How to Reconnect with Yourself
I’ve always considered myself a number of romantic things: a creative, an independent, a writer, an adventurer… a lover of life. And recently, slowly, subtly, without me ever really realising, I lost that nostalgic, gentle part of my soul.
I’m not sure when it happened, or even why. Perhaps in Spain when I lay sobbing my heart out on a warm summer’s day. I lay on my friend’s lap, absolutely heartbroken at the devastating amount of loneliness I felt being surrounded by my friend’s in their happy relationships, my family and childhood friends all at home in sunny South Africa. Maybe it occurred last year when I decided to jump back into citylife in Joburg, guns blazing, demanding life to take notice of me, just like every other city-hustler but not really satisfied with what I had created for myself. But if I’m really honest with myself which I honestly try to do as much as possible, I think it came on unknowingly; a cancer of the soul – killing my colour, turning me grey.
We all think, at one point or another, that Life is survivable; just keep your head above the water. Not “just keep swimming” more like just keep treading… And so I lost myself. Obviously I found glimpses of Aurelia; shards of the mirror inside me. I saw my heart full of love when I fell for my best friend. I found my purpose when I discovered Creative Consciousness coaching and the power of my own vulnerability. But it wasn’t until about 2 weeks ago that I fully saw the gaping hole of my own making. How can one be so complete and yet so wayward at the same time?
You see, and it is scary to think it so simple, I stopped dating myself. That’s all. I stopped being Whole Aurelia who loved herself enough to go explore the wide world alone. I stopped gyming alone because I needed my best friend to hold my hand. I allowed my social anxiety to “make” me stay at home. Why would I leave the comfort of my home when I have the best boyfriend in the world, my books, WiFi and Playstation? And this is by no means Bae’s fault or problem. Nobody drives this 28 year old conscious station wagon but me (I don’t know why out of all possible cars I’d be that but I just would be and I’m not questioning it). I stopped loving myself because I thought others loving me was enough. But it’s not.
Once I made that realisation, it became quite clear what I needed to do. I needed to reconnect to that vibrant side of myself again. Start saying “YES” to things that deserved a yes, because fuck anxiety actually. Start saying “no” to the destructive habits that I had created.
To be honest, I had no idea where to start besides focusing on my eating and going to gym, with or without a gym buddy. I asked my social media peeps to help me out and between all of us, here is a list of different things that we all do to reconnect with ourselves:
- Write down all the things! Let the cathartic word vomit just spew all over the pages. Automatic writing only works when you switch off what you think you’re supposed to write and just jot down whatever comes to mind, without judgement or reason. Find a quiet hygge nook, and let it flow, don’t worry about what comes out.
- Read. Choose a book and absorb it. Dive into those pages and find parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed. I personally love a good and epic fantasy but I decided to utilise my car-time more productively, so I listen to non-fiction audio books. We all need a little self-help from time to time. So now I read for my heart and listen for my mind.
A capacity, and taste, for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.
— Abraham Lincoln
- Allow yourself to be vulnerable with those around you. The more you connect with others, the more you connect to yourself. The power of heart space is an incredible thing – it mirrors itself. Kind of like “namaste” – I honour in you what is in me.
- Be independent. Make sure that you can do things without relying on those around you, so that there’s never an opportunity for you to cop out because someone else has “let” you. Whether it’s going grocery shopping, going to the gym, doing some sort of challenge, a diet, whatever it is. Be comfortable enough to depend on yourself.
- Date yourself. I started doing this while living in Spain. I had a handful of friends that liked doing different activities. Often I had vast amounts of free time that I didn’t know what to do with. So I started adventuring into the city by myself (which reverts to my previous point). I would go sit at a typical Spanish coffee shop, drink my cafe con leche with a good book or my Spanish study notes, I’d walk around the city and people watch, I’d go on holiday by myself. Learning to enjoy my own company was probably the best thing I learned while living abroad. I’ve lost that somewhere along the way but I’ve committed to doing more of that; having a relationship with Self.
- The next point is simple enough; do the things that light a fire in your belly. We often know what things make us happy, but sometimes we procrastinate in doing them. I have no idea why. Some part of us, I think, prefers to complain and wallow a bit in our victimhood. It’s easier to be in that space than be pro-active because once we make a decision to do something, we’re supposed to go out and do it, which requires not only energy but also stamina. I know exercising makes me feel complete and fulfilled yet I’ll choose to sleep in or play PlayStation instead. No no, Aurelia. Choose option number 1! So I’m committing to get back into my yoga routine because it makes me take time out of my day to focus on my body and mind at the same time. Win win!
- Step out of your comfort zone. When we get comfortable with where we’re at in life, we get complacent. Don’t throw yourself in the deep end, have a near drowning experience and then swear to never leave your safe space ever again. Take little steps. Challenge yourself to take a different route home, get out of bed ten minutes earlier, compliment a stranger. The great thing about being human is that we constantly adapt to our surroundings, so what was once scary, then becomes the norm. And that, my friends, is how we grow – one small change at a time.
Be willing to step outside your comfort zone once in a while; take the risks in life that seem worth taking. The ride might not be as predictable if you’d just planted your feet and stayed put, but it will be a heck of a lot more interesting.
– Edward Whitacre Jr.
- Actively take part in your decisions. This is easier said than done. We live in a world where setting our minds to auto-pilot is so normal that we all do it without thinking. Usually, the driver or pilot has to actively push the button that allows them to take a back seat. But we’ve created a system where we wake up, work, go home, sleep in a haze of technological and emotional noise. Start noticing the decisions you make. Only once you’ve done that can you acknowledge the consequence or repercussion that follows it which puts you in a space of control. Choose when to shut down and switch off because, let’s be honest, we all need to from time to time. It’s when we do it without realising it that we’ve lost control of our own lives. Then we’re just little robots in the system.
- Redefine your social media. There are two types of people in this world currently: those who shun social media and those who thrive on it. I am the latter. But I’ve created an online space that serves me. I choose very carefully whom and what to follow. I want to be surrounded (by this I mean the interweb) by pictures, people and videos that inspire, help me think outside the box, question my ideas and opinions and push me to grow. Delete the wankers that make you doubt yourself. Create a continuous stream of awesomeness instead.
- Following that point, know when to unplug. Don’t waste your time scrolling when you could be actively participating in your life. Be present without the need for outside stimuli. Nurture the little seed inside yourself to be content in your own being, without the need to grab your phone.
Connecting to yourself is not the easiest of tasks and if you’re one the few people that have taken on this mighty responsibility, I truly applaud you. You deserve to have a relationship with yourself. You deserve to feel noticed and acknowledged. The funny thing is that we don’t need that from others but from ourselves. So go out there and love yourself!
If there’s anything that you do that I’ve missed, please comment and let me know 🙂 I’d love to try it.