In the past few months, I have noticed how any time I am faced with a situation that I know I need to sit with for a while, I immediately gravitate towards my phone. My solution to not facing my problems has been to just continuously scroll on my phone for hours on end or do anything at all to avoid sitting alone with my thoughts. Which, if you know me, you know is not something I preach. I believe that it’s important to sit alone with your thoughts. I think it’s fundamentally important to check in with yourself and what’s going on in your brain.
These last few weeks, I have been doing the opposite of checking in with myself and I wasn’t sure why until this morning.
I woke up earlier than usual and by habit, I rolled over to check the time on my phone and immediately opened Instagram. I had been barely awake for 15 seconds and I was already scrolling on an app. This time around, I caught myself in the act and paused for a moment. When did I become this person? When did I start scrolling through my phone 15 seconds after waking up? Why do I do it?
I put my phone down and stared up at the ceiling for a bit and just let myself be. My mind started racing and listing all my to-dos and anxieties for the day and then jumped straight into the negative self-talk and internal arguing. Once again, I caught myself in an act I wasn’t so proud of. When did my internal monologue get to be so rude? Pessimistic? Negative?
You see, what I have come to realize is that I am not necessarily ignoring sitting alone with my thoughts. I was doing that because I couldn’t handle the negative self-talk that was happening, and my temporary solution was to ignore absolutely everything. Whether it was reading, scrolling for hours on my phone or just watching endless YouTube videos, I was adamant about avoiding the harsh mental space I was going through.
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t avoid sitting alone with our thoughts because it’s boring or lonely. We avoid sitting alone with our thoughts because we most likely know how bad we have let it get in our heads.
When we see the missteps we’ve made, or how we slacked on our mental health, our immediate reaction is to run from that realization – at least that’s how it is for me. We run because we feel as if too much time has passed and the conversation and space, we have created for ourselves in our head can never be fixed. But that notion couldn’t be further from the truth.
Even the act of realizing that we are avoiding something inside ourselves shows that you are still doing the work.
Sitting alone with our thoughts isn’t an easy thing, so we need to remind ourselves to do it a bit more often, so it doesn’t pile up and become unbearable. But do remember, we are all human. It’s normal to avoid our inner thoughts, scroll on Instagram and then realize that something isn’t right. It’s normal to be scared of facing our fears, but what’s important is that you realize them and address them.
So, if you haven’t sat with your thoughts in a while, here is your daily reminder to do so.