If the pandemic has taught me anything, it's that being alone and feeling lonely are not synonymous. As an introvert who can admit to having my fair share of intimacy issues, solitude has always brought me a sense of peace, but something about seven months of being forced to be alone in my house just isn't sitting right with my spirit and I know at least, I'm not alone in feeling that.
Now that I've run out of exes to texts and old friendships to rekindle, I'm focused on fixing the relationship that I have with myself and luckily, Tracee Ellis Ross just dropped the sage advice that will help us all do exactly that. In a recent interview with Shape, the 47-year-old actress said that although she had previously adapted to her chaotic, on-the-go lifestyle, the pandemic has helped her find peace in pressing pause to focus on herself and the things that bring her the most joy.
"I used to spend so much time trying to be perfect, to get it perfect. But that's not realistic. Bad feelings come up. There was an element of risk to try something different — to try on the idea of: What if the universe is conspiring for good? Not necessarily mine, but what if I don't have the full picture here? What if this is all OK? And that was the start of a turning point. If you keep putting good stuff in your cup, eventually it overflows. And you'll be like, 'Oh, I need a new container.'"
"What I've realized during this pandemic is that my entire home is my meditation space. Look anywhere, and every touch is an ode to happiness. In one spot is a brass bowl from her best friend filled with crystals, many heart-shaped. I'm looking at a little chubby jade pig that I got when I went to Thailand with my mom. These are all things that bring me joy."
In the interview, Tracee also clarified what it means to be happily single during a global pandemic, which, according to her is much easier when you have a healthy relationship with loneliness and actually enjoy your own company.
"I am happily single, though that doesn't mean I am not open to and don't want a relationship. But in my wonderful and robust experience of being single, I have learned to have a productive relationship with loneliness and an intensely juicy relationship with my joyful solitude — I really enjoy my company."
"For example, one of the things I loved to do pre-pandemic is put on something cute and go for dinner and have a beautiful meal and a glass of wine. Well, can't do that. But you know what? I can do that at home. I make a beautiful plate. I set it out and have a glorious meal. I make my bed every morning. One of the things that's been lovely to discover is how I care for myself and how I actively love myself. And I believe that love is an action: You get back what you put in."
The actress told the publication that although she still has hope of finding love one day, she's spent her time as a single woman making sure that she comes to the table as a whole ass person.
"People can be in wonderful relationships but can't actually reap the joy of that connection. Because you can have all the good stuff, but if you don't know how to be with it, it doesn't matter. I realize that I hold the idea of wholeness with great reverence and respect because my goal is to have an experience with myself that is whole."
To read Tracee's full interview with Shape, click here!
Featured image by Instagram/@TraceeEllisRoss.