On the Importance of Spending Time With Yourself

The other day I finally worked some soccer games…for 11 hours. I was excited, but nervous, but unsure how to make that work. I haven’t done that in over a year, probably. I wanted to talk about why it’s so important to just spend some time with only yourself (doesn’t have to be 10 hours…could even be 5 minutes to start). You start to realize just how many of your emotions you’ve been holding in and you have to be honest and tough with yourself. It’s easy to “spend time with yourself” by watching tv and eating some comfort food, but it’s more important to turn off these distractions from time to time and really be with yourself.

I’ve realized why I’m scared of being alone with myself. I really crave having my thoughts be full and complete, and just be these small, discrete packages I can recognize. They need to be refined and polished and “finalized”, part of my awfully draining desire for perfection. I seem to feel that every thought that comes out of me means it’s absolutely, 100% true, so I have to be careful with what I’m allowed to think. Which is goofy. My thoughts are affected by my emotions, and if I don’t ever work on organizing all of that, it’s not going to get better.

Here’s what I’ve realized — to get to that refined thought, you have to be willing to comb through all the weird, wild, confusing, nonsense thoughts that flood your mind. You have to be alright with saying things that may not be true in order to get to that truth. You have to make it through the painful, yucky, messed-up ugliness that is your brain. For me, that may mean saying things that are really, really hard to say, like being honest about why my relationships and friendships have broken down. It can be done through a big fat word dump, or through just talking to yourself. Odd as it is, you realize that some of those things you’re speaking ARE truth, or just getting that thought out there shows you that you’re being silly.

It’s really important to recognize your own emotions and thoughts. Like I’ve said before, emotions and feelings are not always facts, just information. Lately I’ve been thinking about human interaction and communication as well as love languages. I wish (aka feel) that everyone could just give a little something more in order to interact just a little better, but the reality is that some things just aren’t optimal. Not that any relationship is easy. They all take work, but how much is too much? Is there such a thing? But it’s important to separate the things you feel and wish for from the reality of what’s possible.

The other reason it’s important to have space to let out these thoughts is that you can be honest with yourself about what you dislike(d) about yourself, but know that it’s not necessarily true. You can get mad at yourself and be upset, and still bounce back from it. You’re free to do all of this when you know that everything you say isn’t going to be true especially if it’s affected by emotions.

For example, I had to stop and take a long look at myself for feeling worn down when just a few months ago, I didn’t have the greatest sympathy for someone who works 12 hour shifts, as a nurse or police officer, for example. I mean, I’m allowed to feel tired from that. But I had to be very honest with myself and be disappointed in myself for not having had more empathy when I really needed it. I felt awful, and I felt full of regret. It’s been eating at me all day but that’s why I realized I need to have these conversations with myself more.

I need to challenge myself, push myself, and stop feeling sorry for myself.

I need to change my mindset and realize the biggest reason that I’m suffering is because of myself. I’m really tired of just saying these things because it really is time to start living it.

I need to spend more time with myself so that I can work through these prickly and gnarly things in my life and work towards something better.

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Jen Xu

Jen Xu

Athletic trainer, coffee lover, looking for a hobby I don’t have time for. I write about fitness, mental health, being Asian-American, and personal growth.