In the past 6–7 years, I have slowly become slow at replying to messages, closing myself to others for periods of time and avoiding contact with the external world.
I thought this was a newly “acquired” pattern of behavior I got through time but during a recent Skype with my parents, they mentioned an old story from when I was a child.
When I was about 4 year’s old, during a break in kindergarten, I locked myself in a classroom’s closet for 45 minutes, hiding from the rest of the world.
I wasn’t bullied (too much) back then, apart from being run after since I couldn’t run yet. But I clearly remember looking through the enclosure of the closet’s doors while people came in the room looking for me.
I can still feel the pleasure and fun I was having by being looked after. I didn’t hide out of fear or anything.
I think I enjoyed the fact that people were looking for me. It meant I mattered to those around me. Of course, I didn’t realize how scary that was for my parents to have lost their child for a little while.
While I never truly forgot this experience, I rarely think of it but as I have been analyzing myself for the past months, taking a closer look at it seemed like a good idea.
My wish to stay alone for periods of time may have originated from then. The happy faces of my parents when they found me got written in stone within me. I may unconsciously have associated being alone with happy faces when appearing again.
With the development of social media, it has become much more difficult to be left alone and the fear of not being up to the challenge of staying in touch with everybody may have pushed me to hide away until things get urgent.
Living in Japan, my friends from France are not around me and my messages to them have become scarce. I often get complaints regarding this but whenever they come to Japan, they can observe a reactivity and availability almost unequaled.
The fact I was constantly on social media for almost 10 years is also a factor I believe. I got everybody used to a short response time and then pretty much disappeared.
For the past 2 years, and even more in the last 6 months, I have promised myself I would reply in a timely manner to messages. Yet, I still fail time after time.
On the contrary, self-development actions I have started last year have stuck much more strongly. The main difference I can see is how serious I am with it.
Whether it is doing pushups in the morning when I wake up, publishing my article daily, or doing meditation, those are sticking for one simple reason: Organization.
I set times during which I do those and only move around it if I know I can still meet the common deadline of all those: finishing those within the day.
My self-development journey is based on balancing the “old me” with the creation of a “new me”.
No matter whether my friends know or not how they matter to me, they do. Friendships are among the things I cherish most in my life. Hearing about a friend’s positive development in his/her life brings me pure joy while learning about a negative development makes me feel awful.
Yet, as goes the saying:
“Actions talk louder than words.”
In this case, though, actions are words. While just saying how much I care for my friends is a good start, it doesn’t show properly how they matter to me.
This is why I have decided, once and for all, to add to my list of daily tasks a 10–15 minutes timeslot during which I will simply spend time sending messages to friends around the world.
It will simply start with replying to everybody but I expect having caught up with everybody within the next two weeks which should allow me to stop the guilt of not replying and develop even more meaningful relationships with the people around me.
If you want to remember only two aspects in this article, here they are:
- Spending time alone is okay and can be positive but you shouldn’t let it eat your friendships away.
- Living your life is not like going down a calm river, it is like rafting and if you are not organized enough, you may crash. So take it within your own hands to thrive.