For most of my life, people have always told me I apologize too much. The thing is, it’s become such a habit to say sorry, I don’t even notice half the time that I’m apologizing until I am told, “It’s not your fault, nothing to apologize for.”
This week as I was chatting with my mentor on something completely unrelated to me, she happened to say, “Everyone comes in alone, and everyone leaves alone.”
I found myself thinking about that a lot afterward and realized … most of my problems with myself came from because I compared myself to other people. I apologized a lot because, in many scenarios, I felt myself the “smaller” person. But then I thought… everyone comes in alone, and everyone leaves alone. Therefore I couldn’t possibly be smaller than anyone else… because there IS no one else.
“Hashem, it’s just you and me,” I said. “Just you and me.”
I spent the day off my phone and spent the day with myself, and just let myself be. Every now and then I would say again, “Hashem, it’s just you and me.” With constantly being connected to the internet (Shabbos-less non-Jew here), it’s hard to remember that as real as the connections you make online are, they are not as important and as real as your connection to yourself, and with Hashem. I spent the first hour or two thinking that perhaps my friends or even work would be looking for me, and kept thinking of checking my phone. But I stopped and thought to myself that I’m allowed time to myself too. I don’t need to drop everything to answer to everyone always, I need time to answer to myself too.
I can’t describe the effect it’s had on me, to finally understand on some internal level that at the end of the day, it’s just me and Hashem, and everyone else in my life was just sent to teach me and help me grow. I’ve always taken on extra stress upon myself to do things for other people, but the past few days I’ve learned to say “no,” and not feel guilty about it. I’ve always been rather clingy towards my friends, and have finally just understood that it was because I was looking for validation from them. So now, I’m working on teaching myself to validate myself.
This entry is more personal than my usual, but I thought it was an important message to share. I’m still working on this, but I’d like to think I’m on to the right path here. So I’d like to remind you also: Learn to validate yourself. Know that as important as your relationships and other people are in your life, at the end of the day, it’s just you and Hashem. Learn to be comfortable with your own company, you don’t always need to be connected to others. Make yourself proud. Allow yourself time to just be, and time to answer to yourself. You are your own complete and whole person.
Bernice is a Noahide from the Philippines who spends most of her time playing violin, being involved in musicology research, and writing about various topics (her favorite being Judaism). The rest of the time, she can be found drinking coffee, reading, and convincing herself to workout.