Although being an introvert is slowly becoming more acceptable, when it comes to societal perception I think there is a thin line between being anti-social or merely content in one’s own company. That being said, I enjoy my time alone more than anything else, and I also thrive in silence.
A lot of the time I fill the silence with singing, talking (to myself or my cat), laughing (I come across a lot of funny stuff on the internet), or the thoughts in my brain. Thoughts can be quite loud, especially if you don’t routinely listen to yours. The first few times I tried meditation I would experience the sensation, once I could step back and survey my racing mind, that my thoughts were just shouting over each other, trying to make themselves heard.
Mindfulness is key in my spiritual development so I spend a lot of time trying to practice that mindset. It is hard for me to be at peace and mindful when I am out in a place where there is a lot of societal distractions going on, such as a mall, restaurant, or a workplace. Not to mention, all of those places can be very loud. I am not an expert meditator or self-hypnotist so sound distraction is often my biggest obstacle now. I often try to meditate at night, a lot of the time here is a TV on next to one of my walls. I also have to leave my door open enough so my cat can pee because I sleep in a loft bed so I’m not getting woken up for that, which makes the sound about ten times louder. And my roommate has the worst taste in entertainment.
Although I am not going to or seeking out loud places, it is almost impossible to avoid when living in an apartment. Your background noises will usually cover most disturbances (but sometimes you get a Dragon Lady or two), but when you have silence in your apartment, that is when all the other sounds some floating in. It is possible for me to tolerate some, but my neighbor loves to blast music the Baby Boomer generation listens to (80s, 90s, Today’s Hits) pretty much every single morning. And the only place you can hear it is the bedrooms. It’s very audible in mine, and most mornings I wake up to Nickelback or Justin Timberlake.
I work at home, and I like to work in the “dining room” we have, which is just an extension of the kitchen or my “home office” in my room, under my loft bed. My desk is one foot tall. I know, try not to be too jealous. I work all day in silence and as soon as my roommate comes home the TV goes on, because she is one of those people who likes to watch a lot of TV. And it’s my own fault because usually I’m too lazy to move all my stuff back to my room so I try to ignore the Dr. Who blasting in the background. It’s not always too loud, but sometimes it is, and when it’s loud, it’s loud.
And I hate to bitch (but my mental health requires me to), everything I watch has been labeled as ” that social/political shit”, and I’ve had the TV changed in my presence while watching it without my consent multiple times. It’s not hard to just ask. I guess I could confront her but I like the silence and I don’t think my blogging this is passive aggressive, but rather just an output of emotion.
I feel like I get pushed around sometimes because I am the introvert and if my roommate has someone over the majority automatically rules, or if her boyfriend is there its the same for him. Or if I am reading or studying she will still change the atmosphere without asking me. I pay my half and it is the common area, after all. Both of us should have a say. She invites people over that I she knows I once or twice without even warning me beforehand, let alone checking with me. Call me old-fashioned, but I find it frustrating. But I also know that by letting her actions upset me, I am saying more about myself than her.
I do also feel like I sometimes get judged because I like the quiet and I am happy being by myself. I think that is the best way to get work done, and it is entirely voluntary on my part, because it is a part of my personality that I enjoy. I don’t want to fight it, no matter how it seems to others. And I don’t want to constantly shovel entertainment down my throat. Yes, I am on the computer a lot of the time, but I choose what I read and watch. Not out of a series of sixty channels of repeating shows, but a library of more information than I could ever consume in a lifetime.
A woman I used to work for told me that she used to go into self-hypnosis in order to do her homework for college and not be interrupted by her husband and young son watching television. She was working and going to school full time and supporting all three of them! How could she find the time to unwind and gain actual inner silence so that she could continue along her journey of self-discovery. I believe all the answers are inside us to be found.
Inner silence and mindfulness are inextricably linked together, and to practice one is to employ the other. When being mindful, one cannot pay all their attention to the episode of Vampire Diaries and do anything productive at all or think for them self. The same can be said for any practice, however, that does not meet the goals of one’s life and occupies their mind.
Sometimes you cannot choose what you will or will not be exposed to. If you life in apartment or a house-share, or a big city, noise may be undeniable and unrelentlessness. But the beauty of it is that we get to control how much of that really penetrates our brains.
No one is perfect, and it is a lifestyle change that requires small changes from day to day to make a difference in one’s life. Being patient and not expecting immediate results, but rather enjoying the simple pleasure of making one small, healthier choice. Just deciding to be mindful is a huge change in perspective, and something to be proud of. Don’t worry about messing up, practice makes perfect and failure just means you’re being pointed elsewhere.
As long as I believe someday my mental abilities will be strong enough to enable my mind to overcome noise, it will happen. A positive outlook is key.
Thanks for reading! This post really cheered me up to write and I hope the read did you some good as well.