We live in a world where we are constantly busy busy. Even by ourselves we can fill our time now to the brim with all the new digital applications. Agendas are overloaded, everyone is multi-tasking and even sleep is restless with BlackBerrys by the bed.
But if you take all these sources of stimulation away and are left just to be, what is left and how do we feel about it?
I cannot stand nothingness - no one around me, absence of things to do, silence.
It immediately triggers a familiar feeling of abandonment that developed early in childhood, switching countries and homes too many times.
I also don't fundamentally trust myself on my own. It is like I am like a kid left in a room by my parents and I don't know when they are coming back. All kinds of infantile fears rise up. Will I be able to sleep? Will someone break in? Will I hurt myself?
It is worse when my husband has been with me and I stay on a few nights by myself. Most people would see this as a blessing, extra rest and downtime. I get rigid with anxiety as soon as his energy leaves the room.
I envy all those people who like going on holidays by themselves or spending all day in their own company. They seem so secure in themselves, book in hand and an air of self-satisfaction.
If I can't spot my husband in a shopping centre for one second I will send out the search party.
This may all sound very neurotic but it is actually a lot more frequent than I realised.
I have intelligent 30+ friends who hate staying in their family home alone or dread taking a plane by themselves. One has to sleep with their dog and another has to take sleeping pills.
It is clear that we have become afraid of silence or non-connection but I think it goes deeper than this. I believe we have developed a basic phobia of being by ourselves.
In times gone by we would have walked for miles to work or ridden a horse and had hours alone. It would have provided such a great soul searching opportunity. Time to check in our subconscious, how we feel about things, to think about the past and anticipate the future.
I know that when alone I initially feel like I have been turned inside out or have totally lost my bearings. It is as if I have to look into a mirror and I really do not want to catch a glimpse.
Then after the inner struggle I feel a sense of relief and acceptance. I can sit in my own energy and it feels okay, even good. Ideas come to me and if I am lucky I will nod off.
But more often than not this inner tranquillity is replaced instead by panic. I do not know what to do with myself, I fidget, I worry about anything and everything and have the worst sleep. I usually end up crying down the phone to my hubbie like a five year old.
Fundamentally I believe that this all comes down to lack self-worth, which I talked about in my previous blog (why not believing in yourself is a self fulfilling prophesy).
I jump at the chance of hanging out with my dear friends who I love and respect. But I just don't like being with me. 'I' has less value to me than 'others'. So I choose their energy rather than my own. It is no wonder that I am left feeling upside down as soon as my own energy takes over. I am a mishmash of everybody else. It is quite crazy. It is the equivalent of going home to someone else's house every night instead of your cosy own one or becoming a doctor even though you're better at the arts. Me phobia is a happiness inhibitor.
I knew that the only way to get over my phobia was to confront me myself and I.
I am now forcing myself to spend time on my Jack Jones as a sort of loneliness bootcamp. I make myself spend nights alone, sit in a room all by myself and travel alone.
I am slowly finding out what the inner me really likes, what makes me feel easy and what doesn't. If I panic I rationally send those childish fears away as my parents should have done.
Why is this all so important to me?
I know that I need to know myself fully to become a mother. If I fret and angst in front of my child I will just transfer negative emotions to him or her. If my foundations are wobbly so will be his or hers.
I heard recently about a child that goes to bed with the house keys. She is so worried that her parents will leave her during sleep-time. All kids fear night time and need total reassurance that sleep is simply a temporary separation. If I have the same anxieties as my baby to be I will fuel rather than stem the problem.
Being happy with me is one of the main keys to getting pregnant. I know that now. If I feel good around me a baby will be a happy addition to my life and not a desperate filler of the void.
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