For about a month, I’ve been sleeping before 11pm every night. But just a few nights back, I had no choice but to sleep later than usual because of work. Before I knew it, it was fast approaching 2am—not that late by most people’s standards. I suddenly felt so alone, and somewhat down because I thought of late night conversations I used to have. It had become a habit for me, and I really wasn’t going to just ‘get over it’ in an instant. I went as quickly as I could to bed, but instead of sleeping, I started tearing—which came almost as a surprise to me. I sent an SMS to my friend, and she replied almost instantly. It made me feel ‘okay’ again, and I could go to sleep. I didn’t realise how dependent I was on the people around me until that night.
I’ve spent a few days thinking about it. And I realised that I haven’t been totally comfortable with myself. I constantly require the attention of people around me. I cannot stand eating alone, going for lessons alone (I’ve never taken a course alone before!), etc. The only things I do alone are studying and shopping. Although the people around me see me as someone who’s independent and confident, in all honesty, I seem to allow the people around me to determine my self-worth.
Your self-worth isn’t determined by how many friends you have on facebook, or how many SMSes you get in a day, or even how many people laugh at your jokes. And really, if there’s just that one single person whom you know will do everything and anything they can for you, you are worth a hell lot. For those, like me, who believe in a God, you should know how precious you are, especially since we’re made in the image and likeness of God. For those who don’t believe, just look at your family. As much as they might not express their love for you explicitly, you can bet that they would give up their lives for you—that’s how much you mean to them.
Yes, it is important to have family and friends around you that care. And it’s true that to a large extent, they keep you going, and make your life more exciting, and well, that much more manageable. But after all that’s said and done, it’s also equally (if not more) important to be comfortable with yourself—to be able to do things on your own, at your own pace. Being comfortable with yourself means that we must love ourselves for who we are, and not allow others to dictate who we ought to be. However strange it sounds, we should learn to enjoy the company of ourselves!
The fear of loneliness can also be traced to the fear of silence. This is especially the case in a world that is bombarded with sounds, action, music, etc. Without silence, there can be no stillness, and without stillness, we are in essence, blocking out God’s voice. The lyrics to a song aptly sums this up: ‘my human nature shouts the things to do, and God’s soft prompting can be easily ignored’. Silence and stillness can be slightly uncomfortable initially, but I know that with this realisation of this fear I have, I can start learning how to overcome it.
Back to the idea of being comfortable with oneself, sometimes, just knowing that there are actually people around you who love you, is good enough consolation in the moments of perceived loneliness.I shall end of this post with one of my favourite quotes from a book Mummy and Daddy got me when I was in primary school.
Even though I might not tell you everyday that ‘I love you’, may never a moment go by without you knowing I do.