I realized I love myself, but what if you don’t? This tip might help.
I was sitting on the couch thinking about the grumpy mood I have been in for the last two days. I have been grumpy with my boyfriend and even though I knew I was pushing him away, I still couldn’t stop myself. I have been taking things personally, things I would normally just let go. But I have been so caught in my head that I was beginning to spiral out of control. So there I was, laying on my couch browsing the web when it occurred to me: I love myself.
I understand this may be an odd revelation to have. However, it didn’t strike me as odd at all. I finally figured out that my grumpy mood is because my boyfriend in in Seattle and I am in LA. I am worried sick about him and instead of just being worried and moving forward, I am focusing on the little irritants and turning them into relationship-dooming issues. I am doing this to the man who makes me laugh and brings so much joy to my life I still smile just thinking about him. Great move, right?
So, I love myself though. Why? I love that I am concerned about my family, my friends and my boyfriend. I have been cooped up alone in a two bedroom apartment with no visitors and no social interactions. I am beginning to get crazy. I am emotional. But it occurred to me on the couch that I haven’t once been uncomfortable with myself in the entire three weeks I have been sitting here. I have never once disliked my own company.
The Discomfort of Being Alone
Jill P. Weber, PhD. writes for Psychology Today in her article “When You Can’t Stand Being Alone With Yourself,” “When a person loses touch with their sense of themselves as a separate, living, breathing entity, a consequence may be a very real discomfort with being alone.” I am all too familiar with this feeling. When I was younger dealing with the height of my major depressive disorder and feeling worthless, I couldn’t stand to be alone with myself. I could neither face myself nor find a way to appreciate who I was. Through years of work, I have come to love myself. A fact which became clear to me on my couch.
I have to imagine there are many people sitting on their couches right now acutely aware of how isolated and restricted they feel through this COVID-19 madness. “The unfamiliarity of suddenly finding themselves alone, with no distractions, is unnatural and shocking,” a feeling that can jar someone who didn’t realize they were covering their discomfort with themselves through a full social calendar. This jarring sensation is enough to push one over the edge into anxiety, depression or neediness. But these feelings are a reaction to being alone when we aren’t used to it. To be alone with ourselves we have to learn to give ourselves credit for all we do daily. We have to respect ourselves and learn self-love.
How to be Alone with Yourself
“The distress they experience is compounded by a lack of knowledge for how to fill the space and for how to healthfully be alone.” Let’s face it, the hours are innumerable at this moment. We don’t know how long this virus will take to flatten out and we don’t want to risk contaminating our loved ones. We have to go to the store and other basic errands but we are avoiding much else. Sleep schedules are becoming nonexistent or extremely warped while working at home has us busy but lacks interaction we are used to. Everything about our daily lives has been flipped on its head and now we are sitting on our couches wondering when it will all end. So we scroll through Instagram, we stalk exes on social media and we dive into binge watching all the hot new programs — anything to avoid ourselves.
However, taking 10 minutes a day to sit and quietly reflect can help us reintroduce our minds to our bodies, to our hearts, and help to curb the uneasiness we feel being alone. It will be uncomfortable at first as we are left with nothing but our thoughts. But by acknowledging and accepting our thoughts and feelings in those ten minutes we lay the groundwork for deeper analyses. When you become comfortable with your thoughts and feelings, Dr. Weber suggests you ask yourself:
1. What are you avoiding by never being alone with yourself?
2. What is the hardest part of being alone for you?
The answers to these questions may trigger deeper pain for you, but it could also lead to enlightenment. The trick is to remain accepting of yourself and your feelings. Ultimately, you are your own best friend and you can always depend on yourself. You can get through the isolation period even if you stuck with yourself for another month. This time could help you be in-touch with yourself — which will only make you a stronger individual in the long run.
Article originally published here