Sometimes it can be hard not to think that something is missing from your life when things are going relatively smoothly for you.
I seem to fluctuate between the feeling of empowerment from taking control of my life and making progress in the areas I care about, and the soul-crushing anxiety of knowing nothing really matters all that much. *cue the existential dread.
One day can be full of contentment and gratitude that the life we’re living is so full of wonder and opportunity to accomplish great things, and sometimes within that same day you revert back into wondering what the point of it all is. The roller coaster never seems to end, and it can be easy to resign yourself to closing your eyes, covering your ears, and trying your best to tune out both the bad and good sides of life in the hope that you find some sort of stable banality amidst the chaos of everyday living.
Juggling these two feelings looks from the outside like it must be some kind of never-ending torture. You wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but I wouldn’t call it torture. It’s more like a daily exercise for the spirit. Soul squats, if you will.
The more I’ve worked on reconciling these two feelings the more I’ve been able to come to terms with the ever-present duality of human nature and my own tendencies to rely too heavily on one perspective or the other. But, understanding our habit to want to relate to either one helps us to embody both.
People want to feel connected to each other, and for good reason.
When we make strong connections, it takes the pressure off of ourselves to take full responsibility for behaviors and beliefs. It’s easy to attribute your actions to be the natural effect of the social circles you connect to most, but this isn’t the case when you start to connect more with yourself.
When you set aside the need to be constantly distracted by other people and start to focus more on yourself, what you want, and the kind of life you want to experience, you begin to see how much more connected you can actually feel by making friends with your own person.
“You are your own worst enemy.”
It’s been said before, and while this can be true — as the ways in which we can tirelessly berate ourselves for the most minuscule mistakes is seemingly infinite — we never seem to flip our focus to the other side of that coin.
I suppose since I’ve yet to hear it from anyone else, I’ll be the one to say it first myself:
You may be your own worst enemy, but you are also your own best friend.
At least, you can be. And not in the “No one likes me so screw everyone I’m better off on my own,” kind of way. That’s a forced friendship that will only make you start resenting yourself in the long run.
I’m talking about the, “I enjoy spending time with myself because I like who I am and enjoy my own company,” kind of feeling that only comes after a deeper understanding of ourselves and our dual nature that we so often succumb to.
Most people seem to hate the parts of them that don’t reflect their “best” selves. They resent themselves for having negative feelings or thinking negative thoughts. As if these thoughts and feelings didn’t originate from them and are some kind of emotional intruders in the temple of their mind.
They’re not, though. Those aspects of yourself have just as much of a right to be there as any other part of you. Understanding the roots of those “shadow” traits will help lessen their threatening nature and you won’t feel such an aversion to the idea of recognizing them as aspects of yourself. Instead of rejecting what you don’t feel is “worthy” about yourself, assimilate those things into the whole of your identity. The more well-rounded you are as an individual, the more you might actually start to see the reasons you’d rather hang out someone as multi-faceted as yourself instead of the one-trick ponies you so often find yourself surrounded by.
Becoming your own best friend, or at least starting to see yourself in a more colorful light, lends itself to you noticing how heavily most folks rely on other people for their sense of self. As much as it might make you feel sorry for anyone who seems like they can’t be alone with themselves, you’ll feel even more gratitude that you can and, in fact, enjoy it. You’ll be able to lead by example simply by being comfortable and confident on your own, without the need to cling onto the crutch of constant interaction.
This isn’t to say that social interaction is bad in any way, far from it. But by seeing yourself as the one person you know you can rely on, the one person that will always have your back, you won’t need the affirmations of others to make you feel confident in yourself.
Best friends are great, I even have one myself that isn’t, ya know…myself. I’m not downplaying the importance of connection. All I’m saying is that the more in tune we are with the good and “bad” aspects of ourselves helps us to see who we truly are more clearly. It’s with this clarity that we gain depth and strength of character and, in turn, start to see ourselves as more interesting people with a more diverse character than we had previously thought.
It may be an amazing thing to have friends in life and connections with others, but it’s self-realization and the understanding of our true nature that can really pique our interest and may just make us want to spend a bit more time getting to know the BFF within ourselves.
Previously published on medium
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