Solitude Is Bliss

Originally published in Esperanto Magazine

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Human beings are social creatures. It is an irrefutable fact of our natures.

Except for when we are asleep, we are in contact with each other almost every minute of the day: in person, via text, over Facebook – getting our regular hits of attention. You are still relevant, our message tone tells us as another piece of mundane information flows through cyberspace and causes our front jean pocket to vibrate. Someone out there is thinking about you.

We crave social interaction, to the point where it is almost definable as a basic need. Food, water, oxygen, and each other. And don’t get me wrong, I am in no way saying that this is necessarily a negative thing – it’s good to feel loved, to find mutual happiness in the smallest of interactions. But it seems to me that we have come to the point where relying on each other is more of a norm than relying on ourselves, and that’s a bad thing.

Seriously, think about it. When was the last time you not only weren’t around anybody else, but also didn’t want to be around anyone else? Didn’t feel like you needed to be around anybody else? Didn’t feel like your own company – and maybe the company of a good book or a movie, a bath, perhaps a glass of wine – was enough? Even worse: when was the last time you were alone with your thoughts? 

If the answer is recently, then I congratulate you. You are doing better than I am. As far as I know you are doing better than most people. Even when I am alone, I block out the voices in my head with nonsensical music or a feel-good TV show. I’ll reach for anything that’s loud enough to drown out the niggling doubts I convince myself I can get rid of. When I have even a second to myself, I am reminded of the quintessentially human concern that has caused so many of the most powerful ripples in history. You are not good enough.

Emotionally, this thought is terrifying enough to send me scurrying back for a brain-numbing dose of Facebook, with the hope it’ll dumb down the likelihood of feeling insecure. But logically, I have a bit of a problem. Not good enough – for what exactly, brain? For boys? Your parents? The popular girls in high school? The concept of the word ‘enough’ comes part and parcel with some kind of implied standard, an expectation that is present but not being met. And it seems to me that since we are the ones labelling the disappointment, we must therefore be the ones creating the expectation. The only people we are not good enough for is ourselves. Which, putting it as simply as I possibly can, is fucking bullshit.

If this awful feeling, this personality-destroying, life-changing phenomena is entirely inward – if it is a creation of our own self-destructive inner voices – then it is subject to our will. If we can’t control our thoughts, then who can? Granted, it’s going to be difficult. It might even be impossible. But hear me out, okay.

We build up our own realities, through the perspectives whatever combination of nature and nurture has shaped up until the present. But they are our perspectives. And it’s about time they learned to fucking listen. The only person whose opinion on whether or not you are ‘good enough’ matters is you, so if you start thinking that you’re good enough then you will be. Simple enough? So start thinking it.

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