Deepak Chopra on Loneliness
Photo: Todd MacMillan
The state of loneliness can be crippling. Though the majority of people don’t find themselves consumed by it, they do feel its effects. Their inner worlds shrink and dry up. For others, the issue looms over them like a specter in the future rather than as present reality.

The only real answer to loneliness is to experience your own fullness. Then and only then can you be sure that you will not look inside one day to find holes, gaps, unanswered fears and a sense of lack. Here are steps that enable you to become true to yourself. They aren’t magic bullets, and I recognize that loneliness, like every other psychological state, has degrees of severity. But whether you look on being lonely as a mild or severe issue, the same solution applies. The three steps are given in no order of priority; consider adopting all of them.

Step 1: Have a Vision That You Devote Time to Every Day
Happiness experts often advise that the best way to have a happy life is to have a happy day. I’d modify this a little. The best way to have a happy life is to have a happy day that looks forward to tomorrow. The future is something you build toward, and the place where you build is inside yourself. Society offers a different image, telling us that we should work hard for 20 or 30 years, postponing fulfillment until the end. This makes little sense to me. Why wait for golden years on the chance that you will still be strong, optimistic and full of promise? It’s much easier to be that way now. Use your present energies to build your future in the following ways:
  1. Write down a single vision, project or mission.
  2. Set time aside every day to work on it.
  3. Make sure that work consists of doing research; making connections; investigating your target audience or market; learning from projects similar to yours; challenging your assumptions; writing a proposal; seeking a mentor, a partner, or a confidant to bounce your ideas off of; and raising capital if needed.
  4. Set interim deadlines that you can reasonably meet every month.
  5. Be adaptable about changing your project as it unfolds.
If you can commit yourself to these steps, you will experience the kind of optimism and vitality that builds over time. Vision is the same as long-range purpose, which is something everyone needs. Someone might counter that I am simply giving career advice. If you do the kind of work that can embrace a long-range vision, that’s great. Not everyone is an entrepreneur or a top executive, however. For most people, a personal vision is just that—personal. They want something bigger than themselves to become dedicated to. The arena may be community and family. Whatever you choose, make sure that you are finding fulfillment every step of the way. Your vision aims at self-expansion.

Next: How relationships reflect who you are inside

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