Sometimes I think we have lost the ability to just “be” with ourselves. If we don’t use the time alone to the greatest advantage, it just goes away and is no longer there for the taking. There is a way to view ‘alone’ and ‘lonely’ as two different but equally interesting concepts. Perhaps there have been times lately that you have felt a bit lonely while being with others.
Conversely, perhaps you’ve felt strong and happy with yourself while you were alone, maybe even during self-imposed isolation due to COVID-19. Those opposite-sounding feelings are perfectly natural. Confusing, too. We are programmed to think that being alone is equal to loneliness, and that’s just not the case. There are ways we can figure out just what lifts us up, makes us feel whole and unafraid, and make an inner plan to put into practice what we find.
In Roman mythology, “veritas” is truth. The Latin word, which is derived from the Roman concept of truthfulness, can also be used as a motto. Universities, such as Harvard, use “Veritas” as a motto; it is also the motto of the Dominican Order of the Roman Catholic Church.
Sayings such as “The truth will set you free” and “To thine own self be true” are often seen as signs of positivity and gentle urging to be honest with yourself about your inner feelings. The honest feelings you may be having, such as anxiety, depression, annoyance, frustration, or others, all lead you to true inner awareness of YOU. To acknowledge inner feelings is an exercise vital for your growth and development, as well as your emotional and mental health.
If we look at the situation we are all in with this pandemic, then isolation, loneliness and an almost agoraphobic feeling can emerge for many. How do we turn some of those things around, allow ourselves to be lifted up, and to see a clearer and more happy ‘next day’?
Below are several suggestions and strategies to enhance your ability to reframe some of the feelings you may have experienced during this time. The truth about who you are, how you approach the day, and plans for the future should be uppermost on your mind these days. You probably have the time to try a few of these to focus on such as practicing things that help you feel positive. See what you think:
- Take solace in nature. When was the last time you hiked or took a long walk? Think about where you can walk that is safe, beautiful, and accessible. Taking solace, like taking your own counsel, can allow you to quietly practice self-talk which is helpful upon making an important decision. There’s that ‘truth’ again, as only you know what’s really bothering you. It takes courage to look at it, and admit sometimes, and then to act.
- There are many definitions of the concept of spirituality. In a non-religious sense, try to grasp your own way to define your feelings about spirituality. If you see nature as spiritual because of her unexplained beauty, or because of the mysterious ways in which the Mississippi River runs north to south and back again in great beauty. If you recognize that perhaps there is something larger than yourself, i.e. nature, then use that sense to utilize your hope. It’s a quiet process and can be valuable.
- Mindfulness can be a meditative process that is practiced regularly and with positivity. The act of meditating may occur with purpose and focus, where you can attempt to isolate your thoughts for a time that you choose, in a place that is also your choice. Quiet time is vital to strong ego strength and emotional wellness. It is not difficult to find the time. It may be difficult for some to use that time and adopting a mindful period just for you. That’s also why being truthful about your inner feelings even if they do make you a bit uncomfortable, is important. As you allow your thoughts/feelings to come to the surface of your mind and resound in your heart, focus on that moment and the feelings.
- Sleep. In one version of Eastern health and wellness, Morita Therapy embraces the concept of slowing down, literally resting in bed. That comes loosely from a Buddhist belief about slowing the heart, the brain, and sometimes consciousness. Of course, that doesn’t always fit our Western therapeutic or religious focus, as we like to have people be active, interactive, and dedicated to a goal. The idea of rest, however, or even sleep, is an accepted way to lift yourself into feeling positive. We hear a lot about restorative sleep. Look at your sleep patterns, and try to adjust for the amount of rest you feel you need. That may be more or less than you are getting right now. If it isn’t more sleep, then more rest. Rest can be reading, listening to music, drawing, or painting. Rest means not having so much on the mind. It’s a good strategy.
Use whatever you can to help in your progress to feel good, whatever that looks like to you. Talk about some of the scarier emotions that may come forth. Have a Zoom date, sit on a balcony or in your yard in the sun. Walk, sing, paint. Praying works very well for some. You are in charge, and if you can consider some of the suggestions, who knows what you’ll find in your own head or heart?