Finding Fulfillment in Life Alone
BY ANITA MARTIN
Life presents pivotal moments. These times offer second chances for many and a tune-up for others. When we are in the midst of these life-changing phases, we may struggle to see them as gifts. We can easily succumb to the confusion of transitions and find ourselves immobilized as a result. To me, the mistake during periods of adjustment is to miss an opportunity for personal growth.
Often, deeper relationships emerge once the turmoil of change has passed. Perhaps you have reassessed the relationships that add value to your life, chosen new ones, or left obligatory interactions behind. Life can become richer and more meaningful following loss. The loss to which I refer is not only the death of a loved one or the end of an important relationship, but also the loss resulting from any form of change.
Significant change, regardless of its origin, carries an element of grief. Grief and loss tend to intensify the difficulty of change. As fresh opportunities arrive, the value of past activities diminishes. This shift in importance is natural and creates space for growth. While many hope for positive change, we find the process and consequences rife with fear and uncertainty. This may be magnified when important relationships are lost.
In the aftermath of a lost partnership, those involved no longer focus on one another. Instead, they return to prioritizing their individuality. This time may be full of unknown, but for many, it’s a second chance to love, respect, and nurture oneself. It’s a time to explore unfulfilled dreams and pursue your heart’s desire. This is a time of discovery. Revisiting creative passions is an opportunity and gift. And, there are so many options for revitalization. What was left behind when you committed to a relationship, parenting, or both? Although being alone can be uncomfortable, you now have time to build self-knowledge, uncover hidden skills, and notice new perspectives. You can define personal values and understand the ways in which others influenced or defined who you were in the past. If you find yourself in the midst of facing life alone, a distinct freedom awaits as you find courage to rearrange and reprioritize your life.
So, what can you do to embrace this new openness? There are many ways to increase self-awareness and self-discovery. Therapy is one good option especially in combination with journal writing. You may want to record new experiences in your journal and then describe how you felt before, during, and after the activity. Repeat this exercise after meeting new people or when you reconnect with dormant passions. Give yourself time to explore the city in which you live. If you’ve never taken a painting class, sign up. Try yoga, photography, drawing, and more! You will meet new people and discover fun activities. What if you spent a rainy Sunday afternoon creating a vision board? Go through old magazines. Cut out pictures, words, and articles that you find inspiring. You may notice some old favorites as well as a few surprises. You are creating a picture of the life you want to live. While you are doing this, you’ll infuse your life with new energy and opportunities. And, one day you will find yourself living the life that belonged to you all along.