One of my goals this year is to work on spending time by myself and in turn get more in touch with who I am and most importantly, who I want to be. I posted about this on stories a few weeks ago and, to my surprise, received a ton of feedback from those of who are working on the same thing. It’s honestly been a journey even understanding how I got here and what I aim to accomplish.
It’s hard to know exactly where to start but I suppose i’ll just dive right in. I recently got out of a pretty intense 3 year relationship. I say intense because we did everything together. And when I wasn’t with him I was either a.) at work surrounded by clients and colleagues b.) with my roommates and friends or c.) at a networking event. Needless to say, I really never spent time alone. And to be honest, I got really comfortable with the fact that I always had distractions. I knew that once those distractions ended, I would have to face myself and my thoughts. And my world would probably do a 180. That is exactly what is happening right now. And guess what? It’s not as scary as I thought it would be, although I can’t say it hasn’t been challening.
I grew up loving my alone time. I would recharge by singing, drawing, painting, journaling, etc. I always kept busy by myself and I had a blast doing it. In my adult years, I really lost that because I was always “go, go go.” Couple that with having a significant other and suddenly I was always around people and didn’t have the space to recharge or look inward.
When we broke up, I wasn’t ready to face myself yet. I moved to a new apartment by myself because I knew I needed to be alone but wasn’t quite ready to actually do it. I packed my weeks with socially distanced dates, seeing my friends, family, FaceTime calls and overall unhealthy habits. As I started the New Year, I knew I needed to make this a focus of mine and that I didn’t always need to be “busy.” I now know it’s my down time and alone time that really makes me who I am. It’s where I experience my greatest growth and committing to that over the past month has been incredibly valuable.
Here are some things I have learned so far.
You have to set boundaries. It’s ok to say no to friends, trips, anything! Just be clear with those boundaries so they don’t come off as dismissive – I am guilty of this. The way I try and explain this to others, is that me setting boundaries is not selfish, it’s how I can show up for others as my best self.
Commit to putting your phone down. Some of the most successful people in the world say that meditation is the key to their internal growth. While I do practice meditation, it is still really hard for me and sometimes stressful (I know that’s not the point of mediation). So I have created my own form of meditation which involves me putting my phone down at night and taking time to draw, journal, read or even just dance (don’t worry I suck, I just like to pretend I’m on a stage!) It’s during these times that my head becomes really clear and I am able to just be with my thoughts. Sure, sometimes it’s hard to face my thoughts head on, but sweeping them under the rug for a later date can be equally damaging. I got used to just putting things off until I could get to a place where I felt strong enough to deal with them. Turns out if you do that for long enough, you just keep pushing off your own growth and never actually get to the point of feeling “strong enough.” The cycle just continues to repeat itself.
A follower (I am so sorry I can’t remember who!) DM’d something that really resonated with me. “Rediscover what used to bring you joy as a child and that will help you figure out how to make yourself happy without anyone else around.” I think this is incredibly actionable advice. For some, that could be playing video games or just spending time outside! It’s different for everyone!
I think the biggest hurdle with this goal is even being aware that it can be a goal. Going inward is hard. Honestly, sometimes it fucking sucks. But rediscovering who you are can help unleash your power aka those qualities that make you, you. Be patient with yourself. There are some days I just don’t want to “go there” and that’s ok. It’s knowing that I am even able to “go there” again which I am incredibly proud of.
Some people don’t need to do this and actually become their best self around others and that’s perfectly OK…it’s actually awesome. I wanted to write this because if it’s something you may have subconsciously thought, other people are thinking it too! So…be patient, be kind to yourself and go off and enjoy your own company. You may be surprised with just how much fun you have.
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