In Malaysia, I go through two very important states of being (if you will) on a daily basis that I enjoy a lot.
Solitude, by the Cal Newport definition, involves:
The right way to define “solitude” is as a subjective state in which you’re isolated from input from other minds.
When we think of solitude, we typically imagine physical isolation (a remote cabin or mountain top), making it a concept that we can easily push aside as romantic and impractical. But as this book makes clear, the real key to solitude is to step away from reacting to the output of other minds: be it listening to a podcast, scanning social media, reading a book, watching TV or holding an actual conversation. It’s time for your mind to be alone with your mind — regardless of what’s going on around you.
Also, to put some extra-elaboration on what Cal Newport says on this issue, of which I agree:
Regular doses of solitude are crucial for the effective and resilient functioning of your brain.
Spending time isolated from other minds is what allows you to process and regulate complex emotions. It’s the only time you can refine the principles on which you can build a life of character. It’s what allows you to crack hard problems, and is often necessary for creative insight. If you avoid time alone with your brain your mental life will be much more fragile and much less productive.
So, what does this mean for me right now in Malaysia:
Part of my job is socializing, exchanging, eating, etc. But another part of my personal goals here is the opportunity to start filling my time in solitude in small doses to build up into higher doses. This includes time spent reading, writing, and meditating. I’ve been lucky enough to do a few of these things while I’ve been here, all while being incredibly social. One way I’ve found to meditate is doing henna on myself again, which I used to do in high school. It’s relaxing, especially the smell. But beyond that it’s more or less just you, doing, low exertion, and not thinking about anything. Oftentimes, we think a lot.
Another thing I want to do more is the opposite of the type of meditation I do while doing henna, which involves deep thinking and deep working. Deep working involves challenging myself, considering a lot of issues, and doubting my perspective.
Enough about that, I had meant to talk more about sociability in Malaysia and some of my adventures, but I want to at this moment talking about my future husband and I instead because I am so happy with us.
During my lifetime, I’ve often times wondered if the worst parts of who I am were going to be something I could change. I wondered if I’d always be a broken person. I got on track with myself and liking who I am, but I felt like the dark things about me were regarding how I interacted with others. I wondered if I could have a family and if I could be capable of being a good partner. Could I learn to communicate effectively, kindly, and even when I didn’t want to? I think I must have believed, before Jared, that I would never truly resolve this. My biggest fear at the bottom of all of my relationships were the idea that I wasn’t going to be able to work in it. I would be the problem.
But I’m not the problem, which I know. And I can be a better person. I already am. But the things that I struggle with don’t need to be impossible.
A real and good support system includes people who help you want to make yourself a better communicator, a kinder person, and a loving person. I want to be all of these things. But I definitely need to work on it. I want to work hard with someone who supports and loves me. Jared is giving. He is loving. He is supportive. And he is willing to make things easier for me; He is willing to work hard to become a better person and a better partner. He shows me every day how easy it is to show love, rather than frustration, hate, anger, and impatience.