Your social media profile asks you to fill out a few questions in order to give your followers a concept of your identity: where you went to school; where you work; where you are from; what your interests, hobbies, or accomplishments include. But this is no longer where we find our identity and worth. Instead, we find it in the number of followers who are reading the profile and in the number of people who are included in pictures on our page.
Friday nights have become measured in social interaction and the publicization of it. We frantically capture every moment with every person in our arena of entertainment and stuff them in the wallet of social credit we are trying to gain. Those in the corner of the parties dancing by themselves are labeled misfits because they couldn't possibly be alone if they had a choice in the matter, right? And the ones left at home on those nights are pitied and associated with the color blue and all things homely and lackluster.
Worth is becoming a concept found in the number of people surrounding you rather than in the quality of love received and given and the quality of your being when it stands alone. Identity is being found in a socially constructed point system that relies on how surrounded you are. We are forever painting a picture of our life and manipulating the lighting of it for the sake of an audience rather than for the sake of art and being an artist.
Undeniably, there is strength in society. There is strength in recognizing our own mortality and connecting with humanity through it. But the strength in society lies in enjoying people simply for who they are and not in how they make you appear. Community should be a tool in a belt rather than the sole source of stability.
We do not know how to be alone. We see solitude as a self-destructive coping mechanism reserved for private pity parties and introverted disgust when solitude can simply be a method of existence. When left alone, we grapple for an event or noise or person or tragedy to fill the space because we do not know how to fill it ourselves. We're afraid of what the silence will say in the echoes of absence.
What happens when the people we rely on cannot be there for us in the ways we need them to be for the very reason that causes us to rely on them? In our efforts to sustain ourselves, we turn people into our personal platforms. We must be able to bear the weight of our own existence before we impose it on others. We must learn to be alone.
Finding solace in solitude begins with becoming a person worthy of your own respect and recognizing that that worth is not tied to a number of followers. Force yourself to be okay with being alone. Start in the small things in the quiet confines of your own safe place. Listen to the heart inside of you and realize it will pump 2000 gallons of blood that day — on its own. Hear your lungs fill on their own against the odds of life in this galaxy. Feel your 206 bones support a framework that has purpose.
Look around. Beauty is a complex concept, but it can be found in any environment, and you can find it on your own. It can be found in a quiet walk through your local nature reserve, and it can be found in the noises of your downtown in the afternoon when you take yourself out for lunch. When we come to the place where our stability isn't reliant on others, every environment becomes a safe place because we will always have ourselves.