April 8, 2017

How To Be Alone But Not Be Lonely

I am turning 36 this week on April 11th and to be honest (as usual) this birthday feels nothing like I thought it would and very different from years passed.  For starters, I normally go APE on my birthday in all the ways, and most of it is not so pretty.  I can’t believe I am outing myself this much but hopefully it’s useful to someone out there.  For as long as I can remember I would get overly emotional and needy, I would get the Birthday Blues because nothing is enough, I would throw a huge party and would still be left feeling completely empty.  Nothing anyone tried to do could help and I was downright exhausting to be around for the 45 days before my birthday.  Yeah, I told you it wasn’t pretty!

Until last year when I had a beautiful realization around my actual needs.  What I really want on my birthday is to be acknowledged.  For how far I have come, for the impact I make in the lives of those I love, for who I am.  The way I receive love the best is through words of affirmation and it’s truly all I need on my birthday.  I mean, I am not opposed to being spoiled with gifts and sweets but it’s not what I need.  

So last year I finally stopped trying to make such a big deal out of my birthday and I had a great time for the first time in years!  I had four of my best friends take me out to dinner, I ate delicious food and they all showed me such tender-hearted love.  I also had a handful of other friends take me out separately and honor me and our friendships.   It was incredible to be truly present to the love I have in my life.  Ahhh, getting our needs met feels like heaven and it’s up to us to do the work so we can identify what those needs really are!

While it’s great that I cracked this birthday code, there have been some unexpected feelings about turning 36 that I wasn’t totally prepared for.  I have never once freaked out about turning older because I do truly believe that age is just a number and I don’t feel my age at all – so who cares?  This year, I did.  As I began reflecting on this past year, I found myself saying things like…

“Omg, you’re still not married?! You got divorced like 12 years ago!!” or “You’re still dealing with your psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis?! When are you going to figure that out, it’s been like 26 years!”  and the best one “You’re not a mogul yet?! You know there are people who are younger than you and have achieved more, right?”

Ugh, that voice is such a bitch!  For a few weeks, I let myself go there.  I let myself really feel those unkind and hurtful thoughts, not because I thought they were the ultimate truth, but because I knew suppressing them wasn’t going to help and that there was some part of me that believed it all.  What came out of going through that pain was an understanding of my reality that I never even thought was possible.

As I reflect on the truth about me turning 36, I see so much that I am proud of and I am also aware that the journey is just beginning in many ways.  I talk to you guys about self-love all the time but I don’t know if I really knew what a deeply rooted relationship to loving yourself felt like until recently.  Sure, I haven’t found my forever man or built an empire yet.  But, I have something even more valuable than any of that.

As I write this blog, I am sitting in my apartment alone.  It’s the weekend and I have spent the morning cooking myself brunch, making some coffee using my french press and cleaning my home.  I am alone but I am not lonely.  I am alone but my heart is so full of love, it’s palpable.  I have a few friends that wanted to make plans but I chose rest and relaxation instead, because the need to feel good is greater than my need to be seen.  My body feels so cared for and my evening consists of some restorative yoga along with cooking myself some dinner which will also allow me to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

I am nourishing myself on a level I never even knew was possible.  I am alone but I am not lonely.  This is the miracle of 36.  This is the birthday gift I have always wanted for myself.  This is the truth that was a challenge to achieve but worth every tear, every moment of self-doubt and every relationship that just wasn’t the one.  This is the miracle of 36.

So why am I sharing this with all of you?  Not to make you feel a sense of lack in anyway, just to be clear.  I am sharing this with you because I am more committed than ever to make sure each of you have this beautiful miracle in your lives too.  And, I got your back until you feel the relief of truly loving yourself.  

The thing about self-love is that although it’s a miracle it’s not magic.  It takes a moment to moment commitment to love over fear, to pleasure over pain and to happiness over suffering.  It is a journey towards changing the stories that are most likely engrained in your cells.  The pain of our ancestors, our mothers and fathers, our inner child and the parts of ourselves that are overwhelmed with self-hatred.  I know the concept of hating ourselves might not be something that feels totally comfortable, it wasn’t for me for a very long time.   But we can only heal when we get honest and I know you’re strong enough to do that.

