Me in Botswana. April 2017.
Many people don't know themselves, are uncomfortable with themselves, and experience voids within their lives because they can't stand to be alone.
This is why some are constantly in need of being in social settings, being the center of attention, being in romantic relationships, or glued to their tv/laptop/tablet or phone.
We live in a time where not only are the art of relationshipping and building intimacy with others are issues, but experiencing intimacy with ourselves is even a greater issue.
There are so many distractions that people have that keep them from having time with and by themselves. The cure? Creating solo experiences
Solo experiences can be doing anything by yourself:
I started employing solo experiences for myself around 20, when I was in college. As I was regularly in therapy at the time, myself and my therapist, found it beneficial for me to start deplugging and really getting to know myself, by doing things alone. Over the years I just got so comfortable, that now I just feel like I LOVE being by myself. My favorite past time has become travelling solo.
Me on the train in Amsterdam. April 2017
Solo experiences are key to me re-grounding myself, and I have been in need of a major overhaul. Part of the reason there haven't been frequent post was due to blockages I was having around creativity and expression. I somewhat lost touch with myself because of my anxiety, depression and grief. I went on an amazing 3.5 week trip through Southern Africa, and it was astounding. I will surely do some posts on my travels, but I want to just share why travelling solo for me, helped me grow deeper in love with myself.
Me in Maboneng, Johannesburg, South Africa. March 2017.
Me in Granada, Spain
Being alone, I had to trust myself, my judgement and discernment. Travelling solo as a woman, is still a foreign concept to some people, so I had make sure I was open enough to my experiences, but o guard about where I went, and who I interacted with.
I got to see myself through others eyes, and re-realized, wow I'm pretty dope. Sometimes its affirmations from others that leave us to recognize the light within ourselves. For me personally, I rarely acknowledge or give myself credit because I feel like I'm just living my life the best way I know how, but I recognize, just as encourage my readers, we must honor ourselves on a daily basis.
Being alone, always allows one to observe their inner thoughts, and what are thoughts tend to be, is a major indication of whats going on in our lives, or how our lives will be in the future. For me, my greatest moments of growth come when I am alone, with nothing to distract me.
With no alternative voices or stimuli, I can find it much easier to stay present because I am not obliged to give my attention to a person or thing (aka phone).
I believe you get to challenge your own self concept, and step beyond who you are or were, and decided in that experience, who do you want to be. Because an introverted person, on solo experiences, can find that when they want to, they surely can break out of their shell. Or a person that is always afraid of danger, can learn that in their boldness, the world may not be a scary as a place that they've previously thought it to be.
On my recent travel in South Africa, after disclosing my solo journey, many would say, you are so bold! When, in actuality, I don't think so.
I just leave you with this question, what are we afraid of in the world or within ourselves, to prevent us for spending long durations of time alone?
If you and I chatted for the first time, and I blatantly said, may I join your sisterhood, tribe, group of friends, etc., what would you say? How would you feel? If you considered answering yes, what would be the criteria that I would have to fulfill?
Do you honestly feel like you have a strong sisterhood with at least 2-3 women?
Yes, you are the givers of life, and in so many ways, you handle a lot more life and baggage than most men, but having others to check in with, who authentically care about you or who offer to support you and lighten your load is so important.
Outside of settings like school and possibly work, it is difficult for many adults to develop new friendships, and even when you do, you may have an overly romantic or underwhelming idea of what that looks like.
Yet the reality is, life can be challenging at times. Stress is a real thing, and its not always self care activities like yoga, fitness, writing, fitness, etc. that can bring our stress levels down. Sometimes we need human contact, affection and support to get us thru tough times or even a tough day.
According to the Office of Women's Health, the following are signs of stress:
Some of these can also be signs of greater mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
One of the ways to help manage your stress is having and leaning on a supportive network of family and friends that you can talk to. But dare I say, its not just any type of friends. We all have different types of friends, that may serve different purposes. They may be in our lives now because they entered during very different seasons in our lives, whether as children, adolescents, young adults, or in the present. Nonetheless, for the sake of this post, I want you to think about the kind of friends, or sisters, to include in your sisterhood.
A sisterhood would be comprised of a group of women, that would fulfill the criteria above. Every single one not, but collectively they are whole tribe of support. The truth is, no one person can be everything; not even you. This is why its important to have parts of a whole. The women in your sisterhood don't even all have to know or be friends with each other, but if you had to have sleepover/please come pour into me session-my life is in shambles- would you have a group of women you could depend on?
Remember, stress has effects on your health, so its never something you just want to keep inside. Not only would you have your self love tool kit, but you would human outlets that can help you deplug, process, and restart. The power of a sisterhood is that it creates a safe space for you as a woman. We bear a lot of burdens, have so many insecurities, doubt ourselves, compare ourselves, and often have feelings of lack. All the while, we carry on with idea that we can hold weight on our backs, and just continue doing laugh as if the weight is not affecting us.
With a sisterhood, you are reminded you are not alone and don't need to feel like you have to go thru life alone. You are also reminded that someone else, has or is going thru your same or similar stresses. There is simply power in connection.
If a sisterhood is not something you have, lets be grateful that you're in the age of technology bringing people together. Join Facebook groups with interests you have. Look for meetups where you are. Join local women focused membership based organizations. Step out your comfort zone, be vulnerable, and go on sister dates to build relationships!
To have support is honoring thy spirit; the 4th commandment of self love, so be open.