Being left alone with your thoughts can be more than exhausting. It can lead to an endless loop of questioning your integrity, your self. The part you should never question. Right?
Maybe so. But how can one question himself when he doesn’t know himself?
“But I do know myself.”, you might say. Okay, fine. You say you do, and I believe you.
Then let me ask you another question.
If you know yourself, then all the decisions you’d make would benefit you, right?
This is my version of being alone with my thoughts. I question myself. I philosophize and sometimes even degrade my own existence, my own self. That’s why so many people are afraid of being left alone with their own thoughts. They usually lead us nowhere except into ever-growing anxiety, which we all so much fear.
That’s why we occupy ourselves with work. We hang around with people we don’t even truly know. We try to fill our time with activities that we know ahead of time will have no positive impact on our future.
I used to say “I’m busy” all the time. There are busy people in this world that can hardly find time to squeeze in a thirty-minute meeting, but that was never me. I was “busy” for another reason.
When my father asked me if I could help him with something around the house, I’d say this terrible phrase and resume playing video games, like it was more important than helping out somebody I cared for.
When my mother asked me if I could do the dishes, I said that I was “busy” because I was meeting my friends so that we could sit in their room and “chill.”
I was “busy” all the time. My social life consisted of people I played video games with, and that was pretty much it.
I was keeping myself busy from myself. From the part of me that needed nourishment. Like a flower needs water to grow, I had to listen to my thoughts. There were days when I didn’t want to sleep just because I was afraid of dreaming. I didn’t want to wake up and think about dreams since that felt like a waste of time, something bizarre.
There was a quote by Buddha I once read that summarizes this idea perfectly:
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can, and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” — Buddha
We are the only ones that can save ourselves. We need to be able to say hello to our thoughts and welcome them with a mental hug. Accept them for what they are — tiny clouds of information that are a part of us.
Why would we want to fight with ourselves?
What good will that do? Make us resentful towards ourselves?
We’ve already got way too many problems in the outer world, so having another set of those in the inner world doesn’t sound like a good nor reasonable thing to do. Nevertheless, there we are. Thinking about thinking about being able to think. I’m even starting to lose myself with all these thoughts about thoughts, so I’ll get back to the part of the importance of having some alone time.
Even Socrates understood the importance of spending time with your thoughts, with a short little statement:
“To find yourself, think for yourself.” — Socrates
All great minds first had to learn how to think for themselves before starting to grow towards greatness.
I truly believe that we all can think for ourselves if we only want to. I’ve struggled with this for years, for I was always following the thoughts of others. I did not consider questioning the path I was prescribed because, deep underneath, I was scared of the answers I might find. The answers which could free my potential and make me break out of the little prison, I let myself be put in.
About two years ago, I finally found the keys to free myself from my so closed mind. It was the most freeing feeling I’ve ever felt in my life. I did not know how much that action would impact my sight of the world.
I finally realized that I knew almost nothing of myself and that there was still so much to learn, to experience. I finally felt what it means to be lost. To be alone with your thoughts. Ever since that day, I have been striving to get to know myself.
What do you do when you realize that you know nothing of yourself?
What do you do when you realize that you are clueless about the world?
What do you do when you realize that you were living somebody else’s life?
Well, you can try to lock yourself up again and rebuild the safety net, or you stand up and try to find an answer to these questions. It’s entirely up to you, but let me tell you one thing. Sooner or later, the safety net is cut from beneath your feet, and you are on your own. The faster we realize that we are the only ones that can free ourselves, the faster we can find ourselves.
The day I cut that net was the day I was born for the second time. I cried. I laughed. I killed a part of myself. But here I am. Standing on my own two feet with my head up high, always facing the challenges of my night.
“Know thyself.” — Socrates