Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happy alone

This was shared on Facebook today and was another reminder of something people have been trying to get through my head for a long time.

I like the company of others so much but I end up relying on that for my peace and happiness.  So then when I don't have people around supporting me, I feel my life being very tumultuous and unhappy.  To attempt to fill the void that has been left by ex-husbands, ex-boyfriend, deceased mother, stroke-victim-half-paralyzed father, and lack of close friendships, I feel like I am constantly reaching out.  Reaching out for someone to fill the void for me.  I try to hang out with people, try to be seen as cool in their eyes, always hoping to find a "best friend" - someone that will love me and want me in their life just as much as I love and want them.  That never seems to work out.

So, I turn to social media.  I go to Facebook, I look for anything people have said to me...not much.  I try to start interesting or controversial conversations so people will say stuff.  That sometimes works for a while.  When all that fails, I scroll.  And scroll.  And scroll.  Read articles, look for things to comment on, think of things to say or pictures to post.  Grasping at friendship straws.  And it usually comes up fruitless.  And then I feel frustrated with myself for wasting so much time on Facebook doing "nothing".  This endless social frustration has caused me to deactivate my Facebook account a few times, and make dramatic exits as I go on a 2-week Facebook fast, inviting people to call or text me cause I won't be around.  Strangely enough, usually no one contacts me.  I am not sure if it's because people don't care about me, or if they simply forget I exist since there is no longer anything reminding them of my presence on their timeline feed each day.

This summer I feel I did pretty well with this being alone stuff.  Cause I had the time and resources to actually do a lot of things for myself that I really enjoyed.  We went to the pool at least 3 times a week.  I read several books.  I rode my bike, I worked on projects in my house, and I invited different friends over frequently to do stuff with me.  It was the best summer I've had in a while.  I was trying to be happy and enjoy myself, while inviting others to join me in the fun, but not so much depending on that.  I'm sure I was still trying to fill some voids, but it was definitely better than I am now.  I don't have the time and resources during the school year as much to be alone and enjoy it.

I feel the itch again to leave Facebook.  I get so tired of the superficial relationships it breeds.  It's my fault cause I rely on that and hope that these people who probably don't actually like or care about me that much will want to be actual friends.  A simple "like" does not leave me content.  I want real conversations and intimacy with others.  Real friendship.

But in order to get that and attract other people who want the same instead of the arm's length relationships of social media, I'll have to be genuine to myself and happy alone.  Perhaps people don't want to spend time with me cause they can sense when I'm desperately trying to fill a need, rather than graciously letting them enjoy my awesome company while I enjoy theirs.  The past summer was more about enjoying the company of friends, rather than needing anything, necessarily.

Here's something I found.  When you forgo the things that you want in order to feel included, you can be sure that that balance is out of whack. ... Focus on friendships that let you be more you.
Click for quote and picture source

I have made progress in this area.  There are friends I thought I wanted to be really close to, but after spending some time with them I realized I didn't want to be as close because they are a negative influence or we just don't have much in common.  Others I was surprised to find that we have tons in common and I'm really glad we became friends, cause I never would have thought about seeking them out as a friend before that.

So, I have a goal to be happy with myself and spend more time with myself, my thoughts, etc.  To figure out who I am, what I really want, what I believe, what I enjoy, etc.  To just be alone with myself, without distractions of social media or anything else.  I am going to spend at least 1 hour per week enjoying nature and exploring my thoughts and feelings.  This will probably look like taking a bike ride or hike, and sitting to journal among trees, mountains, rivers, whatever I can find that brings me joy, peace, and serenity.

I am also going to start a list of my beliefs and values.  It's almost like a checklist of reminders for myself of lessons I have already learned and want to remind myself of.  I plan to read it regularly, perhaps even daily.  Almost like the cheesy daily affirmations, but way cooler.  This should help me to solidify who I am and being cool with myself.  Cause if I start repeating something daily it will probably become very quickly apparent whether I actually believe it or not. My hope is that this will get me more in touch with who I am, both so I can be happy alone, and to ensure that I'm not conceding important things about myself just in an attempt to be liked by others.

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