If our thoughts determine how we feel, then what happens if we think depressing thoughts? Well, we make ourselves feel worse, and we may sink deeper into depression. We can literally torture ourselves with our thoughts.
There are some situations that we really cannot do anything about. Bad things do happen. If we dwell on the unfairness of the world, or the fact that others are not really there for us, we feel sad and lonely. Then, if we imagine that everyone else is blissfully happy, having the perfect existence, then that is like pouring salt on the wound.
It is hard to adjust to change, but we live in a changing world, and things will not stay the same. Children do grow up and leave home, people do die, relationships end, illness happens, and for most people there is always some concern about finances. We have to strengthen ourselves, and like a little ship on a stormy ocean, we may experience rough seas, but we can still stay afloat. We can always work towards moving to sunnier shores.
When we are sad, there is a tendency to focus on all that is missing from our lives. But we could begin to think of life in a different way. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. wrote in one of his books, “Life is a collection of moments strung together in a beautifully random order.” What if we imagined all of the good moments in our lives as beautiful, sparkling beads? The times in between could be the string that holds them all together. Even if the string had only one bright, sparkling stone, it would still be beautiful.
But most of us can think of more than one good moment. And we know that there will be more to come. It is when we forget about the good things, and see only emptiness and pain that we get discouraged. Even if you feel all alone, you can still enjoy life. You can do good things for yourself, you can immerse yourself in a good book or beautiful music, and you can connect with your own soul. That is the best friend you’ll ever have anyway. Our inner world is even more expansive than the outer world, and few ever really explore it. Maybe that is what solitude is for.
We don’t have to fear being alone, and we can even learn to celebrate those times when we get to spend uninterrupted time with ourselves. And if there seems to be a long stretch of that time, perhaps the Universe is asking us to learn about ourselves, before moving on. A kind of cosmic time-out. A time when we can imagine the rest of our lives as a blank slate, on which we can create whatever we would like.
The key is remembering that we do create our lives. If we don’t like what is, then we can aim to create something better. But first we must know who we are, and what it is that we want. Solitude is an ideal opportunity to reflect on that.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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