A contemplation on being happy in my own company.
Do you enjoy being alone? I´ve spent A LOT of time alone. It´s still hit and miss, and I´d like to tell you why. Sometimes, solitude is absolute bliss, an antidote to social overload, but there are times when being alone is hard. It´s straining to be alone when I beat myself up; shaming myself for my mistakes and short comings. The monkey mind takes it´s toll, and it´s hard to enjoy being with someone who is habitually unkind to me – that includes… Me.
It´s something I´m still working on, so I´m sharing this contemplation as a fellow student of the physio-spiritual boxing ring called the human experience. I often avoid sitting quietly still, with only my thoughts and feelings, because it´s hard to hold it. Rejection, grief, fear, regret, and bottomless self criticism wait for me a couple of meters under the surface of my day-to-day flow. If I stop treading, I touch them like a foot touches the colder layers of a lake, unheated by the solar rays of productivity or distraction. I´m made nervous by the approaching company of my own thoughts and feelings – I push them away in favour of a dream-like constant: eat, work, sleep, repeat, and the water keeps getting colder down there. Liken to how it becomes harder to break the ice with an old friend in direct correlation to the time passed since the last goodbye, as do I find this pattern within. Self love begins with self acceptance, and self acceptance begins in the absence of self criticism. The question becomes, can I and I call a truce? Can I tolerate myself? Can I go that far to make a start?
Tomorrow has its challenges, today has its too. If I triumph over the challenges in front of me, even in a grueling, struggling way, I earned the right to lay my head at the end of the day and to pat myself on the back. “Day 8,134… It wasn´t perfect, but I survived another one.”
Jordon Peterson explained in his 12 Rules of Life to compare myself to who I was yesterday; not to other people. I extend that to who I was two days ago, or a year ago, for instance. I have had golden chapters to my story – times when I had it all together. If I compare myself to these glorified versions of me, I´d be tempted to believe that I´m inferior today, to live in my own shadow of all things, but these golden chapters came at a time of minimal hardship – before the weight of today was placed on my shoulders; before I became fatigued from the long road. I dare pat my tired self on the back and say, “You´re doing well. Keep going.”
From beside you, or behind you, or ahead on the path, I ask that you consider this:
If you don´t love yourself, can you accept yourself? If you can´t accept yourself, can you tolerate yourself? If you can´t tolerate yourself, why not?
Every day we have the opportunity to be born again. Every meal is a blessing, and we´d reminisce of these days of abundance in times of scarcity. Every cup of water is a blessing, and we´d be desperate for another if our lips ever cracked with thirst. Every breath is a blessing, and we´d miss the air very, very, quickly…
Things could be worse… I am glad that they are not. Gratitude and happiness, love and acceptance, are abundant and within reach. I´ve come to believe it´s a choice, because I´ve been humbled to meet people with so little who are so happy. Best of luck out there fellow traveller.