-owner and co-instructor (along with her husband) of Marriage Prep 101, a workshop designed for engaged, newlywed and seriously dating couples. “Asking your partner difficult questions even when you disagree or are afraid of their answer is important to keep emotional intimacy alive. Being comfortable with this before the ‘I dos’ sets the trajectory for continuing this open communication in your marriage.”

As for what you should be asking? Let’s start with these questions.

Where do you stand on kids?

“Many partners have values or assumptions that point to one partner staying home with the children, however, more and more I am seeing that both partners really desire to stay connected with their careers—even if it’s just part-time—after children are born,” says Joy. “Having that expectation discussed beforehand is important.”

1. Are we having kids? If so, how many?

2. How soon after marrying do you want to start a family?

3. What is our plan if we have trouble conceiving?

4. After we have children, do you plan to work?

What should I know about your upbringing?

“For example, if there was a lot of yelling,” says Joy,“then either the partner believes that yelling is normal and thinks nothing of it when they yell, or on the contrary, yelling may scare them. Asking about your partner’s parents can give you an enormous amount of information about their sensitivities and perspectives about communication and conflict resolution.”

5. Did your parents ever disagree in front of you?

6. How did your parents resolve conflicts?

7. How did your parents show love?

8. Were your folks emotionally available to you?

9. How did your parents deal with anger?

How will we approach money?

According to Rachel DeAlto, Match’s chief dating expert and relationship coach, this is a tricky conversation that can definitely bring up feelings of insecurity and awkwardness. But it’s hugely necessary in terms of mapping out your life and deciding how to intermingle your dollars (and debt). “The important thing is to be transparent, because not disclosing financial issues could cause a huge problem down the road,” DeAlto says. “People talk about everything but money.”

10. Do you have any debt or any savings?

11. What’s your credit score?

12. Are we going to buy a house at some point?

13. Should we discuss purchases over a certain amount before buying?

14. Will we have joint accounts?

15. What’s our plan if one of us loses their job?

16. What are our savings goals and what will they go toward?

17. How will we split expenses?

And how about religion?

“In an ideal situation, it’s OK for each partner to have different beliefs but neither is expected to conform to a religion that’s not theirs,” DeAlto says. “If they support your faith from afar, and if you’re OK with attending services on your own, it’s perfectly normal to not expect them to physically show up for you.”

18. How would you describe your beliefs?

19. Do you expect me to join you in group religious services?

20. Do you envision our whole family attending every week or on holidays?

21. Are there any rituals you’d like to adhere to at home?

22. Will our kids be raised religiously?

23. Will we have a religious marriage ceremony?

How do you show and accept love?

“We always want to be sure that emotional resources are not only being given to our partner, but that we are receiving them as well,” says Joy. “For instance, are you able to receive affection but it feels awkward for you to give it back? It’s possible that your partner’s definition of affection differs from yours. Ask them what affection, dedication or commitment means to them and how they plan on demonstrating those qualities in your marriage.”

24. How much affection do you need from me to be happy?

25. Do you expect us to always be monogamous?

26. What does showing love mean to you?

27. Are you willing to see a marriage counselor with me?

28. What do you need to feel appreciated?

If you’re met with resistance when broaching any of these points, remind your partner that you’re in your relationship for the long haul and talking things out will only make you closer.

“If someone doesn’t want to have these conversations, I kind of want to shake them—gently—and remind them that this is a huge step and talking is intended to benefit both of you,” says DeAlto. After all, “When you have mortgages, job issues and kids, all of these things make life more complicated.” In other words, do it now.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

How Involved Should Our Friends and Family Be In Our Dating Lives?

I think we’ve all experienced a time in our lives when we dated, or even married a person that our friends and family were less than happy with.

But when the people in our lives don’t like the people we’ve chosen to date or with whom to be in a relationship, what does that do to our decision making process? Does it have some effect on us?

We all sometimes think that the decisions we make belong only to us. But in reality, our romantic connections are connected to our close friends and family lives.

Our romantic lives, and the choices we make are improved when our friends and family approve of that person. There have been times I’ve seen that if my friends and family don’t like her, that relationship can begin to deteriorate.

Many times, the approval of our friends and family members in regard to our romantic decisions, actually enhance our chances for success. If your friends and family like your current choice for a potential mate, you may actually have a more committed and sustaining relationship with that person.

This works across all types of relationships. It transcends race, same sex, religious beliefs, age gap and even national origin.

For the most part, we care about how our friends and family feel about our romantic relationships, and our perceptions of their approval or disapproval can influence how we feel about the relationship itself.

Many years ago, one of my sisters was in a relationship with a man the family sort of didn’t approve of. She has a strong sense of identity, and has always been fierce in her beliefs and her choices in life. She’s always been an independent thinker, and didn’t care what others thought of her decisions. She wasn’t affected by her family’s approval or disapproval of her romantic relationships. Sometimes we actually thought that she liked to do the opposite of what we expected her to do. (“She’s just being contrary.” my mother used to say) She remained in a committed relationship even when friends and family disapproved. The marriage worked, and we eventually grew to love him, but it was only after he proved he was industrious and became more ‘like us’ that we approved of him.

This is more of an anomaly than how things usually work out, but it bears mentioning. Most times, these types of relationships crumble under the stresses of life because they’re not a match. There’s a reason your friends and family don’t approve. But when you’re in love with someone, you don’t always see what’s obviously clear to those around you who truly care for you. (Notice how we only accepted him after he fell in line with our lifestyle and value system?)

The people we choose to spend our days and nights with aren’t really exclusive. Our friends and family’s feelings about our romantic partners can influence how we feel about our relationships. We feel more connected to partners to the extent that others approve of them, and less connected to the extent that they don’t. 

However, our personal characteristics, the ways of viewing the world around us that we inherently carry with us… can alter the extent to which our feelings for our partners are influenced by the approval of others.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly