Alone, Not Lonely
This week, I've been pushing myself to go inward, to explore different thoughts as they arise. I've been trying toying with the idea that isolation isn't so bad. I've been purposefully spending time alone to listen to myself, to hear what God has to say (about everything), to shield my sensitivities, and to essentially know myself better. I've always been comfortable around a lot of people, coming from a big family and being involved in various social activities that require a lot of interpersonal interaction. I think a part of my gets energized by interacting with the right kind of people. I love getting hype, having fun with the fam and homies, and just general having a good time doing whatever I'm doing. But I've noticed in the last few years, I feel a stronger need to recharge after being around too many people. Sometimes I feel mentally drained, at times it's just physical tiredness, but most of all, my spirit needs balance after experiencing stimulation of any kind. I'm grateful for the ability to enjoy myself and have full experiences with other people, and I'm grateful for the freedom I have in my life right now to pull away when I need to refresh my mind and soul. I spent too much time trying to fill a void by going out, being around too many people unnecessarily, and doing things I didn't truly enjoy. Because I've already taken some large risks to achieve and maintain my freedom (quitting an unfulfilling job, leaving toxic relationships in the dust), it's easier to take smaller, less dramatic steps toward more personal and mental liberation.
Something that I love to do is go to coffee shops alone, to people watch, to try different drinks, to sit/read/draw/write, and to just BE. I love coffee shops because most of the time, there are other people there alone, so it's not like I stick out as a loner. I also love the sounds and smells of a coffee shop. Immersing myself into a full body experience of interesting people, the soundtrack of machines whirring and music playing, and the smell of fresh coffee/food helps me feel grounded and less isolated than just sitting alone in a room at home. Involving as many senses as possible while I'm doing anything solo helps me to stay in the present moment and to feel more comfortable with being on my own.
Just as the courage to cut ties with "stuff" that was excessive and/or toxic (too many clothes, too much junk) came from periods of struggle, the confidence to do things alone grew from not enough reciprocity and not substance in relationships. It was really awkward at first going places alone, especially right after college when everything is a group activity. But after being around energies that weren't aligned with my, I started to really embrace the value of self-preservation, isolating to recharge (not to run away), and giving myself space and time to heal from trauma and unmet expectations. It definitely takes humility to be alone in a world of followers, group think, pressure to "fit in", etc. This is something that I tell myself when I'm feeling anxious about doing something new or being alone in a room full of strangers: "No one's really checking for you, girl." I don't mean to sound like "no one cares" or like I'm asking for pity. I mean that people are usually engulfed in the narrative playing out in their own minds. Being paranoid or anxious about something seems really sill and pointless when you realize that you're not the center of the universe. And no stranger is more concerned about you than you should be about yourself. It's easy to get caught up in the idea that everyone is watching you, or the idea that you should be constantly seeking approval and "likes" from others, because of the sense of immediacy and the instant gratification of social media. But a better and healthier way to navigate theses feelings is by asking humble questions: "Do you like yourself? Do you like yourself enough to be comfortable alone? Do you like yourself enough to go on adventures that are purely just for you?"
I think I attribute this yearning for personal growth and freedom mostly to the need for meaningful and healthy relationships. I know I cannot pour into anything or anyone from an empty cup, so I intentionally nourish the most important relationships first: God/creator and self. I intentionally feed my spirit with experiences that will be a catalyst to my growth, instead of a deterrent. I intentionally face my feelings (both pleasurable and painful) and channel hurt and anxiety into something constructive for my day and my being in general. For me, it's writing or drawing -- something helps me find my "flow". For you, it may be reading or simply sitting and letting thoughts come and go. It's important that that we all find moments to really be yourself, by yourself, so you can cultivate your best self.
I hope you are encouraged to take moments of rejection, frustration, disappointment, sadness, and confusion, and see that as an opportunity to love yourself in the ways that others can't. See those negative emotions as a signal to push through, to persevere, and to create positive moments that overpower anything that attempts to get in your way. Be content in know that you have everything you need inside you to create a life of joy, peace, fulfillment, and abundance. Know that you are already whole, and anything positive that's external is just a bonus to the greatness that you already embody. Love yourself enough to know that you can do anything and everything that you want to do! Keep going and have a great rest of your week!!!