This is a post I have been writing in my head for a while now and I’m finally going to put it down and send it out to the universe.
Let’s see how this goes.
In the past two years, I’ve done a really great job of isolating myself from a variety of people and opportunities. Intentionally and unintentionally.
Without going over the top on all the dark details behind it, I can suffice it to say that in retrospect I think I needed that time to heal and remember who I am inside… remember my essence or the core of who I am.
It’s strange to consider that the variety of events and accomplishments in my life over the past two years were not always in alignment with how I was feeling inside, but that’s the truth. This isn’t to say that I’m not happy or proud or appreciative of the experiences I’ve had, but they are not direct reflections of what I was internally experiencing and processing.
What I have realized, though, was this inner turmoil I experience serves a purpose.
Which, for me, is a hard pill to swallow.
The whole “suffering has a purpose” concept really grinds my gears, to be quite frank. It’s the same advice I dish out to others when I know they’re going through something, but when the tables are turned and I have to tell myself the same thing, I refuse to take it. It’s maddening to think that there needs to be any level of suffering associated with experiencing the joys and highs of life.
I’ve always been an extroverted personality type. Call it attention seeking or talkative, it’s all the same to me. I know I’ve always had a little motor driving me to connect with people and put myself out there. However, in the last few years, I’ve made good friends with my hidden introverted side. Who knew I even had one?! Not me, not until recently at least. I have never understood the ability to be completely satisfied with engaging in your own thoughts and pondering with no other input. I thrived on external engagement, until slowly but surely it became too much for me to handle.
I can’t place exactly when or why or how this happened to me, and I don’t think it was one isolated event that pushed me to explore my introversion. It just happened. I started to care less and less about putting my thoughts and words out into the world and began to care more about just keeping them to myself for further review.
This slow pruning process started to recreate my typically extroverted disposition toward one that was a little more aloof and less engaged in the ways that I had been engaged before. To consider it positively, I was utilizing new parts of my mind and brain that were otherwise unnoticed and unconsidered. I cut back the different branches of my personality as a landscaper would for an overgrown bush. I trimmed myself down and cut out the excess continually for a while.
Currently, I’m at the point where I’m trying to grow some of those branches back now. To my surprise, some of them have grown back immediately but some have taken their time and others may never grow back at all.
Isolating myself from social engagement truly transformed me in ways I couldn’t have possibly imagined. My appreciation and gratitude for the handful of people that were able to stand by my side during this transitional period of my life have grown immensely.
Furthermore, being able to fully experience and understand the concept of gratitude in the way that I have has been a gift I never could have seen coming. This truly causes me to recognize that there are some aspects of isolating myself I think I needed to go through. How could I ever imagine the depths of gratitude and contentment I feel for the life I am blessed to live without my experiences? Plain and simple – I couldn’t.
I’ve been able to develop such a profound sense of self, while at the same time allowing the sense of ego to dissipate by disconnecting from it all for a while. There’s truly nothing like a good disconnect for a while, and apparently, I needed over a year’s worth of personal experience with it to reap the benefits.
It was painful to exclude myself from different events or occasions during that time. I had no real way to explain to anyone what was going on in my mind and in my soul. But I had to do it. No matter how uncomfortable and unlike me it was, I had to make changes in my life. I had to relearn where my personal boundaries are. What I’m willing to let go of versus the things in life I can’t live without. (I do talk about how some of these experiences are connected to my mental health struggles in this blog post, for anyone who hasn’t yet read it.)
Strangely enough, I had to be pushed to a point where it felt as if I might lose it all. My connection with my family, my relationship, my job, my education, my dog, everything. I truly feel that being pushed to my innermost limits of self-exploration, isolation, and discomfort brought me a profound sense of appreciation and a new lease on life.
Even as I write this post, I’m not fully “recovered” from my period of isolation. There are instances where all I want is be left completely alone and never see or talk to another person ever again. Thankfully, those are few and far between now and I’m able to communicate those needs better than before. But they do still happen.
A big part of what I’ve learned and why I pushed myself to get into blogging and writing about my experiences is that none of us are alone in these struggles. Sure, my personal experiences may not look identical to someone else’s story, but we have a common thread between us. We all struggle. All of us. At one point or another, we are pushed to the brink of sanity and forced to evaluate and make changes. My main goal with sharing snippets of my experiences is to shed light and, hopefully, to empower others to embrace their struggles and vocalize them when they’re ready.
While I write this, no, I’m not fully healed. But I am on the path of healing. However, I’ve asked myself too many times, if I wait to share my story until I’m fully healed, how many people will that really help? Even if one person right now reads this blog and thinks to themselves, “Well this girl has had improvement, maybe it’s time for me to do something for myself” then I’ll consider my goal to be met.
So while I may still be on my journey of learning and growing, I’m working hard at staying heart-focused and living fully in my truth. Some days are more of a challenge than others, but I can’t hide in isolation and stay disconnected forever. My hope is that anyone who reads this and needs a sign that maybe it’s time to evaluate and reconnect, or reassess their current path or trajectory, take this as your cue. It’s time to live your truth and stay heart centered in all you do. It’s a worthy challenge and the lessons you come away with are indescribable at best.
I hope someone who needs this reads it and may the light of the universe accompany you on your journey of heart-focused existence.
Even if everything I just said sounds like a bunch of spiritual mumbo-jumbo 😉