I live in Italy and the coronavirus situation here was no joke. Lockdown mean lockdown. There was no such thing as ‘self isolation’ or any kind of individual choice you could make about how to spend your time during the almost 3 months that crisis lasted.
I did not notice until way into it, but as the weeks went by, I enjoyed more and more to be sitting on my own.
In the beginning I was frustrated because my morning routine of going for breakfast to the local bar, where I would get my capuccino and read a book, was forbidden. Walks in nature, also forbidden. Visit friends, no way.
What to do when you have no choice
I decided that I will not get mad with something I couldn’t change, and after ten days I created a new routine.
Living in the countryside with three dogs, is already a bit of isolated, so I am kind of used to be alone, but not being able to stop for a quick chat with a neighbour or even see people passing by was way too extreme.
The days took a new color when I decided to go with the flow.
Without knowing, the most meaningful connection of all was made. I rediscovered what it was to be with my self.
Yes, I’m on my own every day, yet, very rarely was I fully with myself for a long period of time.
Bright discoveries happen during dark times
Little did I know that the one connection that I needed was with myself.
And it makes complete sense.
Daily life although it is quite smooth for me, still carry myself away. Thoughts about things that need to get done, calls to be made, deadlines to reach, clients to make happy, and a bunch of other stuff really makes you be thinking about all these other things most of the time. So, despite being on my own and knowing myself too well, I really did not notice how much more about myself I could learn to know when there is nobody expecting anything from me.
Now, the lockdown has been over for a bit over 5 weeks, and life went almost back to normal. We can go out and socialising, gather in groups and visit friends.
However, I noticed that my daily routine of taking REAL time on my own, connecting with what I am deeply feeling and thinking and allowing it to be so, is something I keep doing, and when I don’t I really miss it.
I do not go as often as I did, because I realised that much of the going out was a way to distract myself of my very own thoughts, and a way to ignore things that matter for me.
I took my personal relationship with the person that matter most to another level.
Change the way you look at it
Such words may sound selfish for some who do not understand that unless we feel good with ourselves, little good can we make to those around us.
As a result of this reconnection with myself I noticed that whenever I meet with people now, I do it with real presence. Being with friends now means giving my full attention to them, because I have my own personal time to be with me so I can now give more of my full focus to others.
Yesterday for example, I was on a phone call with my mother for four hours! Yes, 4 hours! Ok, she lives overseas so we don’t catch up that often, and we see each other every couple of years, but, four hours on a chat that could have gone for a few more hours, only that it was 10pm here and I had to have dinner.
I mean, this kind of deep connection can only happen when you are present for the other person, and you can only reach such a level of connection with others when you are already connected with yourself.
So, my greatest take away from this whole coronacrisis, is rediscovering that I come first in my list of priorities if I want to be really connected with others.
I have personally made a conscious decision of working on nurturing this new trend on me, because thanks to that I already maximised the way I connect with other people, close ones and strangers alike. I have a clearer intention in the way I connect and communicate with others and that pays off in the quality of the relationships.
What you can do
If you ever struggle with creating deeper and more meaningful connections with others, try creating a healthy relationship with yourself first.
It may be the hardest relationship to conquer, but once you do, every other connection you make with people will be deeper and more meaningful. Both you and others will benefit from it.