A quiet time. Lately the terms uncertain and unprecedented have been thrown around to describe our current times. And I’m not sure about you guys, but if I didn't have to hear those two words for the next 10 years I think I’d be okay. That’s not to say that they aren't valid, because they certainly are, but rather I need a new way of conceptualizing our current situation. Uncertainty is never something that I’ve done particularly well with even on a small scale, so now that it seemingly blankets almost every single aspect of my entire life, the last few weeks have been a struggle. I know that I’m not alone in having my life turned upside down, nor am I alone in feeling unsettled as a result. So, instead of resting in this idea of uncertainty, I’ve decided to conceptualize this current time as a quiet time.
There’s certainly a lot less to do right now (for many of us), and as someone who's a busy body, this has created a lot of unrest for me. There are fewer distractions, fewer voices and ultimately less noise in my world right now. Although my world is certainly quieter, this quietness has not yet translated to peace or rest. I see so many people talking about how we have a rare opportunity to take a break, a pause, a rest. And honestly, I couldn't agree more. We certainly have the opportunity presented to us, but now this opportunity needs to be ceased, and for some, like myself, this task is easier said than done. If you’ve read any of my previous pieces you’ll know that I’ve made it no secret that I love my routines, as they make me feel grounded. I’ve made it no secret that I am a very social person, and that my social interactions bring me great joy. Finally, I’ve made it no secret that I like to busy myself when I'm trying to keep my mind off of a certain issue. With all that being said, I can sit here not at all surprised by the fact that this much anticipated “break” for many, has simply not been all that enjoyable for myself.
As I mentioned before, I know I’m not alone in finding this quiet time a little bit challenging. So many of us (myself included) are so used to going through life one hundred miles a minute, which is a stark contrast to the pace that life has taken on now. However, the fact of the matter is that no one knows exactly how long this quiet time will last. It might be two more weeks, two more months or even longer than that (fingers crossed its not). Either way, I’ve decided that simply accepting this as a challenging time, and one that I will not enjoy, is not going to fly. I’ve decided that a better approach is to explore the “why” behind it and to find a way to bridge the gap between quiet and peace.
For me personally, the most challenging part thus far has been spending so much time alone with my own thoughts. As I mentioned earlier there are far fewer distractions to get us out of our own minds and far fewer voices to redirect our thoughts to different things. The only voice we’re hearing is our own, and that voice is coming through loud and clear because there is nothing else there to drown it out. If you were ever unsure about what your self talk sounded like, well, now you probably know. And I’d say odds are, if you’re having a tough time with this break, it might not be all that positive. The amazing part about this whole thing though, we CAN change it, and I can assure you that we HAVE the time to do it. Start by doing something as simple as checking in with yourself, and see how you’re doing. Follow that up by giving yourself a compliment for something that you’re doing well, or validating yourself. We are so accustomed to getting validated by the people around us every single day, and we’ve all but taken that piece of the puzzle away. So put it back, validate your own self, a little validation can go a long way. Finally, acknowledge something that’s been bothering you and let it go. Maybe you didn’t like the fact that you weren't motivated enough to workout today, or you weren't as productive working from home as you might've been at the office. Give yourself a break, you’re doing your best in these times.
There are far fewer distractions to get us out of our own minds and far fewer voices to redirect our thoughts to different things
Not only do we have a lot of time alone with our thoughts, but we also have a lot of time alone with ourselves. So much alone time sparks self reflection, whether we like it or not. We have time to mull over our memories, our decisions and our relationships. We really have the time to delve into ourselves, something that I believe many of us don't do all that often, and now its a question of whether or not we like what we see. It is said that we are our own worst critics, so I think it’s safe to say that not everything that we see we will like. We may be finding guilt, shame, regret, or maybe even failures and fears that we have buried so deep into ourselves and masked with the idea of being busy. Sure, we can run from all of these demons, but when we slow to a walk are we still managing to escape? It seems to be a little bit more difficult when you have the time to ponder them. Maybe you find them weighing on you a little more heavily than they were before, or maybe you never even really allowed yourself to realize that they were there. So maybe now we’re grappling with the parts of ourselves that we don't like quite as much, the parts that we’ve been hiding from the world and maybe even ourselves. It’s very possible that you’ve been spending a lot more time with yourself lately than you have in a long time, but are you loving that person that you’re with?
We like because and we love despite
There is a saying I once heard and it resonated with me every day since, and maybe now more than ever. It is that “we like because and we love despite”. I think it holds so true when it comes to self love and self acceptance. We are able to like ourselves because of the things that we are good at, our strengths and our triumphs. Self like is not all that hard to attain, but self love however, that is more difficult. To really love ourselves is to love despite of the things that we may not like, despite of our shortcomings and wrongdoings. This is undoubtedly a challenge, but one that I’m willing to take on during this quiet time. I want to be nicer, kinder and more forgiving to myself. To acknowledge my shortcomings and to accept them. To acknowledge my mistakes and to let them go. To acknowledge my past and to make peace with it. To like one’s self is so great and I hope everyone reading is at that point or at least getting there, but self love is that next step up. To be able to find peace and tranquility without the distractions and pleasures of external forces, let’s all shoot for that.