People come and go. The only one that remains is you.
Get to know that person.
10 Ways to Get to Know Yourself (scroll down)
Only solitude can teach you the real value of getting to know yourself. A you un-influenced by anyone around you. Someone that ironically not many people will ever actually get to know. There’s beauty in finding yourself when you didn’t even realise that you didn’t truly know you.
It’s a strange thought, that quite obviously would never come to mind until you’re alone with no one to live your life by. I’m not suggesting that you live your life defined by other people, only that you live your life influenced by your interaction with other people. It is too easy to fall into this trap of living life as the person you are when surrounded by your friends and family. A completely fair thing to do, and who would ever think it necessary to spend time by yourself to get to know yourself?
People often say that they are scared of loneliness, that they prefer the comfort of human interaction. But what I realised when I went abroad was that without constant interaction with the people who formed my life back home in Melbourne, I became a happier, freer, more insightful person. Someone who was wise from solitude and more in touch with myself, who I am and what I want. I came to notice things that I never would have if I had continued living my life as I had been in Melbourne prior to my departure. I didn’t realise how much I planned my life around other people, factoring them into nearly everything I did, and planning around them, allowing my interaction with them to shape me and more than anything affect my moods. I never thought anything of it. Interaction with friends and family is a part of life and that’s what we live for isn’t it? We want people to talk to and spend time with. But during all this human interaction have you ever stopped to take a few minutes for yourself and think of yourself without all of that?
Wonder if you really know you as a separate person away from everyone and everything else?
It’s very difficult to explain clearly but I think the best way would be like this…
Think about your day and all the things you have to do, or when you have something on my mind, or if you’ve ever been in love. Think of everything as a constant buzz, a hum that is your life. It might be blissfully happy, incredibly focused and organised or depressingly somber, whichever it is the feeling and thoughts are so consuming that that’s all you think about, and if any of those pass they are just replaced with equally consuming thoughts. Picture these thoughts as a low hanging cloud that surrounds your head (like you have your head stuck in the clouds). Now pause and try to push all of that up and off, or better yet remove yourself from it, pull your head out of it. Try and find yourself amongst a life that can just get too consuming for us to even consider taking a second for ourselves.
This was easy when I was away. I was alone. I had literally removed myself from everything that had occupied my brain and been my life. That didn’t mean that I didn’t struggle freeing my mind of a few things from home, but with time and constant persistence I refocused and did things for myself. Figuring out what I alone wanted to do, or discovering what I alone thought. It was liberating to have the time and freedom to do so and it’s a feeling like I have never experienced before and one that I think was only possible by throwing myself into solitude. I found a truer version of myself when I went travelling, and found myself alone in my thoughts and desires. Un-influenced or inhibited by the actions, thoughts and desires of others. It terrified me to think that I might lose this newfound part of me by coming home.
Being surrounded by my friends and family once again has been challenging. I have enjoyed it immensely, but I do lose touch with myself. Sometimes I find myself so overcome with how my interaction with them makes me feel, or rather that I find myself forgetting about things that have recently become so important to me. I took the liberty of writing myself a list to try and help myself not lose sight of what is important and what keeps me sane. Things that help me stay in touch with the person I am whilst living in a society determined by human interaction. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a big talker! I usually feel the need to debrief or talk something through or just ramble to someone in order to process my thoughts. Well this now bothers me because being away taught me how to deal with things in different ways, ways that I actually prefer to deal with things. Ways that are for me and myself alone rather than a cause for communication. Being away showed me how dependent I was on others and how I didn’t really know who I was before I was alone. Now that I have found that person I am incredibly weary not to lose her in the tide and current of my life here in Melbourne.
So whilst I say that being alone was the way I found myself, isolating yourself or taking off just isn’t an option for everyone, but that doesn’t make getting to know yourself any less important, and it is possible to get to know yourself right where you are.
Where to start?
10 Pointers on Getting to Know Yourself
1. Next time you have a day off don’t take that extra shift or make plans. Give yourself the day to do something YOU want to do without anyone else. – Yes it might be daunting and you might think boring…but give it a chance, you might surprise yourself.
2. Do something you’ve always wanted, or have been meaning to do.
3. Go for a drive, or hop on a train or bus and get off somewhere unexpected.
4. Try something new
5. Get some fresh air
6. Get moving
7. Find a change in scenery
8. Look through photos, watch a film or documentary, or read a book
9. Find time to discover a new interest or passion.
10. Do it again! Keep trying