In my last post, I explained HSP and how I recently realized how I am easily overwhelmed when it comes to sensory processing. Since I found out about this, I try to be hyper-aware and selective with my time. I attempt to choose the events where I know I will overexpose myself and need extra time to reboot. This last month was filled with non-stop traveling, events, and work. I was going nonstop and could feel myself slowly feeling run down.
Because of this, I decided to leave last weekend to ME. I would, without guilt, have a weekend to relax and revive. It was terrific, except I kept catching myself checking my phone and social media for validation. You see, I didn’t want to be out and about -but why did no one want to be around me or care to see how I am? Ohh, the lovely brain.
I realized that as much as I wanted my “me” time, I still couldn’t quite relax or find comfort in my presence. In a world of non-stop, action-packed days where we can interact with anyone from the palm of our hands, it’s easy to find yourself in constant “FOMO” (Fear of missing out). Now, I used get FOMO much worse in college and never listened to my body, because I was determined to be involved in anything and everything – I couldn’t miss out.
While I am not at that extreme anymore, but I still find myself uncomfortable sitting in my own time.
No validation, no reassurance.
No one to talk to… just me.
I realized that it is a very vulnerable time and can be hard to find contentment in this space.
As I laid in bed, realizing this, I began to write:
“Why is it we feel we need always to be connected to someone in some way to feel content with yourself. Why can’t we just be enough for ourselves?
I’m a firm believer in days where you don’t leave the house. You don’t shower or clean or even answer your phone. Days where you lay in bed and get lost: in a book, a show, art. just get lost and forget about everything else for the day. Nothing else matters.
I realized that I put so much pressure on myself. To be productive – whether it be work, working out, organizing, planning… Obviously, those are all important to living daily lives, but it’s interesting how hard yet liberating it is just give yourself a day with no attachments or commitments.”
Now, it is much easier to write these words than put them into action. However, words are powerful, and they’re a start. If I can at least acknowledge that I am not comfortable with 100% alone time (think completely shut off from the world – no Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter), then I can use that awareness to find ways to shift that thinking. Our brains are tricky, though, and this isn’t going to happen overnight. You need to find comfort in your discomfort. As many of you know, our brains are a muscle, and that is how we continue to learn and grow.
This reminds me of the stretching and flexibility aspectz of yoga or more specifically, self-myofascial release. Self-myofascial release is based on Davis’ Law, which states that soft tissue will model along the lines of stress. (WHAT- relating life back to yoga- who does that!? Original, I know ;))
But, seriously, anyone who has been involved in athletics of any sort might know this: anytime you find yourself with tight muscles, you bring pressure to that particular muscle to find relief. However, at first, that pressure can be painful, overbearing, and your muscle might have even have slight spasms. However, if you hold that pressure for anywhere from 30-90 seconds, you will slowly feel that muscle open and relax. (It actually feels uhhh-mazing). But, you have to push past the initial trigger or pain point to eventually relax and open the muscle tension. That is why we often hold poses for a bit longer in yoga. At first, it may be slightly painful. But as you breathe into that discomfort for a bit, you will slowly feel a nice release and opening. However, this is especially hard in such a fast-paced world that is always looking for instant results.
Now, you might be asking me – “how did we get from talking about a relaxing weekend to some muscle tension release.” But bear with me, I promise they relate.
So, if our brain is a muscle, why wouldn’t this same law apply? Ahh-ha! You see, it does. (Well, I’m no scientist, so don’t quote me on this – it is based purely on personal experience.)
But, think about it. Think back to any situation you have been put in and how it changed who you are today. For example, public speaking; a very common fear. Our brains convince us of the worst: embarrassment, shame, etc. Just the thought of it can make some of us quiver. However, once you put yourself in the situation and through the “pain,” your brain will slowly become more open to the situation. It will realize that it isn’t so bad after all. That it can actually be good for us and help us with things like confidence, networking, and self-awareness.
Now, you also have to remember there is good pain and bad pain. Another example: lying to someone. Just the thought of it can also bring anxiety, guilt, or shame. But, the result of (getting caught) lying has negative consequences. You lose trust, respect, and possibly even relationships. This is “bad” pain. Kind of like the pain from a hard leg workout versus breaking your leg. They both still serve a purpose. We learn from both of them, but one helps you grow and “desensitizes” you, so you can continue to grow and use these as stepping stone rather than being hurt and your body realizing it should not put itself in that situation again.
So, loooong story short; these times of pain – they’re helpful and even sometimes needed to grow. You just have to get past that threshold of pain. Your body are brain are very smart, but not always right. They only knows what it has been exposed to and processes reactions and decisions based off of past experiences. So if you have never experienced actual alone time, or you have, and it resulted in losing friendships, getting sick, or slipping into a deep depression – both will tell your brain the same thing.
However, if you just hold on…
Keep your phone off.
S t r e t c h.
Eventually, you will find the comfort. Comfort in your body. In yourself. Alone. You will have a deep sigh of relief and learn that you aren’t so bad. You’re better than “not so bad.” You’re beautiful and unique and specifically made – use and embrace that gift. Find that gift. It might just take a bit longer than expected. But hold on, slow down, and a stay awhile. It will be worth it.
PS. At the end of this weekend alone, I went to yoga with a friend where I was able to stretch and sweat and relax. We do still need these movements and people in our lives to find contentment, but don’t forget about the most important place to start: yourself.