A Jewish matchmaker encourages self-growth during self-isolation
The corona pandemic and self-isolation response is a complete shake-up of reality as we’ve known it. A reality that might be affecting extraverts more strongly than introverts. Introverts are used to self-isolation, it’s what they do on a regular basis in order to recharge. Extraverts need lots of human interaction to maintain their energy and optimism, and can quickly find themselves in a state of depression if self-isolation lasts too long.
But this article isn’t about how to keep extraverts entertained during self-isolation – though getting to know yourself and growing that relationship is entertaining stuff. This article is about the opportunity that we’ve all been given to go deeper inside ourselves and use self-isolation as a time for self-awareness and self-growth.
It’s easy to become absorbed in Netflix and social media; this is how many of us filled up our free time, pre-corona. But this is a dead end and you begin to feel that deadness when you spend too much time on those platforms. Instead of diverting our attention to outside stimuli, I propose that we start looking inside. I propose that we devote a good portion of our mandated ‘free time’ in self-isolation to introduce ourself to ourself and begin to forge the kind of love relationship that we have spent years trying to acquire through relationships with others.
What does self-growth during self-isolation look like? It might include journaling. A good way to start is to begin writing down your feelings about everything that’s happening right now. This is an unprecedented time in our history and whether you acknowledge it or not, lots of emotions are vying for your attention: fear, sadness, worry, anger. We are all trying to recalibrate our emotional state from the sudden collapse of our world – in other words, “wrap our head around it”. Recalibration is necessary but it doesn’t happen by diverting your attention with shows and memes; it will only happen in a healthy and effective way through turning inward, acknowledging your feelings, and giving them expression.
If you’re not big on journaling, set aside some time every day to sit quietly and have conversations with yourself. Let self-isolation be the first topic. Speak with yourself the way you would speak with a treasured friend who was in distress. Ask yourself, “How are you feeling right now?”, “What are some of your worries about this pandemic”, “What are some of your fears?” And maybe the most important, ask yourself what you can do to ease your own worries. Reassure yourself that you are strong, intelligent, and capable of confidently handling anything that may happen and that everything is going to be just fine.
Both of those techniques can get the ball rolling, and once that ball is rolling…conversations with yourself will become easier and more natural. And through the conversations, you will learn who you are and what you think, fear, and want. You will get to know yourself and optimally, will respond to yourself with compassion, empathy, and love, just like you would that treasured friend.
Safety and security are not found on the outside, where circumstances and events can turn on a dime. Safety and security are not found in another person, who at any moment might decide to end the relationship. Safety and security are only found within yourself, when you fully trust yourself to get though any crisis that may present in your reality. Utilized for self-growth, self-isolation can be a blessing from which you emerge whole, healed, and confident. Like a butterfly emerges from the closed, cramped space of her cocoon to take flight in a burst of glorious freedom.
Sending prayers of love and healing to you, my friends.
*For tips on how to love the unlovable parts of yourself, click here.