Americans now spend half of their adult lives outside of marriage, and fewer than half of all households consist of married couples. These are major shifts that have been brewing for decades, yet people’s attitudes about being alone have changed remarkably little during those years.

Aloneness is still associated with a variety of negative emotions. At the start of the Mastering the Art of Aloneness workshop, I ask participants what they think of when they hear the word “aloneness.” I hear the same responses over and over. “Lonely.” “Unwanted.” “Afraid.” It’s no surprise that people think of aloneness as a negative state to avoid rather than embrace. From early childhood, we’re conditioned to associate aloneness as something to pity, fear, or feel ashamed of.

Mastering the art of aloneness doesn’t mean foregoing the love and support of others. It means living a life in which you feel whole and happy; a life in which you can take care of yourself emotionally and financially. It involves reframing aloneness as an opportunity to develop the self-awareness, life skills, and emotional intelligence needed to live a full, gratifying life—whether you’re living it alone or with someone else.

As you embrace your aloneness and engage in new behaviors, you will create new results in every aspect of your life. Below are a few of many action steps you can take to strengthen your relationship with yourself and use the state of “aloneness” as an opportunity to develop greater self esteem, personal fulfillment, and financial security.

* Learn about and develop who you are: Imagine what life would be like if we all put as much energy into developing a healthy and loving relationship with ourselves as we do in our relationships with others. Personal development work (coaching, workshops, therapy, etc.) allows you to better understand your strengths and passions, the influences that have shaped who you’ve become, and to live your life by deliberation versus by default.

* Develop an inner support system: Deploy stress-reducing strategies such as getting enough sleep and exercise, meditating, scheduling leisure activities, extending compassion to yourself through supportive “self talk” (“great job!”, “you’re magnificent!”, etc.), and by maintaining a diet that supports your physical and emotional well-being.

* Develop an outer support system: Build friendships with people who support who you really are, and utilize external resources to help you achieve your greatest potential (a holistic physician, nutritionist, fitness trainer, life coach, etc.).

* Take financial control: Make a list of your monthly expenses and income. If you’re living beyond your means, you either need to alter your lifestyle or develop an action plan for earning the money you need to support it.

* Do work that you love and at which you excel: The smaller the gap between who you are in your personal life and who you are at work, the happier you will be. Doing work that’s aligned with your strengths and passions makes going to work a joy, versus a daily source of frustration.

* Create and live your ideal life: Write the book you always wanted to write, buy and create the home of your dreams, open your own business, interview for your dream job. Instead of waiting for someone else to provide the life conditions to which you aspire, identify and act upon the steps needed to bring them to fruition.

© 2009 Lauren Mackler all rights reserved

Coach Lauren Mackler is the author of the international bestseller Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness and Transform Your Life and host of the Life Keys radio show on Visit Lauren’s web site at

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