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All By Myself...Learning to Live with (and Love) Yourself

When we live alone, we begin to learn more acutely the meaning of the phrase, "Wherever you go, there you are," because suddenly, we are with ourselves and our nervous systems 24/7...which also means we're with our thoughts, emotions and triggers. No longer are we in an environment where we are normally reacting to and responding to others or their behaviors, now, in our own space, we are at choice around when and how we connect.

This can create feelings of, "Wahooo! I've got my own place and I make all my own rules! I'm gonna eat chocolate cereal every DAY!" to, "Gosh, it's awfully quiet in here...Wait, what was that? Have I watched too much Law & Order: SVU?" So, if you find yourself at both ends of the spectrum you're normal.

The goal of the healing journey is to learn the balance of finding safety with ourselves and safety with others, which is in effect, secure attachment. What do you think your attachment style is and how do you think you can use behavioral changes to evolve and shift yours? The first step is observation and awareness.

How can we observe our attachment styles living alone?

You may think that you will have less chances of observing your attachment style when you are alone, but actually, you may have more opportunities than ever because you will be spending a lot more time with yourself.

Don't know exactly what I mean by attachment style? Think about your attachment style as how you bond. Do you move closer and pursue bonding and connecting with others, or do you move away? Are relationships easy or hard? Does it feel good navigating the spectrum of aloneness and partnership?

If you pursue bonding from a place of unworthiness, lack of grounded-ness, or anxiety, you likely have an anxious attachment. If you prefer to move away from connection because it feels claustrophobic, shame-triggering and exhausting, then you may have some avoidant flavor in your attachment style. And if you find yourself going back and forth between finding it difficult to feel safe and calm alone, or relaxed and secure around others, you've likely got the gift of a disorganized attachment style. This means the way you attached was not organized toward one strategy or another, your nervous system adapted to many different challenges and navigated chaos to find the safest place to be in the moment...which may have been close to others, or as far away as you could get.

If you resonate with any of these, again, you are normal.

Here are a few ways you can observe and get curious about your attachment style:

1) Look at how you feel when people come over to your home. Do you feel a sense of relief and happy to have the company? Or do you feel yourself bristle a little and worry about being judged or having your space invaded?

2) When your visitor(s) leaves, do you let out a sigh of relief or do you feel sad and anxious?

3) Look at how you interact with your material belongings. Are there certain things you feel very attached to? Like if you dropped your favorite mug, would it trigger deep feelings of loss? Remember that we attach to everything, so it's interesting to take note of how you interact with inanimate objects as well as humans or animals.

4) Do you go out or reach out when you feel lonely? Or do you prefer to spend lots of time alone and ignore opportunities for socializing? Do these come from healthy places or avoiding certain feelings?

Remember, attachment theory is a theory and it's one that is interesting to really look at and explore. My own theory is that each human has experienced each attachment style in some way because all of the types are based off of two main attachment fears and trauma, which are very human experiences: Fear of Abandonment (death due to abandonment) and Fear of Enmeshment (or ego death due to the loss of individuation).

Most people know what it's like to feel safe with someone or something, like how Secure types feel...that can be an animal, feeling safe with themselves, or having a friend or even grandparent that they felt really safe around. People also know what it's like to fear losing someone and being alone in the world, how Anxious types are often oriented. We're also no stranger to fearing that someone will get too close and disrespect our boundaries and sense of autonomy and identity, like Avoidants. And lastly, we all know what it's like to fear being physically harmed by another human, which is like the Fearful Avoidant type.

No matter where you find yourself now, what will help most is finding love, acceptance, compassion and curiosity for all of the feelings coming up now as you embark on this new journey with yourself. Every day is a new day to pursue yourself, learn more about who you are, who you'd like to become and how you can enjoy (and have as much fun as possible) on the path to your evolution.

If you'd like tips on how to make living alone more satisfying, Anna de Guzman from RedFin (a real estate company) has written an excellent article called, Living Alone in an Apartment? Top Tips for How to Thrive on Your Own, and has featured a quote from yours truly in it...enjoy!!

Living Alone in an Apartment? Top Tips for How to Thrive on Your Own


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