As someone that’s written about dating for several years, I can tell you first-hand that one of the problems people have is wanting to be with someone just so that they don’t have to be alone. The problem with this thinking is that desperation helps attract the wrong people to you. It’s not romantic relationships where this occurs. That’s one reason I enjoyed Lauren Mackler’s book Solemate so much. In this interview, Lauren talks about the art of aloneness, books, and writing.
I really enjoyed your book, Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness and Transform Your Life. Why did you decide to write this book?
I wrote Solemate for a few reasons reasons. First, to help people reframe aloneness as a positive state to embrace, instead of as a negative condition to avoid, fear, or pity. Nearly half of all U.S. adults are unmarried. Yet despite these numbers, attitudes have changed remarkably little. There’s still a mindset that if you’re single, there must be something wrong with you. There are many opportunities in being single, such as time to learn about and develop who you are, develop greater self-esteem and self-sufficiency, and live life on your own terms. I wanted to send the message that instead of waiting for someone to come along and make your real life begin, it’s a lot more gratifying to learn how to make your own life happen.
The second reason I wrote Solemate was to highlight how important your relationship is with your self. If people devoted even half the energy they expend on their relationships with others on developing a strong, healthy relationship with themselves, not only would they share healthier relationships with others, but they would become happier and more content in their own skin.
Lastly, I wanted to provide people with practical life skills that we all need, but that most of us never learned. These include things like how to communicate effectively, manage fear, and live more deliberately to align your behaviors and actions with the results you want to achieve.
What kind of response have you received from people?
The responses to Solemate have been pretty powerful. It seems to be striking a chord with a lot of people—it became an international bestseller 8 days after it was released. People seem to find it especially helpful in connecting the dots between the challenges they face in their adult lives, and the patterns they learned when they were very little in their life conditioning.
I like the fact that you talk about physical health as well as emotional strength. How does taking care of yourself physically relate to the art of aloneness?
I often say to people that the one person you’re with 24/7 from the moment you were born until you draw your last breath—the one person you can never get away from—is you. Practicing good self-care—physically, emotionally, and mentally—is foundational to developing a strong relationship with yourself and in building the inner resources you need to live a joyful and fulfilling life.
What’s the most difficult aspect people seem to struggle with when it comes to the art of aloneness?
Fear and loneliness are the top two things people seem to have the hardest time with. They play all kinds of gloom and doom movies in their heads which are usually at the root of their feelings of fear and loneliness.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
That’s a tough question, as there are so many! My favorite books are memoirs. I love reading about people overcoming adversity. Books like The Glass Castle: A Memoir and Running with Scissors: A Memoir are fascinating reads.
For fiction I enjoy Jhumpa Lahiri, Wally Lamb, and Olive Kitteridge. I love beautifully written books that tell moving stories about people’s lives. For non-fiction I’ve recently read Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles and Joan Borysenko’s new book, It’s Not the End of the World: Developing Resilience in Times of Change.
Book you’re currently reading?
I’m currently reading The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.
Let’s talk about writer’s block. Do you believe in it? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?
Well, Solemate was my first full book—I wrote a chapter in a previous publication—but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed writing it and it flowed easily. I think people get blocked when they become insecure or worry that what they write won’t be good enough. If you believe that you’re just a conduit for information that can be helpful or moving to others, that helps to take you and your ego out of the equation!
In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?
When you write something from the heart that informs, helps, inspires, entertains, or deeply moves people.
Do you have any advice specific to writers?
I think it would be what I said before—take your ego out of it and let what’s coming through you be expressed without worrying that you’ll fail or be rejected. The more relaxed you are when you write, the more receptive you can be.
Where can we learn more about you?
I have a web site: www.laurenmackler.com, a blog: liveboldly.laurenmackler.com, and a weekly radio show on hayhouse.com called Life Keys that people can tune into. I also have a host of upcoming live workshops and other events that people can find out about on my web site.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for the opportunity to connect with your readers!