Falling in Love
As 16Personalities says, my ESFJ personality is “attentive” and “people-focused”, especially in “taking part in their social community”. I love being around people – exploring places and doing things and attending weekend events. But this doesn’t necessarily lend itself well when you’re in the middle of a global phenomenon. Since graduating and moving to a new city in a new state, I’ve done my best to keep up with my main social circles – thanks to the power of Zoom, FaceTime, and online games. With the FrancisCorps community, I enjoyed the hikes and sightseeing we were able to do early on in the year, and now all the COVID-friendly activities we’re still able to do. In limited capacity, we’ve even been able to safely hang out with the JVC’s every now and then. Yet as the months have gone on, I find myself in an odd, changed, dynamic space within my relationships. Some strengthened, some wilted. There are obviously many different contributing factors: post-grad, moving, pandemic. But recently, I find my attention focused on one particular relationship – falling more and more in love with myself.
I recently saw a TikTok (unashamedly) of someone talking about self love: “Falling in love with yourself is like falling in love with anyone else. You have to spend time with them, getting to know who they are – understanding their likes and dislikes. Same thing goes for yourself. No matter who walks in or out of your life, you’ll always still be here. You’ll make yourself laugh and dry every tear. You’ll buy yourself small things to brighten your day. You’ll turn out the light for yourself at the end of the night. And that will always be enough.”
I have always recognized and had some sense of self-admiration for the gifts I possess, but the idea of being in relationship with myself is something that is somewhat unfamiliar to me. Sure, when people get busy and schedules don’t align, I’m more than comfortable studying solo at a coffee shop or when grabbing a quick lunch. But there are a lot of things I often wait to do with people — go exploring, go to the zoo, go to the museum, etc. I’ve somehow talked myself into the idea that I’ll be able to do certain things once I reach a certain milestone or when things magically fall into place. When I graduate, I’ll do this. After FrancisCorps, I’ll do that. I’ll only do this when everyone is free. But why wait? I’ve toyed with the idea of intentionally doing more things with myself, for myself.
So I decided to try it out. I recently took myself out on an intentional solo “date” to the art museum. I wasn’t expecting much – just a chance to get out and spend some time alone. I got dressed up and, surprisingly, felt the same nervousness as if I was going on an actual date with someone else. With my headphones in and listening to classical music, while doing some sketching in my sketchbook, I didn’t expect to feel so free. I got lost in my own world, moving from exhibit to exhibit on my own time, free from any form of schedule or pressure. I spent three hours there. It was the first time in awhile I actually got to take myself out, enjoy my own presence, and tap into the creativity that I’m proud to hold within. I felt content, filled, and couldn’t wait to do it again.
On the other hand, I also recognize that this “solo” mindset can tread dangerously into the realm of extreme independence. I’m not saying to hermit yourself, join the anti-social social club, or develop an “I don’t care” attitude to rival the back of a Forever 21 t-shirt – rather; I’m in a place where I realize that the only way I can love others best is if I have love for myself first. My cup must be overflowing with abundance to give, not simply full with just enough for myself. It’s the realization that I don’t need to wait to do great things. It’s the realization that I won’t be Ms. 20-something forever, that there’s something really beautiful about being in this grey, limbo space – even amidst figuring out my next steps and even amidst a pandemic.
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