“Am I really prepared to live life alone?”

This question was posed to me by a woman expressing concerns about her singleness. As I think about this question, another question comes to mind…”what’s so bad about living alone with you?” What comes up when you think about life without a romantic relationship? What used to come up for me was loneliness and fear. No matter what feelings may surface, many singles believe that being in a relationship is better than being single. As a result, we get into relationships with people to distract us from the underlying feeling of not wanting to be alone. 

Now, let me say this…there’s nothing wrong with desiring companionship. I believe that God created us to connect with other people. However, when we crave relationship simply because we don’t want to be alone with ourselves, that may be pointing to a deeper issue. What is it about you that you don’t want to be alone with? What are you looking for a companion to give you?

Let’s look at it this way…how would feel if a guy you loved told you, “you know what, I’m only with you because I haven’t found what I’m looking for. You’re cool and everything, but I don’t really want to be with you forever.” If you’re honest, that would be really painful right? Well that’s essentially what you’re saying to yourself when you say you’d rather be in a relationship than be alone with you. You’re saying being with someone else is better than being with you. 

So what’s the solution? Become a safe space for YOU so that whether you’re in a relationship or not, you’re good. How? I’ll share what’s working for me…

1. Figure out what you don’t like about you. 

I had to go to counseling to figure this out. When I started going to counseling I realized that I was carrying a lot of hatred towards myself. I didn’t like how I looked or the unhealthy decisions I made in the past. I was filled with guilt, shame, and judgment about things I had done and criticized myself about EVERYTHING. Nothing was ever good enough. So I couldn’t tolerate being alone with me because only negativity about me would surface. Who wants to be around someone like that? Talking about how I feel in an environment where I wouldn’t be judged or condemned modeled acceptance for me. It showed me that who I am is okay and that I’m not the horrible person I thought I was. It helped me understand what emotions and life experiences contributed to my life choices and provided a sense of normalcy for me.

2. Give yourself permission to feel and express emotions. 

For a long time I didn’t allow myself to show emotions. I didn’t like to cry or experience sadness or what I considered to be negative emotions. I saw expressing emotions as a sign of weakness, so I felt I needed to “suck it up and get it together.” When I felt something wasn’t right I would ignore or deny it and keep on moving. However, I’m learning that emotions are normal and need to be felt and expressed. Emotions are indicators of something deeper that may be going on. It’s like the “check engine” light in the car. So instead of avoiding the sadness, discouragement, hurt, or pain I feel, I now give myself permission to experience it. I sit in the emotion and let myself cry and talk or write it out. Afterwards I feel relief and release. Relief in acknowledging the truth and release of carrying burdens. I also allow myself to experience pleasant emotions like happiness, excitement, and love. It’s important to feel those too.

3. Offer kindness, love and acceptance to yourself regularly. 

I started with baby steps. In times when I would normally criticize myself, I would say “It’s okay Shavon, it’s okay.” Those simple words to myself were soothing and created a greater capacity to be with me. I practiced that over and over and now I feel more connected, loving, and accepting of me. I’m more intentional about caring for me and providing myself with what I need. A beautiful love relationship with me is blossoming and it’s wonderful!

These are just some of the things that have helped create a safe space for me. What will work for you?

~Shavon Carter, the “You” Relationship Coach 

Let me partner with you in creating a safe space for YOU. I would love to schedule a free coaching session with you to begin this beautiful journey. Contact me today at scarter@walkinginwholenessllc.com and let’s get started!

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“Is something wrong with me?”

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I’ve asked myself that on many occasions and what comes up is a tarnished view of myself as I run down a list of my “wrongs.” That list says….I’m divorced. I’ve had two abortions. I have a sexual past. I’m skinny. I’m dark-skinned. I wear glasses. My hair is kinky, not straight. The list goes on… As I type this out I can see that those thoughts are absolutely FALSE because I’m an amazing and beautiful black woman. However, when I’m in those negative moments, I let my emotions feed off the lies. So what’s the “Is something wrong with me?” question really all about? It’s rooted in how we see ourselves. Let me explain…

If I’m a single woman who is asking “is something wrong with me?” simply because someone hasn’t decided to be in a romantic relationship with me, I’m pointing to a belief about myself that may have been lying dormant all along. If I were in a relationship, it may show up in another form, like “Am I pretty enough for him to stay?” or “What if he finds someone better than me?” So in the end, it’s not really about being “chosen” by a man. It’s about what I believe about me. Make sense? So if I’m a single woman who subconsciously doesn’t believe that I’m enough in some way, then I will subconsciously look for others to provide what I don’t believe about myself. As a result, I begin to crave validation and attention from men to make me feel like I’m worthy and valuable, because I don’t really believe it for myself.

Many of us single women get trapped in this way of thinking and don’t realize it. So how do we break this cycle? Well, it starts with being aware of where we are. It’s time for us to know that it’s okay to not have it all together. Let’s be real and acknowledge that we have insecurities, need to be validated, need to be paid attention to, etc. It’s perfectly okay to have emotional needs. The question is, how do we get our emotional needs met in a healthy way? When I say healthy, I mean a balance between offering what we need to ourselves and getting it from others; Engaging interdependent relationships rather than co-dependency. So basically, I’m not solely relying on someone else to give me what I need. I’m starting with giving it to myself first.

So what are some ways to break up the “Is something wrong with me?” belief? Here are a few suggestions that have been helpful for me:

  • Create a list of the amazing things about you, beginning with “I am…” (i.e. I am beautiful, I am intelligent)
  • Look at yourself in the mirror and speak affirming things (i.e. “I love you”)
  • Pray and read scriptures in the Bible that affirm who you are (i.e. Psalm 139)
  • Participate in activities where you get to serve others and use your gifts and talents (i.e. volunteer in the community, serve on a ministry at church)
  • Give yourself permission to have sad moments and cry
  • Process your emotions with a therapist (I recommend therapy for everybody. Lol)
  • Vent and seek encouragement from close friends and family
  • Hire a life coach to help you see yourself as the awesome person you are (my life coaches have been amazing!)

This list is just a start and I’m sure you can add more. Being single doesn’t mean you’re going to like it every single day. Allow yourself to have your moments, get the support you need, then make a choice to continue enjoying your life where you are. Most of all, please embrace that there’s nothing wrong with you! ~Shavon Carter, the “You” Relationship Coach

Let me partner with you in getting the results you want for your life. Contact me today to sign up for a free sample coaching session at scarter@walkinginwholenessllc.com