“Allow yourself to grow and change. Your future self is waiting.” -Unknown
Although it may sound dramatic, I mean what I said when I stated that solitude has changed my life. Extrovert, I love people, learning, and socializing. I’ve always enjoyed being around others, and don’t get me wrong, I still thrive this way. But when I got Covid in 2021, life completely changed, and it’s not the only way I thrive now.
Before Covid, I’d been living my life in a way that wasn’t serving me. My life was chaotic, I was drinking a lot and not eating right. My schedule was always set, so I didn’t have time to take care of myself. It felt as if I lived life to please others and was ignoring my own needs. It needed.
I made mistakes, like blowing off my priorities because I was in a terrible headspace, and I continued living an unhealthy lifestyle until I finally had a talk with myself and realized this wasn’t right for me (then Covid came along, and sh*t got serious).
I didn’t immediately enjoy quarantining and being stuck at home, away from friends and family, but before I got sick, I knew change was coming. Although I was resistant to change, it felt like a new me was coming.
While I’m usually not one to fight change, there was so much going on at once, and it was a lot. Covid was also a cause of anxiety and panic attacks in my family. I was even more affected by the aftermath than the virus.
The process lasted for almost one year. I felt so bad for myself; I couldn’t believe that this is what life had come to for me. Even losing my hair was a problem. Some days I’d wonder if this dark tunnel would ever come to an end and show me light. Things felt very heavy, but I also had some of the most beautiful things going on at the same time, like living in the city with my now fiancé, so it was all very confusing.
My sleep became irregular and I lost my ability to fall asleep. It felt chaotic in my inner world. I experienced many tears, weekly therapy sessions and a lot of change in my life. Therapy and journaling were my safe space to let go and gain insight into myself.
What did I learn from the year of inner chaos? Surrender. In order to have complete control over my life and keep busy, I tried to suppress the emotions of younger Naila when she was unable to care for herself and would often do so by over-extending myself. I didn’t want to listen because I was afraid. And that’s human nature, to fear the unknown.
So, here’s a reminder that the Universe forces you to slow down and redirect when you’re not listening. This also means it may hurt more since we didn’t consciously welcome the change.
My life has been filled with many stages and inner growth. After meeting with my amazing therapist, I quit a job that wasn’t working for me (which was very painful). I’ve lost people and my relationships changed, thankfully most of them for the better.
As soon as I let go of control and put in the hard work, things got better, and I saw results—even if they were just small victories. I was starting to see that light I’d been waiting for. As I started to lose weight, my body began to feel lighter and I felt like I was back in control.
I chose watering myself over destructive behaviors. Instead of focusing on the anxiety attacks and trying to force myself back to sleep at night, I meditated. I preferred solitude to socializing. This was my peak.
Sometimes we can become lost in all the noise and chaos around us. We get sucked into conversations and company we don’t actually enjoy. Our society tells us that we should be productive 24 hours a day. The only thing that defines our worth is money and accomplishments. Talks can be about anything. What we are Instead of Who we are.
My schedule was often over-scheduled long before I started this adventure. I would work two jobs, scheduling anything I could in between and going to school at the same time. That was when I really enjoyed it.
Self-reflection and solitude taught me the things I really care about. I love genuine connections, receiving and giving love, taking care of myself and others. LivingIt’s more than just about surviving.
My higher self told me that the world’s expectations are not my own, and that it’s okay to choose a different path than I once wanted (or society told me I wanted). As I’ve learned in therapy, I am my own worst critic, so my new path is all about letting life unfold naturally, without constantly criticizing myself for where I thought I’d be in life, especially in my career.
My life, my inner child and my current self began to change. Most importantly, I began to heal from things I’d stored away from childhood pains and days long ago during an abusive relationship. After letting go of my self-deprecating behaviors, I decided to listen to myself and let go. Then the inner turmoil calmed down.
My solitude allowed me to discover a lot about my own self. The solitude helps us to build trust in ourselves, and it teaches us what our real desires are. You learn to accept less and prioritise differently. Now, I place a lot more value on things than I did before. I’m getting to know my true self, and that’s something no one can teach you or prepare you for.
It is also important to me that you are alone. It is possible while you’re in a healthy relationship.
Throughout my dark days, I had my now-fiancé supporting me through it all while letting me heal and grow. I was able to be more independent because of his support. It makes life easier when someone is there to offer love, support and respect. Your company is a source of strength. Bonus and not a burden. Previous Naila didn’t think this was possible, and I’m grateful things panned out differently.
Overall, I have learned that the “dark” times were actually just lessons and periods that catapulted my growth and healing. Tough times can be temporary. There is strength in solitude. As of today, I cherish my solitude; it’s a vital part of my being. Also, I learned there was light at the other end of this dark tunnel. Yes, even when it’s long and scary.
Rest is a priority in this chapter of my life. I don’t want to overwork or overbook. It is much easier to be selective about my relationships with people, making me much more productive. I also find it much easier to learn and grow.
My life has become more tranquil and peaceful, as well as my ability to set boundaries. These are lessons I couldn’t learn as an unbalanced extrovert. I’m a better version of myself now.
So, if you’re an extrovert who forgets to prioritize yourself, someone who’s going through a dark tunnel, or someone who avoids change, this post is for you. Accept change and solitude instead of fearing them. Watch how it transforms your life.
My dad used to say that change was the only constant in the world, so be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Your faith is my belief.
Naila is a certified yoga instructor and hopes to help others on their path. She got her inspiration from her travels and through people she met along the way, and she writes about the lessons and experiences on nailamatloub.com. Naila is a true lover of life and embraces all that this world has to offer.
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