It has been a long time since my last post. First of all, I’m super sorry about that! I got so stressed out studying for our Naturopathic board exam and then with the job search, that I kind of lost inspiration and direction if I’m being completely honest. I had so many drafts of posts that I had written, and went through a weird phase where I thought nothing was good enough and kept feeling scared to share my thoughts. But during this weird time off… besides not knowing what to do with myself, I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection, and more specifically working on my self-confidence and learning to let go of fears and insecurities. I am going to go for it, and start by sharing some of the more reflective type posts that I had been writing the last few months. After I get my license hopefully in the next month or so, I’ll be able to give Naturopathic medical advice and start getting much more specific with the health posts! I’m super excited about that! For today’s post, I shared something that I wrote before going on a trip alone about being comfortable spending time with myself. I felt like it’s actually super relevant to my life right now, because I’ve had to spend tons of time with myself during this transition period between graduation and finding a job. This is something I struggle with and have been really trying to work on, so I wanted to see if anyone else feels the same. Hopefully a little piece of this resonates with you. If so, I’d love to hear your comments on how you’ve grown to love spending time with yourself!
So basically anyone and everyone who knows me well knows that I absolutely hate, that’s probably not even a s strong enough word…I despise being alone. Something about it has always made me uncomfortable. I sound crazy and a little dramatic, but it’s true. Sometimes it was a fear thing, like sleeping alone in a house when I was younger or walking alone at night, and sometimes it was just that I didn’t like the silent and lonely nature of it. I’m a generally outgoing and social person, and I really enjoy being around people. It’s where I feel the most at ease. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but it got to the point where I realized that spending time with other people was starting to become a way to distract myself from my own thoughts. My sisters will tell you that I call them any time I’m alone. Like when I’m driving, walking, or just cleaning up around the house. I would feel so weird in the silence that I would immediately try to fill it. If I’m being honest, the first reason I started working on this was because my sister would start off answering every phone call asking if I was just using her while I was driving or bored. The second was after some long hard reflection I realized that maybe there’s an underlying reason I’m like this, and maybe I really was uncomfortable with myself and my thoughts. It took me a while to realize how sad this was. Do I not like myself or the voice inside my head that much that I constantly try to prevent it from coming through? My old roommate (shout out to Sara Khalili) once was telling me that you spend 100% of your life with yourself, your thoughts and your personality, so you have to learn to love you. Honestly, I never realized how true that was. I started realizing that this fear and sense of discomfort with being alone was really associated to an increasing sense of insecurity I had been feeling. I’ve never considered myself to be an insanely insecure person. I’m generally comfortable with who I am, but like anyone I have a pretty solid list of things I’m not so confident about. I’m constantly apologizing for everything I say and do (this is a whole post in itself). I also tend to criticize my physical appearance, compare myself to others, and often put myself down because I never want to come off as cocky or arrogant. The more I sat with my thoughts and let myself reflect on why I didn’t like being alone, the more and more I realized I was uncomfortable with certain aspects of myself. It affected me personally, and was starting to play a role in my life as a student, a future doctor, and definitely in my relationship with my husband. I think I always knew this, but I never really gave it much thought or tried to work on it.
Fast forward to this past week, where I was going to be going to Portland for the a week for a Menopause Hormone Boot camp and to shadow an absolutely amazing women’s health Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Tori Hudson. I was so excited to learn from her and to spend time in Portland, but I was so scared of being there for 9 days by myself! I was getting so anxious thinking about having to literally do everything alone…especially eating alone. Again, I sound insane I totally get it, but everyone has their thing, and for some weird reason this was mine. I was so anxious leading up to it. It was bad. I knew it was crazy. I knew everything would be totally fine, but my brain wasn’t listening to me. The first day I got there I sat in the hotel room by myself starting around 7 pm. I decided that I was going to spend that night and the next morning alone with my thoughts. I wasn’t going to call my sisters or my husband, I wasn’t going to go on social media (it’s embarrassing how hard this was), or watch TV. The first few hours I was dying of boredom and didn’t know what to do with my self. But..then it was seriously was amazing what this did for me. I dug really deep, uncomfortably deep. I analyzed my insecurities, and instead of making myself feel bad or guilty about them, I tried to be mindful and observe where they were coming from. I tried to be mindful of why silence and loneliness makes me feel so uncomfortable and empty despite knowing I have such an incredible support system around me and that I’m in fact never alone. I also tried to think about why the first thing I do in uncomfortable situations, being alone, or being in silence is to take my phone out and check Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook…etc.
On this trip, I spent 9 days trying to disconnect from everything else around me as much as I could. I definitely talked to people, Snapchatted my surroundings, and checked social media a little, BUT I also ate each dinner without checking my phone. I took walks at night. I spent 20 minutes mediating each morning. I went to a bookstore and just sat with a book for 3 hours. I had so much amazing coffee and just enjoyed it without distractions. It sounds cheesy writing it, but I can’t explain what this did for me. I felt like I really was present in the moment, with my thoughts, and with the city. By the way I’m absolutely in love with Portland, even though it rained literally the entire time I was there. Before this trip I felt scattered, stressed and anxious about the future, and was constantly analyzing the way I looked and acted. It was interesting how spending time with myself and unplugging from life around me just a little bit had such positive effects on my insecurities. I didn’t fix my hair. I wore much less makeup than normal, and I just felt more at peace with myself over all.
I know this post was long and a little all over the place, so I appreciate you sticking with me. The main thing I’m trying to get across is that I am learning is that spending time alone is spending time with my own thoughts. More importantly, that my thoughts are important and they deserve to be heard. The key word here is learning, it’s something that I have to practice every day and it’s definitely not natural for me. But seriously if I’m not going to listen to and value my self and my thoughts, why would anyone else? I’m not the biggest fan of arrogant people, not like anyone is. I never ever want to come off that way, so I think that I over compensate a little bit and that has actually tarnished my confidence. I use to look at people who say they love themselves and think it was cocky or weird. Now, I realize how judgmental I was being and how important it is. I also started realizing that often times the people I looked up to for being authentic and self-confident were the ones who loved spending time with themselves. Obviously, all of these things are deep-rooted for me and I’ve lived like this for the last 26 years , so it’s definitely not going to change over a week-long trip. I’m just more aware of it now and it’s something that I’m going to keep myself accountable on. Here’s to embracing time alone, silence, and self-reflection, and most importantly self-confidence 🙂
SIDE NOTE: Like I mentioned above, I wrote the majority of this post while I was on the plane home from Portland a fe months ago, for those who know that I wasn’t there this past week. It got lost in the mix and then I got nervous that it was too old to post, but I’m learning to let go of all those nerves! Hope you enjoyed!