“For all we do on a daily basis, burnout is a commonality. You deserve to treat yourself to a relaxing experience. Take a bubble bath, listen to your favorite music—whatever it may be. Take time to recharge your batteries.”

-Rose Caiola

Balancing our inner and outer lives

Many of us will go to great lengths to avoid spending time with ourselves. I have always found it the most powerful, educational and energizing thing I can do. One of my favorite times of the day is the morning. I often get up extra early, not because I am working, but because I love the stillness – outside, in my head and in the house. Another thing I love is long road trips by myself. I have no choice but to be with me.

The two major forces that keep us from ourselves are distraction and delusion. From the world around us: distraction. From the world inside us: delusion. I find it useful to remove myself from both as frequently and for as much time as possible.

It is true that relationships, as difficult as they can be, are one of the only ways we get to see past our own delusions. They are opportunities for personal growth. Without relationships, especially the deep, intimate ones, we get into circular thinking and can’t see past our blind spots.

Yet, while relationships help us know ourselves better, the quality of our relationships with others can never exceed the quality of the relationship we have with ourselves. If we want quality relationships, we need to be willing to spend time understanding ourselves first. How can we expect to get to know, trust and love someone – and ask the same in return ­– if we don’t learn to honor, trust and love ourselves?

Neglecting your personal development will degrade your relationships the same way neglecting diet and exercise can destroy your health. Time spent alone is invaluable, not only for our own personal growth, but for the growth of any relationship. Self-reflection, self-development and self-actualization are not selfish pursuits. Rather, they are the psychological equivalent of the airplane oxygen mask. You must put yours on first before helping others. In other words, time alone begets better time together.

In my line of work, I talk with many different people; some love their lives, others are discontent, and some are sleepwalking and have no idea what they feel. One of the constant themes I run into, with those who are most content, is the balance of both: quality alone time and quality social time. Extremes in either direction seem to cause issues.

These extremes are like two paths in life. One was paved for you by the expectations of your culture and family; this is the path of the tribe, or society. The other path is created and painstakingly carved by listening to the drive of your inner, higher self. This path, you choose. This path leads to meaning. This path is vitally important to the health of your psyche and will often rebel if you don’t follow it or choose to ignore it. Consider things like depression, illness, divorce, or so-called mid-life crises as the will of the psyche trying to get you back to your own self-carved path.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” ~ Carl Jung

Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ~ Carl Jung


This article originally appeared on JadeTeta.com and is republished here with permission.

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