I came across this quote from Maria Popova in someone else’s newsletter a couple of weeks ago (I wish I had noted who it was.) and wanted to share it with you.
“The longer I live, the more deeply I learn that love—whether we call it friendship or family or romance—is the work of mirroring and magnifying each other’s light. Gentle work. Steadfast work. Life-saving work in those moments when life and shame and sorrow occlude our own light from our view, but there is still a clear-eyed loving person to beam it back. In our best moments, we are that person for another.” — Maria Popova.
What a tender and marvellous reminder this is. And timely for me! Perhaps it will be for you too.
As a result of this slowing-down experiment of mine, I have seen that happiness, purpose and meaning in life are inextricably linked to other people. Our best lives are interdependent with others — a wide range of others, not just those who look like us, think like us, or are the same age as us! We can live longer, happier, healthier lives by interacting with others, and we derive meaning and purpose through social interactions and serving others. It makes so much sense in light of the quote above. People help us understand who we are. I read a lot about it and experienced it in minor ways but had not yet dived in because that would mean people-ing.
This realisation is very peculiar because I tend to be a hermit. In most circumstances, I am an introvert and shy, with very few close friends. I am happy alone or with my husband — who understands the value of shared silence —. I have always been very selective about my social exposure to maintain resilience and balance … BUT … not too long ago, I came across a therapist’s post on Instagram that listed many ways that people protect themselves, including isolation. Oof… and if that didn’t make my heart stop for a moment! Something within my soul resonated and whispered, “Yeah… you probably want to go back, read that again and have a think.” Then to come across the quote above from Maria Popova above shortly after; I think the universe was giving me a kick in the pants.
I took the time to contemplate my isolation and reassess my lack of people-ing, and it became clear to me that I had been using my natural tendency to be a hermit as a shield. Letting it grow and solidify and calcify beyond healthy bounds.
Why? was the next obvious question.