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August 17, 2015

Still Alone, But Getting Better At It

My dear friends from LA, Caroline + Jayden, just left after spending four days with Molly Thomas and me. We are working on a little labor of love (more on this soon!) so the whole weekend was like college finals, complete with a steady diet of coffee/wine/takeout, but far more fun. The house is now empty, and I’m sad. I knew this was coming and tried to ward it off by keeping busy with my Monday to-do list, but, like my mother, I live for hosting a house full of people. After my divorce, loneliness was the biggest emotional challenge. There’s something about knowing that if you WANTED to talk to someone you could. If you needed a partner-in-crime to go to Home Depot or out to dinner, you had one built in. Living alone has forced met to reach out to friends and family when I need them, and not wait for an invitation—an act of vulnerability that has produced even more connectedness and intimacy in my relationships than I thought possible. I now rarely feel lonely because I have the most amazing support system. And I’ve accepted the fact that I am an extrovert. I have needs and it’s okay if one of them is other human beings. I remembered a study from Science that shows that people would rather give themselves electric shocks than be alone with their thoughts for just 15 minutes. To think that I used to be in that camp! That said, I can’t and shouldn’t be on the phone, texting or emailing constantly to get my fix. I still need to be okay by myself, alone in an empty house. That’s the final hurdle. If I can enjoy my own company without needing external validation I’ll know I’ve made serious progress in the self-love department. I’m getting there. I look forward to reading and meditating and just BEING. If my alone time were taken away I would definitely feel the effects on my spirit and psyche. Now, when the loneliness creeps, in I ask myself what’s really at the root of it. Usually the answer lies with judgement: beating myself up for being alone, as if that’s something to be ashamed of, or retreating into a downward cycle of self-doubt when left alone with my ego. And so I try to take the opportunity to examine what’s giving me anxiety instead of being so hard on myself for feeling anxious. My god it’s a twisted, vicious cycle but, as with all the things, I’m working on it!

  • Elizabeth Dehn
    Born and raised in Minnesota by surprisingly low-maintenance parents, beauty writer and lifestyle editor Elizabeth Dehn (aka Bets) spent her awkward years buying Mood lipstick and whipping up DIY face masks before founding Beauty Bets in 2009.
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