So, I’m on the plane on my way to Bali for Krista Jane’s Boom Boom Pow retreat. To say I’m a little nervous is an understatement. And it’s probably not for the reasons one would assume. In fact, it’s nothing to do with the retreat at all. I’m not anxious about what I’ll discover about my self or being introduced to new people or Bali belly or being mugged or trying new things, but for something most people would consider blissful. I’m flying in by myself and spending two days on my own...
I’ve never been a fan of my own company - something I’ve certainly been working on over the past 3 years. I didn’t like my own company because I didn’t really like me very much. Being alone was something that scared the shit out of me. What would I do? Would I go crazy hearing my thoughts go round and round and round? What would happen to me without the distraction of others? How could I do things on my own? And why would I do them just to please myself anyway? It always seems more fun and less scary when there is someone else around.
I’ve always been envious of those people who go on a holiday and within 5 minutes they’ve made a bunch of new friends - who they are inviting out to dinner or drinks. This has never been me. In fact, I’m very rarely on the receiving end of these people either. Sometimes I think I’m invisible if I’m on my own. Even as a child I’d stay in caravan parks, see all the kids running around together and wish they would come ask me to play. I’d plan how to make an in with the crowd, but never act upon it. People often mistake this shyness for snobbiness... but it’s rarely the case.
I’m a people person... but I’m also a ‘familiar people’ person. I like being around people and once I’m introduced to someone I’m fine, but I have a real fear of approaching and striking up a convo - I could probably count the amount of times I’ve done it on one hand (perhaps even one finger). People who know me find this quite unbelievable. They might not even realise I leave the stranger approaching up to them.
I’m outwardly confident and quite outgoing so they would probably never guess that even the sheer thought of initiating contact with a stranger makes me quiver with fear. Even more so if I’m on my own. Then, it’s a total no-go zone. What if they look at me blankly? What if they think I’m an idiot (this was a big one during depression)? What if they don’t like me? Sometimes, it’s not about what it’s about. In this case, I guess it’s about an innate fear of rejection. By not taking a risk, I’m safe, I’ve nothing to lose... But I also have nothing to gain.
However, if there is one lesson I’ve learnt through my journey it’s that through vulnerabilty comes great strength and growth. When you push a boundary, it moves... sometimes even breaking apart on impact. So this time I ask myself do I want to be free of this fear? Do I want to be comfortable approaching people? Do I want to enjoy my own company? Of which, the answer is a resounding YES!
So how badly do I want this? Is the pay off worth spending a couple of days by myself? Is it worth approaching people and saying ‘g’day’? Perhaps these are the questions you need to be asking yourself - probably not these exact questions, but questions related to your fears, concerns or insecurities.
Instead of asking what is the worst that can happen (I’m opening myself up to possibly a little rejection... which we inevitably cop in all aspects of our lives, so why focus so much energy and attention on this) I should be asking myself ‘What is the best that can happen?’ In this case, I make some new friends, have some new adventures... but most importantly, I push that boundary a little further away... and by doing so, I make a little room around myself to let good things in. I break a link on the chain that holds me back.
So this is where the captain announced we'd be landing and to turn off electrical devices. This morning, by the pool, I've been getting this ready to publish when in this very moment I've had a complete epiphany... All this time I've been looking for external confirmation of my level of coolness. I've been judging how likeable I am on how many people like me. When that's not what any of this is about. It's not about being in the cool gang on holidays... it's not about people coming up to speak to me because I'm approachable (or not) and it's not even about me getting the guts up to approach someone else. It's about me... being comfortable in my own skin. In my own company... without that feeling of loneliness or sense of lacking. It's about enjoying MY OWN company... and not feeling weird about that.
So now, this trip has a different meaning... a different agenda. I'm not feeling the pressure to get out there and do all the things I'd do if I were with people. It's about doing things that I love. Sitting by the pool writing. Walking the streets observing the people and the surroundings. Swimming... meditating... relaxing. Sitting in a nice cafe trying new foods, sipping on a Bintang, watching the passers by and scribbling in my notebook. Getting a pedi and a massage.
These next couple of days are all about me. And I'm now feeling really good about that!