The joy of inspiring yourself
For a majority of people, these last few months in quarantine have been quite lonely. Social isolation, for many, has meant total isolation, as friends and family members remain quarantined in their respective homes. Though most are able to recognize that being in isolation is the best decision for the health of them and their loved ones, that doesn’t mean that it has been easy to live without the physical presence of those we care about.
I myself began to struggle with loneliness early in my quarantine experience. I have remained in isolation with only my mother with me at home for over two months. Though I initially believed myself to be “immune” to isolation-related sadness due to my introverted nature, I soon realized that even the most reserved among us are feeling the effects of the separation.
After wallowing in my seclusion for a few weeks, it occurred to me that perhaps time away from the friends I depend on so much for my joy and inspiration could teach me something about myself — and, that maybe I could learn to find that same inspiration and joy without the help of others.
Pre-quarantine me often found herself melding her personality to fit in with the people she surrounded herself with. Spending time with a free-spirit type would evoke mindfulness and a meditative state-of-mind, while hanging out with someone more analytical would activate my left brain.
I realized that maybe I had lost myself in the midst of the people I surrounded myself with. Luckily, self-isolation presented a perfect opportunity to remedy this crisis-of-self and rediscover the things that I like about myself. ”
— Alex Carlon '21
When quarantine began I no longer had these different personality types surrounding me 24/7 and coaching my brain into thinking in these different ways. I was left with just me, and I realized that maybe I had lost myself in the midst of the people I surrounded myself with. Luckily, self-isolation presented a perfect opportunity to remedy this crisis-of-self and rediscover the things that I like about myself.
I began by taking a mental inventory: What unique activities do I enjoy? What values make up my core belief system? What characteristics set me apart from others? By doing so, I was able to identify ways in which I could find joy and inspiration within myself. Activities that I had abandoned due to lack of time, or lack of friends who shared the same interest, became a vein of inner-bliss. A return to journaling and creative writing allowed me to explore my ambitions, and find motivation in the way that I’ve achieved my life goals. All in all, alone time was a way for me to reflect on myself and my relationships. What I found was that depending on myself for happiness reaped an exponentially better mental state than depending on others.
To put it simply, being away from the people that mean the most to you sucks. Our loved ones shape the way we live our lives and support us through difficult times. That being said, time away from our social circle can be a perfect opportunity for a much-needed mental check-in. Explore hobbies you’ve abandoned, take time to journal and remember all of the attributes that make you who you are. Learn to love spending time with yourself, and become your own inspiration.