Isolation – (noun); process of having minimal contact or little in common with others.
Regardless of your age, gender, or ethnicity, one thing that we all have in common is a period of our lives when we either have or WILL have experienced this big mound of uncertainty. By uncertainty I do not mean unsure of what we will have for dinner or what we’ll do the upcoming weekend, I am referring to an uncertainty on a much larger level. That time in our lives, (that in my case is currently happening as I approach 23) when something begins to stir inside of us that makes us question our purpose, our beliefs, our entire being; that something that, if you’re anything like me, often times leaves us feeling lost or alone. I’ve been experiencing this a lot as of lately. It’s this sensation that brings a lot of us anxiety, depression, and fear. Maybe the moment we realize we may have finally found the importance behind a saying that’s frequently used, but I feel is often very misunderstood; “learn to love yourself.” You might be going through some transition in life that makes you doubt your abilities and wonder who you really are and what you actually live for. I’m going to tell you my purpose behind this post and give you my story, so that for anyone else out there having the feelings I’ve explained, you can know that you’re never alone.
I’m 22 years old, I graduated college this year. Today is September 5th, 2017. This transition in my life began to occur around August of 2016 and it took a hard hit to my self confidence. I have always been a very positive, confident, trusting, honest person, to the best of my ability, but one weekend I experienced bullying that I for some reason couldn’t just brush off my shoulder. That weekend changed my entire perspective of life and myself. I never thought I would be someone who allowed others to get to me like this. I started to distrust the people closest to me, I felt insecure in my own skin almost everywhere I went, I began to criticize myself constantly, bringing more flaws to light, I felt like nobody understood me, and as those feelings grew, I sunk into a mild depression that also lead to major social anxiety and paranoia that I was always being laughed at behind closed doors. I began shutting out some of my closest friends and lost a lot of faith in myself and the ones around me. The worst part being that I didn’t even have enough confidence in myself or my loved ones to open up about the mental distress I was experiencing. I caught on to people’s negativity and became very sensitive/intolerant toward anyone who had problems of their own, but still proceeded to bring down others to make themselves feel better. I kept everything bottled up and felt unloved, wondering if I even had a purpose…
BUT, there is a silver lining… While dealing with these personal obstacles, I became much more closely acquainted with a girl friend of mine who happened to be my roommate at the time. At that time, I’d become much less trusting of people, but I realized as she opened up to me about her own demons, that though our situations were different, they left the same marks. They changed us. I began to confide in her, slowly. She is now one of my very best friends, she brought a new light to my darkness and I’m very grateful for that. We both helped each other, we made it an effort to look at the positive side of every single situation/day and if one of us was down, we’d lift each other up whether it was with some good vibe music (rebelution/kings of leon are very helpful), a quote from a book, or simply a hug. Not all of us have someone to relate to or someone to lean on when we’re experiencing dark times in our lives, which is my reasoning for this post. This was only phase 1 in my personal journey thus far.
As months passed and I read different books, spent more time alone reflecting on my life and experiences, ate healthier, and did just about everything I could think of to naturally improve my wellbeing – something great began to occur and by the time June rolled around I found myself accepting that I am NOT perfect, but I try very hard to practice forgiveness, honesty, and love on a daily basis. I realized that a lot of people who act like they have it together and live a perfect life, often are just covering their problems rather than facing them head on. I looked my demons in the eyes and I finally said I’m not living this way. I’d found this newfound appreciation for life that I always thought I had, but had no idea I was missing. It’s now September and am thankful to have had an obstacle in my life that required me to do major soul-searching and introspecting. It was not a fun ride, by ANY means, but I know myself much better and feel that I’m on the right path to finding a bigger purpose in life. I let go of friends that were toxic to my positive outlook on life, and brought closer the ones who I share those truly deeper values with. I have tightened my bonds with my family. I have built a fortress of love and positivity from the bottom up. “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Jung
Dalai Lama encouraged me to put this out there for all of the other people experiencing some darkness in their life once I read a “hit home” exert from his book The Book of Joy ; it read – “I used to get nervous,” the Dalai Lama continued. “When I was young and had to give some formal teachings, because I was not thinking that we are all the same, I would experience anxiety. I would forget that I’m just talking as a human being to fellow human beings. I would think of myself as something special, and that kind of thinking would make me feel isolated. It is this kind of separateness that isolates us from other people.“
The best way to describe this transition in my life is the way a caterpillar slowly turns into a butterfly. It is one thing, and then it suddenly stops eating, hangs itself upside down, spins itself into a cocoon, transforms itself, and eventually emerges as something different; something very beautiful. Luckily, we are never fully transformed, but constantly changing and gaining wisdom to carry with us in our hearts.
Love yourself, put love out into the world, radiate so that maybe you can be the light in someone’s life. The universe is literally inside each and every one of us. The way we treat others is the way we treat ourselves. Don’t simply mask problems with quick fixes, they will eventually reappear and take you down. Our mind is the most powerful force, change up your perspective and know that you’re never alone. Be different. Be someone that you’d want to have on your side. And most importantly, you’re L O V E D.