Ever notice how when you’re in a situation where you’re forced to interact with someone you don’t like, how truly awful that is? Maybe it’s a neighbour, a coworker, or an obnoxious family member. Maybe it’s all of them. But we all have those people in our lives that we must interact with, even though we don’t necessarily want to. Forced relationships. Usually, my method of coping is to mentally project myself elsewhere. For example, I’ve spent more than one family get-together composing blog posts in my head, know what I mean?
But of course you do.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot the past few days, these forced relationships. Particularly about our relationships with ourselves. And in my case, the lack of self-compassion that I have. I look around everywhere and see people so often “checking out” of life. Spending too much time online. Watching hours upon hours of television. Immersing themselves in computer games. Abusing drugs, alcohol and food. (This isn’t me passing judgment, by the way; I’m definitely guilty of many of these things as well.)
I think that one of the reasons why we’re all so busy checking out of life is because we’re a society of people avoiding relationships with ourselves. Because deep down, underneath it all, we’re struggling with self-love and self-acceptance. We really don’t want to be alone with ourselves.*
*And yes, I realize that this doesn’t apply to every single person on the planet. I’m speaking in generalities, here, and particularly as it applies to me and my life.
I know that this is something that I personally struggle with, having a healthy, loving relationship with myself. I know that I often “check out”, rather than be alone with myself and my thoughts. It’s scary to face that sometimes — because if I do, I have to face those parts of myself that aren’t all that appealing. Most days it’s a whole lot easier to play ‘Words With Friends” or zone out watching trash TV than spend quality time with myself.
Sure, we all need to check out now and again. It’s a necessary part of life….giving ourselves a break. But it’s not a “break” if it’s happening the majority of the time.
Life needs to be about staying engaged. We need to face those parts of ourselves that we don’t necessarily like, accept them, and then do our best to make them better. We need to learn how to spend loving, quality time with ourselves. Most of all, we need to do a much better job of loving ourselves. All of us, as a society.
It starts with unplugging, just a little bit. It means learning how to be quiet and still without constant distractions. It’s about paying attention to ourselves and life around us. It’s about finding things we love about ourselves and them working on them to make them better.
We can do it, truly. I can do it. Because the alternative — spending a life checked out, without any kind of self-awareness and self improvement, just totally misses the point of being human altogether.