Today, I was reading an interview with the author Claire-Louise Bennett about her book Pond and this line really stood out to me: ‘In solitude you don’t need to make an impression on the world, so the world has some opportunity to make an impression on you.’
I’ve thought a lot about solitude before and how it helps me face my raw emotions and the way I feel about things, as well as tackling them face on rather than distracting myself. I’ve never thought if it in terms of the world itself though.
As natural people-pleasers, humans have a tendency to make impressions on the world all the time because we are constantly trying to please or fit in with others. You can be the most confident person in your own skin and yet there’s still times when you conform to society or hold back your opinion for whatever reason. In solitude, it is true that the world can now make an impression on you because you’ve finally given it space. You’ve finally stopped trying to impress everyone else and you’ve finally become aware of yourself, your surroundings and what’s going on around you. This is the moment when you start noticing the way the bird chirps in a kind of excited but monotonous way, or the low buzzing of the laptop as it lies on standby. This is when you suddenly notice everything you’ve always seen but in an unfamiliar way – perhaps a more rational way.
Here’s a list of things that I think are great ways to let the world make an impression on you:
- Meditation – it gives you space to breathe in your environment and release your emotions and thoughts.
- Going for a walk (alone) – Although this causes my mind to run wild with thoughts, it also helps me notice how beautiful nature is.
- Listening to music – It diverts your attention away from everything else, into a new world with new sounds and new voices and new words.
- Sleep – Although you’re unaware of your surroundings whilst you sleep, when you wake up you feel refreshed and the world has a new chance at making an impression on you, almost like a blank slate of a day.
What do you think? How do you let the world make an impression on you?