The One Relationship That Lasts Forever

In my book, The List Method, I dedicated an entire chapter to loneliness. After all, it's the single biggest reason why people are looking for love; unfortunately, it is also the single biggest reason why they'll never find it.


We think of loneliness as a feeling in response to an external condition - someone is missing in your life. And if you could only find that someone, then you would no longer have to experience that agonizing, skin-crawling feeling. Surprisingly, though, loneliness has nothing whatsoever to do with other people. Instead, loneliness is a response to an inner state of being; therefore, nothing from the outside can ever fix it.

Loneliness isn't about what you're not getting from someone else; instead, it is what you are withholding from yourself. In fact, here's a valuable hint: whatever you most dream about getting from a relationship, be it loving attention, affection, companionship, fun, respect, admiration, caring, or pampering, those are the very things you habitually deny yourself. (That's why you miss them so much!) Loneliness is a feeling of neglect, your own neglect of yourself in the areas where you feel it most.

In psychiatry, it's called having an external locus. It means you are not present in your body and, in fact, have only a superficial awareness of your own presence. You're unaware of your own presence and power because you're so used to giving it away to others. Somewhere deep in your subconscious, you believe that your happiness rests only in the hands of others. In fact, your focus is rarely on yourself at all, if ever.

You groom and dress not to please yourself but to make yourself more attractive (or at least more acceptable) to others. Your hobbies and activities are less an expression of your interests or enjoyments but rather a distraction from yourself. Your television has to be on because you need the noise to divert you from your circular thinking. You're obsessed with the political climate because it keeps you away from your thoughts about your own life. You exhaust yourself, keeping yourself as busy as possible so that you don't have to feel the terrible emptiness inside.

Lonely people habitually put themselves last. Since they do not know the sense of being present with themselves, they effectively invalidate themselves. The needs of others automatically take precedence. Another 's time is always more important. The opinions of others count more than your own. The happiness of others is, for some reason, much more significant than your own. It's as if you're perpetually holding the door open for someone, saying, “No, no! Please! You first!”

All this self-negation comes at a price. You may believe you're being polite, loving, and giving, but in reality, you're just being neglectful - of yourself! You're being "selfless" but not in a good way because you're making yourself less. Meaning you don't carry any value in the equation, so it's no wonder you're left feeling bereft and empty.

Of course, you're hoping to find someone who is equally selfless and who will magically make up the deficit in you. Sadly, that's not how it works. A relationship consists of giving and receiving, much like breathing consists of inhalation and exhalation. If only one or the other is present, there will soon be trouble! If you only inhaled, your lungs would explode; if you only exhaled, you would quickly pass out from lack of oxygen. In the same way, you will soon feel depleted if you do all the giving in a relationship. If you do not allow yourself to receive, you will perpetually feel a lack of fulfillment, loneliness, and a sense of need.

During the pandemic, many people were forced to work from home, and scores of individuals barely bothered to get out of their pajamas. God forbid, they might have put on a little makeup or maybe even some jewelry. “For myself? Why bother?” Oftentimes, people attended Zoom conferences, but they only dressed the parts that would show on camera. The point is that self-care went straight out the window without an audience and without other people for whom to dress. Hint: It's not SELF-care when you're doing it because of others!

With television studios closed, news anchors often broadcast from their homes. One reporter dressed very professionally in a shirt and tie from the waist up, but he wasn't careful enough about his camera angle from the waist down, resulting in his tidy whities showing on national television! The absence of self-care was so ubiquitous that wearing nothing but pajamas and sweats became the norm. A friend of mine didn't wash her hair for six weeks because “nobody” was going to see her anyway. She couldn't wait for the world to open up so she could start seeing people again. She was drowning in her isolation because, without others for whom to dress, indeed, for whom to exist, she literally felt like “nobody.” All this sharply points to the reason for our society's rampant epidemic of loneliness. Lack of self-care is the primary benchmark of loneliness.

When you can't even bother to wash your face, take a shower, or dress for yourself, it says that as far as you're concerned, you're not worth the bother. And if you can't be bothered with yourself, how, on god's green earth, can you expect someone else to bother with you? Your own mindset wouldn't allow it because you would not feel worthy enough to receive someone else's love.


If ever you're feeling lonely, and you sense there's someone missing in your life - there really is! The one who is missing is YOU! It tells you that you need to start practicing more self-care immediately. Start treating yourself the way you wish someone else would treat you - in other words, give yourself the time of day! Start keeping a daily journal. I promise you; your thoughts are worth listening to! Find a meditation technique that appeals to you. Your soul has things it wants to tell you! Thoughts, feelings, and circumstances come and go, but you alone remain.

If you harbor a secret longing of one day finding the partner of your dreams, your soulmate, then you must start practicing now. Thich Nhat Hanh said, “The best way to take care of the future is to take care of yourself in the present moment.” The relationship with yourself is the one relationship you'll have forever. Make sure it is a good one!

Kind regards,



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