About Solitude

Grayscale Photo of Chair Inside the Establishment

Letters to my unborn child.

If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in the bad company.
~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Hey, kiddo.

I will be writing letters to you. I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did, and as any parent I want you to become better than I am. I want you to become the best version of yourself, and realize all your potential, but much more than that I want you to be happy.

There are so many things I need to tell you. Of course, now I have no idea whether you will be an extrovert or introvert. Genetically you have a higher chance to be extroverted, but it doesn’t matter. As a matter of fact, you will need other people to a certain degree.

If you are like me, there will be days in your life when you suffer from the absence of friends, there will be days when we, your family, will not be around, there will be days when you will think that there is no one out there who cares. There will be days of loneliness, and nights of self-digging and I can tell you only one thing. It’s normal. It’s natural. You will be ok.

First I have experienced it when I came to Canada in 2009. I was unhappy to discover that I changed my home-city with a population of under 2m people to a small town with the population of 150k. Welcome to Canada. It was freezing cold, and the wind was crawling under your skin to steal the last traces of warmth. First time in my life, I found myself with no friends, no family, with a very little idea of who I was. It was unbearable.

Depression.

I was living in my head. I let all of the external conditions to lead me to the negative states. I was sleeping, I was blind, I was stupid, and I was weak. I was depressed. Loneliness was eating me from the inside, and it brought me so much suffering. I complained all the time, and it was my personal mind trap that I strengthened myself day by day. I was blaming the country, my teachers, I was blaming the weather and the city, I was blaming everyone including myself. And I felt pity for myself. The worst thing ever. What happened to me in Canada is a matter for the whole another story. The long story short is that I fell so low, that I almost hit the bottom. I saw the bottom and it scared me. I had two choices: I start crawling up, or I perish. So I started to crawl.
The life lesson of today is what I learned back in my days there:

Transcend your loneliness to solitude.

The most transformational things you will do when you are alone. You will implement small, incremental changes that are unnoticeable to other people, they will be able to see them only in dynamics when the change is accumulated. If you put a slug of iron in a barrel and start adding a melted gold drop by drop, after some time the barrel will be full of gold, and no one will see that there was iron once. Elevate your attitude towards being alone from loneliness to solitude. Drop by drop.

We suffer because of our ego.

We suffer because the world is not the way we imagine it in our heads. We suffer because we are resisting to what happens to us. We suffer because of the way we think about ourselves. We resist whereas all we need to do is to surrender.
The most fascinating and interesting peculiarity about the ego is its self-dissolving quality. Your ego brings you to suffering, you get tired of suffering and you start to ask the right questions, questions lead you to the truth, and finally, the crumbles of truth once they are found, start to slowly kill the ego. After some time, I got tired of suffering. I started to ask the right questions, I was getting the right answers, and eventually, I realized something.

Nothing is changing while you complain.

There are only two ways of living. You either fall or you rise. There is no third option. Even if you feel that you hover over one place it is an illusion. You decay in stagnation. You are falling down.

Never feel pity for yourself. While you are alive everything is possible.
Never doubt. What is possible to think of is possible to materialize.
Never complain. If you formulate a complaint in your head you automatically assign a status of a victim to yourself.

At all costs try to avoid granting yourself the status of the victim. No matter how abominable your condition may be, try not to blame anything or anybody: history, the state, superiors, race, parents, the phase of the moon, childhood, toilet training, etc. The menu is vast and tedious, and this vastness and tedium alone should be offensive enough to set one’s intelligence against choosing from it. The moment that you place blame somewhere, you undermine your resolve to change anything;

~ Joseph Brodsky

Be confident and daring. If you feel that the whole world is falling apart, it is not. You are. Put your shit together. I had to, and I did. It was not an easy way, especially for an extrovert like me, but I self-taught myself how to enjoy the activities that solitude gifts you. Reading. Exercising. Writing. Playing music. Long walks with plenty of time to think.

You will transform. Accept it. Embrace the transformation. Solitude will become a beautiful thing. It will become an inspiration, not a burden. During hanging out or “chilling” with friends you will more and more catch yourself on thoughts like:

“ Damn what am I doing with my time?”

Solitude will call you. Every single minute you invest in yourself you grow your wings. In the process of learning how to fly, you will fall, and sometimes the ground will hit you hard. Don’t give up. As in aikido, you will learn how to fall. As in boxing, you will learn how to keep getting up.
On my way of falling and rising, I found another puzzle of my mindset.

In order to love yourself, you need to earn respect from yourself.

Marginal changes in a daily routine, one step at a time. One more push-up. One more page of a book. One more day without indulging in your bad habits. Little by little you earn your own respect, you learn the mechanisms of achievements and rewards, you learn how to celebrate small wins. Sometime after you will start liking yourself for your victories over yourself, you will start seeing changes in your body, in your perception, in the difference of past and current reactions on events and people around you. You will learn a lot about yourself.

“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.”
~ Lao Tzu

And one day you will notice a shine.
A new little beam of love inside you. Small but stable. Foster it. Bring it up. The rest becomes just a matter of practice. Since it makes a lot of sense that we do not struggle when we spend time with someone we love you can understand why it becomes extremely easy to stay alone for longer spans of time once you start loving yourself. Congratulations. You stood on the path of solitude mastery.
When I grew older I understood the true nature of my past depression.

Depression happens only to people who have enough time to feel like shit

All the important things in life are unbelievably simple. But the way of crystallization of your mindset into a system of convictions that is both rigid and flexible, and most importantly working, takes a lifetime. At the end of the day you can improve your life by asking yourself two simple questions:

What is important for you?

What is annoying you?

And you start to eliminate the latter and do more of the former. Using these two questions can change you in a way you can’t even imagine.

Keep yourself busy.

Understand the nature of your mind, understand how it works, and channel your attention into creation or learning. Everything we focus on increases in strength, and if the idea is strong enough it eventually get a physical form. That’s it.

“What we think we become”
~ Buddha

Your potential energy will splash all over the places chaotically if you will not learn how to align it to a strong vector. Build your principles and your belief system carefully, the things you plant in the first half of your life will without a doubt call you to reap the harvest in the second, so the final thought of the day goes like this:

Take your time.

The time when you are alone is a beautiful time. Invest it in yourself. Meditate. Find your center and let it be your anchor so that the vanity of the daily life couldn’t shatter the strength of your intention. Find a way to the source inside you, and it will keep reminding you who you truly are.

Loneliness is a human to the power of 2.
~ Joseph Brodsky

Take the time that is yours to the very last grain in those invisible sand-watches behind your back. Tic-tac, tic-tac…Well, I guess that is not exactly the sound it makes, but you get the point.
And if you still feel lonely at times, read my letters to you.

I am here, between the lines.
I love you. Be good.

 

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