To feel at peace do I have to live with my own company?
Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.
We are not normally used to living alone, that is, to be alone with our own company. We flee from loneliness like the plague. Perhaps we are so boring or unpleasant that we are not at ease with ourselves? Ask yourself that and feel it. It may also be a question of habit. We have always been social animals, born to support each other to survive and it is difficult for us to be alone and at ease. Something quickly worms away inside us and impels us to seek something to do to avoid the sensation of anxiety about being alone. We turn on the TV, put on music, read, call a friend, go over tasks that we have put off…It seems that we are an awkward stranger that we do not want or do not know how to relate to ourselves. Has that not happened to you? However, it is necessary to allow ourselves this place of solitude in order to grow. It is not about being a hermit in a cave, but it is good to learn to live with ourselves, like a friend and not like a stranger. But how do we stop feeling like a stranger? Well, nothing simpler, by getting to know ourselves! And how do we do that? How do you make friends with someone else? Beginning to ask questions may be a good start. But asking ourselves questions, how do we do that? Maybe you can start to ask yourself questions “without words” about what you feel, think or do. Observing without judging. And whatever happens, as with a friend, let it happen. If you are happy, enjoy it. If you are sad, do the same. It is not that you become happy by being sad, but that you let it be. Is that perhaps so bad? Feel what there is, without now wishing to feel better. You may learn that emotions can tell you a lot about yourself, if you dare to listen to instead of running away from them, if you learn not to fear them. Has it not happened to you, when encountering a situation that makes you scared (diving for the first time, climbing, travelling to a very remote place…) that in the end, after having done it, you feel very good, freed of that paralysing fear?
That can happen when you start to live with your own company. Enjoy being present in what you do at every moment, abandoning the impulse to seek out company so that you do not feel your inner self. Learn not to reject the situations you are going through. Whether or not you like them they are something from which you can learn about yourself. When I refuse to live with my own company I am not at peace with myself, often demanding that others act like a performing circus for me, that they fill my life, that they do not bother me, that they decide for me, that they clothe me and protect me.
However, when I am able to live at peace with myself, as if I were alone, without needing or demanding anything else, I also become more generous to others, a better friend, a better sibling, a better colleague and a better person. And for that reason I just need to pay attention to what happens to me as if I were my best friend. This is not a selfish attitude, since I am talking about getting rid of fears. When I lose my fear, love may emerge, love for myself and towards others. It is fear that does not allow me to love myself as I am, to be alone with myself and to enjoy my own company. That peace that I can nurture reaches everything I touch and it can be seen in the fact that I cease to demand that things are otherwise and accept them as they are, in both myself and others.