One week ago I did some really good things for myself - I set aside really specific time to hang out with a friend, and I followed through with a spiritual goal which was to connect with someone for prayer. Emotional support and spiritual support are both things that are difficult for me. I tend to get stuck thinking that spending time with friends isn't a need and therefore can be put off until I have time - but then with my stress addiction tendencies I always fill up my extra time with some new responsibility. And attending to my spiritual well-being is something I'm sorry to say has never been intentionally cultivated. I just kind of ... take my connection to God for granted.
Through the process of delving into my personality structure, I've discovered that my difficulty in making friends is common for people with my personality. I'm a socially adept introvert who gets along quite well with all sorts of people but establishes a genuine connection with very few. This makes choosing to hang out with friends difficult because, as much as I crave it, it's often work.
I've also always been a spiritually sensitive person, even as a little kid. It's not difficult for me to connect spiritually with the presence of God and the spirit of life around me. It's often as easy as breathing so, basically instinctual. What it meant for me, unfortunately, is that I tend to struggle with creating routine for engaging with my spiritual side. When I inevitably allow myself to become too busy and reglect feeding my spirit, I end up in a perpetual binge-and-fast cycle.
Recently I've become more aware of how necessary it is to have proactive steps in place for all parts of my well-being. If you've been following this blog, you'll have heard bits and pieces of things I've been trying to implement. I need to set aside intentional time to sit and be still by a fire or by the river. I need to plan consistent time with friends. I need to actively pursue spiritual connection. I need to give my mind consistent fun challenges. I need to practice and hone my skills of self-expression.
Over the course of this past week, I've been noticing some things about myself that are encouraging.
Despite a lot of things going sideways on me this week, and reacting with a very large emotional spiral mid-week, I recovered more quickly and more completely than I ever have before. This is huge. My sense of self hadn't been challenged that intensely for a few years, but I came through that conflict on a more stable foundation than I'd gone into it.
I'm more in tune with my body. I can actually tell when I'm stressed (that, in itself, is amazing) and know what to do about it.
I have mental energy to explore the field of psychology properly again, and am having a lot of fun planning my study schedule for the next year. I have a big licensing exam to write in about a year's time and until now haven't been able to set aside actual study time for it because my brain has been too full. I'm realizing now that I have likely been in survival mode.
I'm seeing actual skill development in some of the little things I've been tackling. The skill I'm most excited about is that I'm seeing evidence that I'm becoming more capable of doing things independently.
A few nights ago, in Minecraft, I went to the End by myself to hunt schulkers. The End is a scary set of barren islands that float in the void and the landscape is populated by spooky lanky irritable Endermen (think a mix between Slenderman and the Weeping Angels from Dr Who). It's an intimidating place, and I've never been by myself before. But I did. And yes I died a couple of times but after a quick break I went back.
The pride and satisfaction and seeing myself actuall gain skill is unreal. I'm really proud of myself. It's a thing that's really worth celebrating although is also tricky to celebrate because few people know and honestly I don't know how many would understand. But I'm celebrating by telling you guys, here, and maybe I'll have some ice cream.
I challenge you to look at your life. Where are you growing? How can you celebrate that?