I’ve always believed that alone time is valuable time. There is a big difference between being “lonely” and being “alone,” as the first dictates a need for companionship and the latter reveals a sort of independent energy.
The time you make for yourself and invest energy in conversation with yourself makes you better able to tend to your needs and desires. You depend less on others and find safety in yourself; and–let’s face it–a self-sufficient individual makes for a more attractive partner, period.
As someone who is always on the search to know herself and to find ways to better treat herself, I have a few “mantras”–if you will–that allow me to respond positively to life and love myself at the same time. As Annie Dillard once wrote: “The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.” So, in the spirit of Dillard, I share with you some mantras of mine that I personally like to live by. Do with it what you will.
“You are what you eat.”
Clean and healthy eating has positive effects on the body for a reason as it can bring light to the eyes, a healthy glow to the skin and a natural energy to the body. Much of the American diet weighs our bodies down and, although I’m not a full-out health-conscious freak, I do believe that taking care of what you put into your body allows yourself to better behave in the real world. (But don’t do yourself a disservice and allow yourself to indulge at times.)
Surround yourself with positive thoughts and people.
I like to take after role models and inspirations that can benefit me, for their ideas feed the mind, too. The ideas and topics we allow ourselves to open up to–whether it be learning self-love, fighting for gender equality, supporting controversial ideas or small businesses–ultimately become a part of us. What we learn and how we react towards the people and ideas around us say a lot about ourselves. But most importantly: It gives us character. Feed yourself good information, read up on the world and your position in it, and take after empowering role models.
Everything you are starts with what you put into yourself. Whether we’re talking mentally or physically, it’s all the same. Your body is a temple; treat it well.
Have faith and surrender to the flow of life.
Whenever I tell friends that “life is beautiful” or “life is easy,” I’m often met with faces of disapproval and disbelief. Albeit, it’s easier said than done, but much of what makes our lives hard is what we do to complicate it.
Rather than focusing all our energies on the details and worrying if something will turn out a certain way, we ought to trust that things will turn out as they will. We cannot control the things that are out of our control; we can only control how we respond to them. Create your own waves and, by example, positively influence those around you. Having faith in yourself allows you to have faith in others.
Less is more.
You don’t need a lot of things to make you happy. Life gets difficult when you’re constantly chasing what you don’t have and wanting more than what you currently have. It’s totally okay to be ambitious and want more for yourself, but drop your need for social approval–or need to prove yourself as something to the world, period. It gets exhausting.
Our times as a child are oftentimes the happiest because we find joy in the simple things. Return to your inner-child and let yourself shine for who you are. The people and things that belong in your life will be there.
Past experiences make you stronger.
To some, the past is something that is fiercely blocked out; for others, it remains a pleasant memory. Whatever moment in your past brings trouble to you, I have found that the path towards mental, emotional and physical stability is to have acceptance. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of difficulties; though, accepting what has happened in the past only allows you to better move on in the present. Letting go of your past demons, mistakes or unfortunate circumstances should be turned into looking forward to how you can make yourself a stronger, more well-rounded person out of this.
As my favorite actress/social-activist/new mother Olivia Wilde has recently told Glamour: “I really grew up with my first husband. Now I’m in a much wiser, more centered place in life. I think if we can see people in our lives as chapters, we have a much healthier perspective about the whole thing.”
We wouldn’t be who we are if it weren’t for our past experiences. Forgive yourself, make mistakes, and move on.
Last but not least, my main and central mantra:
Have you ever taken yourself out on the town? Watch some cheesy movie just because it made you feel good? Or go to a concert just because you wanted to hear the music yourself?
Okay, I may be one of the few, but whatever it is that makes you happy, don’t cheat yourself from it, no matter how scary it may be.
Think: If you were to sit across from yourself at the dinner table, what would you want to know? You’d want to know what you’re passionate about, what makes you happy and what you like to do, yes?
These are the kind of things that allow you to be in charge of your happiness. Only you know what can make you happy, and that gets you through and keeps you moving in life. Dressing yourself up, jamming out to old tunes and binging on TV or wine are just a couple of ways you rejuvenate yourself. Answer to yourself so others don’t have to.
And, find what makes you lovable and what still needs fixing in you. After all, how can you expect someone else to love you if you can’t even love yourself?
When you date yourself, you discover your flaws; you realize what types you’re compatible with; you find what you really love and value; and you may realize just how frightening it is to go somewhere alone.
Being a better partner, lover, brother, mother or citizen of this society starts with how good you feel about yourself. The path towards a true sense of independence, self-love and freedom from restraint starts with a happy you. We are all attracted to happy people so, when you allow yourself to become honest and own yourself, only then will you see just how beautiful life can be. Life suddenly becomes richer when you find that love really is the energy that binds us all together. And it all starts with you.