Woah, that was intense to write!  I feel so much about these conversations and I want to be there with you as you navigate it all.  So now, I would absolutely love to hear from you in the comments below.  What did this blog bring to the surface for you?  Do you ever get the birthday blues?  Or did you hear things about your self-love journey that make you want to treat yourself differently?  I want to know!  And as usual, I promise to answer every comment myself.  Love you lots.

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Comments

  • Simone

    Great post Nitika.
    Happing upcoming birthday!
    My birthday is at the end of May. This year I’ll
    be 29. I can’t help but say honestly, I feel a lot of pressure to
    achieve many different things before I turn 30 next year.
    I thought it was all about the things. The need to find a relationship,
    to finally love my body and be in my own home.
    It’s all a waiting game. I think I was actually more fearful of how I would feel about myself.
    That self judgement comes creeping in and can hit hard.
    So instead of making a ‘to do before I’m 30 list’ I want to focus
    on self love. Crazy self love.

    • Nitika

      Thanks for the sweet birthday love Simone! And yes, honestly focusing on self-love will be the absolute best birthday present you can give yourself. In whatever form you decide to focus on. Maybe just pick one area of yourself/your life that you find challenging to accept and send it as much love and compassion as you possibly can between now and your big day. Happy early birthday darling! Lots of love xx

  • Mariana

    Wow Nitika this really hit home. I completely understand you….the relationship thing, the business thing and what no kids?! Oh geez, I know! Well I’ll throw my two cents here, I’m a bit older as you know and can say that I’ve learned over time that not everyone was meant to follow the same journey. I’m speaking of myself here. I lived the Dolce Vita for nearly 15 years, and then returned to reality back in NYC just over a year ago, and I can say that I would never take that time back. It was an unbelievable experience even if I didn’t get A, B, C accomplished. We never know what turn our life takes from one day to the next, but I can say that there is so much out there to enjoy and live for. And we can love in so many different ways, and still feel loved and wanted by others. Trust me Nitika, you already do. You’re a STAR! Happy early B-day!!!

    • Nitika

      Thank you so much my darling Mariana!! I really appreciate your perspective on this and am glad to know you don’t regret a thing. I don’t either – thank goodness. Sending you so much love!! xx

  • Eric Carrell

    Happy birthday, Nitika. Lovely, post 🙂

    • Nitika

      Thank you so much Eric! Your support throughout the years has meant so much to me. Lots of love xx

  • Arshia

    Happy birthday Nitika!! Thank you for being such a shining light and such an inspiration! I met you at your June Self-Love Celebration last year and it’s so incredibly uplifting to see another Indian woman following her dreams and pursuing her passion in this space! I always look forward to all your blogs, YT videos and social media posts. Please keep being you!! <3

    • Nitika

      Thank you so much beautiful Arshia!! I so appreciate you. Lots of love!! xxx

  • Colleen Cleary

    Happy Belated Birthday Beautiful Soul!

    I’m so happy to hear that you’ve arrived at this new place in your life journey. A few things came up for me when I was reading this post.

    First, I credit my mother for passing on the gift of embracing each new age fully. I turned 50 last month and when I though of my upcoming birthday and in the weeks since the first word that comes to my mind is AWESOME! I haven’t achieved everything I want to in life yet but I’m in a really good place and continue to grow and learn all the time. I know several women that feel pretty down about this age and I try to gently remind them that growing old is a gift not bestowed on everyone.

    Second, to me self love is always a work in progress. I still have the voice in my head that can be critical but I’ve now reached the stage where I can recognize it and replace it with authentic talk that is accepting and uplifting. I also find that surrounding myself with people that are supportive and encouraging. In my 40s I felt like life was too short to be around negative people when I didn’t have to. Separating myself from those kind of people has made a big difference to me.

    Peace and love!

    ~Colleen

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