(*A video by fiilmaker, Andrea Dorfman, and poet/singer/songwriter, Tanya Davis.*)
Have you seen this video yet? It was floating around on Facebook for a while a few months ago. Two of my friends shared it with me. I wish more people would take the time to check it out. Not only is it beautifully shot, but the message itself is extremely important.
Hear me out: I’m not writing a post about swearing off romantic relationships, and friend dates, and trying to convince readers to date themselves for a year, or anything like that. I’m just trying to suggest trying something new if you’re not accustomed to spending some quality time with yourself.
Have you ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality test? The last few times I’ve taken the test over the years my results are consistent: ENFJ. Although I’m an extrovert I reap great benefit from spending time with myself. I enjoy taking time to do things alone.
Some people really don’t get it, and I think it’s because in our society – to an extent – people have a fear of doing things alone. (When was the last time you did some of these things in the video?) To be alone with your thoughts, with your feelings, really noticing how you react to things going on around you. Omitting outside distractions (like your smart phone that has you constantly connected to a social network,) and just being with yourself.
This practice for me really began while I was still in college. At first I’d go for long walks and just explore campus, or go lay a blanket out on the green and read, or take a trip to the park and circle the lake and watch the ducks. I think my activities really started to expand the summer following my sophomore year. I lived in London for six weeks with the study abroad program through Florida State. Living in a city that is so enmeshed in culture provides thousands of opportunities. Of course, I went on plenty of outings and adventures with all different people in the program, but sometimes there were things other people didn’t feel like partaking in. I realized hello?! How often do we pass up awesome chances because someone doesn’t want to go somewhere with us? So what! Go anyways. So, I’d take myself down to Trafalgar Square and wander The National Gallery looking at art for as long as I wanted, or I’d stock up on amazing deals at this cool music store, or I went and watched the Queen’s “birthday parade” (The Trooping of the Colors.) I have a slight obsession with the Royal Family, and this is one that later other people wish they’d gone with me for. I felt more alive in those very moments than I have in my entire life.
Upon crossing back over the pond I was determined not to let this just be some “London thing” in my life. That’s when I started going to concerts and movies and other kind of entertainment even if no one was interested in joining me. Now, sometimes it really is incredible to share an experience like an amazing concert when you’re with a friend who has the same level of appreciation for the band as you, but there are times when I’ve definitely preferred soaking up these events on my own. I was able to stay for as long as I wanted, and can avoid things like someone asking questions throughout the movies. Sometimes it’s nice to go to a coffee shop or a park and just read for a while, or write uninterrupted. Lately I’ve taken to crafting and listening to my records turned up real loud when I have the house to myself.
A few weekends ago I picked up some frozen yogurt and went and watched My Week with Marilyn at the second chance movie theater. ($6 bucks in total – I’m a cheap date 😉
I know this isn’t new territory or anything but because of the reactions I get from my friends sometimes about these activities, I felt like it was important to share.
I think being comfortable spending time on your own – reflecting on your life, your passions, what excites you and irritates you is really beneficial. Remember how Carrie Bradshaw told us the most important relationship we can have is with ourselves? I believe there’s an immense amount of truth behind that. It’s healthy to know ourselves, and I think it’s helpful in other aspects of our lives – especially our relationships with others. How do we expect someone else to get to know us, without knowing ourselves?
So, this is my challenge to you – take yourself on a date. If that freaks you out, start small like the video, but I have a feeling you’ll be surprised. Have a great weekend everyone!