I am currently in Ko Phangan, an island favoured by expats, searching for adventure, space to grow spiritually and a cheaper quality lifestyle. Knowing that there is a strong community here, I found myself worrying once I got to the island: I should go out and meet people; I have to make friends and get connected to people; I need to get involved; What’s on?; Where should I go?; I need to… Two days into feeling this angst, it hit me that it was just absurd. I had to look into what was lurking underneath this emotion and what the purpose of my time in Thailand was.
I had no plan of settling down here – so why I was obsessing over getting to know everybody? It didn’t feel like a genuine wanting to meet people and find out about their lives (if it were, it would’t have felt so desperate).
I invited myself to a real tête–à-tête and coached myself through what I was feeling at the time. The conversation went like this:
Why are you suddenly uncomfortable being by yourself?
Well, I just finished seeing this guy and I miss him…
Is that so?
Why do you miss him?
I probably miss the attention.
Is that the reason why you want to meet people here?
I guess it’s more about… well… wanting to feel that I’m… that I’m not missing out… and that I’m making the most of my experience here… I want to…
What’s your fear behind this wanting?
…That I am not enough.
And this point I stepped back and saw the tight grip that my ego had on me; the need to prove something (to people that I’ve never even met), assert myself, be more than I am – it’s the ego’s despair.
Thinking that we are just enough is the greatest poison to our ego. It cannot stand the idea that we could be ‘whole’ and ‘complete’.
This realisation was enough to transform the way I was feeling immediately. So, I said to myself:
You don’t have to make friends, get connected or do anything that you don’t want to.
And I can’t express to you the sense of freedom that came with this decision – it was as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
Suddenly I was experiencing the utter joy of being in my own company.
And naturally – and because I wan’t trying at all – I began meeting people and going to parties and dinners when I had some free time.
This is, actually, when we are most charming and authentic – when we are not trying desperately but, instead, allowing ourselves to be ourselves. It’s easy then to make friends or arouse people’s interest in us.
The secret is: when we enjoy our our own company, others begin wanting to join in – as if we already had a cool gig going on.