When was the last time you were truly alone with yourself? Do you find yourself needing to be in contact with someone all the time? Are you already scoping out a new love interest?
Or do you instead, find you need to fill the emptiness with music, books, movies, social media, YouTube… ANYthing but just sitting with your thoughts? It could be that you are procrastinating, avoiding an uncomfortable task but what if you were putting off being in solitude.
If you are an introvert, like me, I find watching TV or movies a way of consoling myself. In limited amounts that’s fine. But when you find yourself bingeing on multiple episodes of Downton Abbey, face it, you are avoiding something, and perhaps that something is being alone.
My daughters might be found always plugged into their favorite tunes or rewatching vampire dramas. My ex used to sit by the hour watching YouTube videos.
For you extroverts, seeking a group setting, immersing yourself in the busyness of a crowd is your way to push away solitude. My BFF must always be instigating or being in the middle of some organization or party planning. I know someone else who can’t help but meddle in others’ lives…
We do this because we really can’t stand to be lonely. Why is this? Perhaps we just don’t like ourselves? Is there something(s) that we don’t like to face? I’m not worthy? I’m ugly, I’m stupid, fat, – you name it. That voice in our heads just yammers on and on…
In order to block that voice, we immerse ourselves in another reality: another episode of NCIS, Taylor Swift’s latest album, a committee at church or the food bank… Calling our son yet again to make sure he’s joining the right clubs at school… or dating the right people…
I love this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert:
“When I get lonely…, I think: So BE lonely. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.Elizabeth Gilbert
I want to broaden the thought she presents here… How does watching TV, YouTube, music, or partying apply? Could watching TV or partying be just a second- or third-person way of “using another person’s body or emotions”. The story you are watching, reading, listening to is someone else’s story – one which you are glorying in and as such NOT facing your own lonely, boring, ugly, stupid, unworthy, etc. life.
So, how can you apply this to your situation? Do you hide in TV/videos/movies, music, books, social media, crowds, parties, and committee meetings?
And don’t go all freaky and tell me that you need those things to make it through the day/week. Yes, a party or a committee meeting in a week or watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy might be just the thing you need. But don’t neglect you. Learn to be alone. You might just get to know your very best friend.