Strength in Silence
From the moment we are born, people, organizations, institutions, and other external entities help shape our experiences and character. Parents, aunts and uncles, school, the media, the drunk guy in the bar spitting some mad truth (preach); they all have some level of influence.
However, there’s a certain point when our lives transition from having no control over this exposure–when we’re really young–and when we finally get the opportunity to take control of our independence. Those of you that are parents would probably call this transition “the teens”, when you’re still treating them like Jon Snow and they think they know everything.
College gives us a small taste of freedom, but it’s still a relatively controlled environment with a campus that has structure, rules, and classes. It’s only when we graduate that we have an opportunity to understand what the word responsibility really means.
Becoming an adult is terrifying–enough so that our generation has turned it into a concerning verb. However, I believe adulting and living alone at some point in our lives, especially in our 20s, is an essential learning experience. It’s the first time we have the opportunity to connect with our own voice–something that has been drowned out from all our previous influences and peer pressure. While these influences are ingrained within our character and still have an enormous impact on our decisions, we’re finally able to listen to our thoughts. Not only that, but we also have the opportunity to take control–to take action. Take that, parents… I can eat dessert for dinner if I want…
We’re all looking for some purpose in our lives as if some old wise man will appear and tell us our destiny. In reality, finding purpose starts with understanding ourselves and that takes time to reflect with no distractions. It takes Silence.
You can imagine the discomfort of sitting in a room with absolute Silence, but I challenge you to try and do it for fifteen minutes. You’ll probably find yourself thinking it’s ridiculous and want to seek out comfort with some sort of distraction, such as your phone or Netflix. But pay attention to your thoughts and be curious. Reflect and ask Why (there’s actually an iterative technique called the 5 Whys to explore cause and effect).
With practice, you’ll start to realize just how much you can accomplish in doing nothing for fifteen minutes and your appreciation for time will increase. You’ll start to understand the things in life that truly bother you, and the interests that you really connect with. Who knows, maybe you’ll realize Netflix and Chill isn’t life and check out the cool stuff going on in your community.
Beyond that, you’ll start to recognize your emotions and accept them as being normal. If you haven’t figured it out yet, there’s no book on life. Literally no one knows the true answer because we’re all flawed; we all have our own moral code, beliefs, and experiences that guide our decisions. The only difference is that some have been doing it longer than you have, and there’s really no point in dwelling over that because it’s out of your control anyway.
Bottom line is that as you start becoming more self-aware and being alone in a comfortable setting, you’ll start to feel less lonely. Think of it as weight-lifting for the soul. Get SWOUL. <– TM, dibbs.
There are too many external things in life that we can’t control, heck, there are some internal things we can’t control. When we understand ourselves, we start to recognize what can be controlled and act progressively. Find Strength in Silence.
*DISCLAIMER: This post is not meant to promote isolation. Always make sure you have some support system that you can talk to in times of depression or dark thoughts, especially if you’re just starting out with this “technique”. The idea is to build independence, self-awareness, and mental/emotional strength. If you have no one, talk to me below with some comments. More to come 🙂