Can I be by myself, and be happy? Do I like my own company? Am I my best friend? Do I like the person in the mirror? Is this person my favourite person? Is he or she my ‘go to’ pal – my 3 AM friend? And a hundred other questions can pop up on similar lines in our minds and hearts.
The basic message underlying or fueling such questions is whether I have learnt to be with myself or not. Whether I like myself, love myself. Whether I can talk to myself and come up with some serious, sombre answers to thoughts plaguing my mind.
We think a lot. But have you wondered how many of us really think? To that, why we think? And to that, what makes us think?
When we think, we start looking for the answers to why and how. What satisfies us, and what does not, makes us think more. We live on thinking. What if we stop thinking? I wonder!
Hannah Arendt, a German-born American political theorist believed, “living together with others begins with living together with oneself”. If we learn to befriend ourselves and be satisfied with this company, we may learn to be comfortable with others as well.
And, why, pray is it like this? It is so because when we are with ourselves, we can self-retrospect. We can do some real, tangible self-introspection therapy. We can self-analyse and most importantly, we can indulge in some thought-provoking self-reflection. This is not the same as being self-involved. Self-involved is only thinking of yourself. This is a very limiting exercise.
Self-reflection, on the other hand, is a very rewarding experience. It is something which, if we do with some sincere thinking, reveal to us where we have gone wrong in our lives and times. Also, it will reveal to us, where we are right with our work, our relationships et al.
If we sit back and ruminate on our day during the last say half-hour before turning in or so, we can judge ourselves. We require no one else to judge our actions and our deeds. Our conscience, our intuitive powers, themselves will tell us where we went wrong and where we made good.
Thinking takes us away from the mediocre company to a genius oneself. Without thinking, we are one thoughtless being. So, what if we stop thinking? I repeat, I question, and I wonder again!
To add to that, thinking makes us differentiate between loneliness and solitude. Solitude is being by yourself and not really thinking of yourself as alone. We are with our own company. We could be comfortable in this state. Loneliness is different.
It is usually an uncomfortable state to be in. It is when we feel alone. We wish for company, wish for someone, somewhere to be by our side. Thus, a lonely person, by this logic, has not really learnt to be comfortable within his or her own skin. To do some positive self-reflection, it is necessary to have solitude, not loneliness. As mentioned, they are two distinctly different terms.
If we actually self-judge and improve ourselves, we will know what, when and why to do things. This is as sure as the fact that a new day will dawn after each night. It has been proven time and again that those who commit crimes often do so without realising what they are doing. In their own minds, they have never sat back to think about what they are doing. Had they thought things through, the outcome of their actions may have been very different, in fact quite the reverse. It thus, stands to reason, that thinking, in itself, is an activity which is very fruitful and can never be ignored.
Thinking helps us come to conclusions about what to do, what not to do and very importantly, why to do, and why not to do.
One really has to be a demon, a monster to actually wish an ill on someone else. If you have that bent of mind, it is a different thing altogether. However, many a time we do misdeeds without realising it was one or without knowing what the repercussions of the actions could be.
These are actions we can avoid if we think, if we sit by ourselves and reflect. Is it not a wonderful thing, then, to actually take a break from all else and think things through? Many of the wrongdoings in this world will surely not happen; and just because those doing them have had the courage and the thoughtfulness to become self-aware.
Thinking gives us a company, a company that connects us with our inner self. A company that has to be desired to be in a world where everybody has an opinion but very few only matter. A company that pushes us to introspect first, retrospect later. A company that tells us what truth is, and why you lied the other day. A company that makes us look “us” from someone else’s eye. A company without which we are a thoughtless creature. A company that stays with us, talks to us and makes us believe that what we do, do right, if wrong, it urges us to correct it. A company that keeps us away from becoming lonely but gives us solitude. A company that escapes us from isolation but provides us with too many ideas, reasons. A company that’s with us, in us, without having anyone else.
If we sit on it, we will ourselves realise the true worth of our own company. As it turns out, we require no other person to tell us to guide us about what to do, and what not to do. If a Tom, Dick or Harry could tell me what is right or wrong about me, could I not do so myself? Of course, I can and I could. Why do I need someone else to say these things to me? I can be the best judge of my own situation.
Any outsider will only tell me his own point of view. Does he or she understand my position as well I myself can? Of course not really, better to say, of course not.
Having that company, which means our own company, we come up with answers on how to deal with issues in our lives. This is because no one knows the real me and my status in my home, office, and in society, in general, as well as I myself do.
Then, watch with fun and joy how the magic of relationships, of love, compassion, and understanding unfolds before our very eyes.
A company that’s with us, in us, without having anyone else. Crave that company!
(With inputs from Ayush Garg).
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