Silence, darkness and the thundering chaos of your thoughts
We all hate Sleepless Nights. Turning from one side of the bed to the other, not being able to find a comfortable spot and squeezing the eyes together like you were able to force yourself to sleep. However, you are not alone. That is why you are not sleeping. You have company. Sometimes this company is loud — screaming at you. Sometimes, the company seems to be quiet, when in reality it is sneaking at you, just waiting for a weak moment to jump on you not letting go. This company is your thoughts.
Your thoughts are very powerful. They are your friend and your worst enemy at the same time. You love them in your highs and hate them in your lows. They can support you in some moments but completely destroy you in others. They are rational and unreasonable, they are kind and mean, they are light and destructive — all in all they are the mirror to yourself.
At night, when we start to relax, wind down and end the day, we often underestimate what the day foregone has done with us. We often forget to take time for ourselves to order and process all the stimuli we have encountered during the day. And suddenly we find ourselves overrun by all the emotions we have put aside so far.
Sleepless nights — I find them a blessing
Personally, I have started to love Sleepless nights. When the frustration of not falling asleep passes and the acceptance of this new situation starts, I come to live. I start to strip down all my emotions and thoughts I have not processed so far — often even not perceived. I strip them down to their initial stimuli like peeling a fruit to see what is inside. Layer after layer, I process every situation until I find the truth. The truth about myself, my anger, my frustrations but also about my successes and happy moments.
When frustration is gone — understanding starts
Most of the times, thoughts and emotions come up that I have not even perceived in that very situation. And these are the most valuable sleepless nights. Because in that moment, I got access to my subconscious, to some moment or blur of a moment that must have meant something, but I was too blind to see it. When you are like me, a rational and goal-oriented person, you might also tend to overlook a lot that is happening around you. You don’t do it on purpose, you are just wired that way.
The perception of the world around you is subjective and most importantly selective. What you see is unique because no one else perceives your surroundings like you do. Have you ever seen the video of the group of people dancing while a monkey is running through them? Did you see the monkey the first time you saw the video? I absolutely didn’t. And that is what I am talking about.
You need to start to look for the monkey
Most of the times we are so distracted by seemingly important things that we have no chance to perceive the little details. The frown on a beloved one’s face when you tell her something. The little sigh your boss makes when she gets a call from her boss. The positive emotions you get from mere acquaintances. And all this is meaningful because they are the lemons live gives you to make lemonade. I truly believe that in every second of our live we encounter opportunities we could take. However, we often have such a fixed idea of our lives and who we are that these opportunities remain disregarded.
So, what is the take out? What is the opportunity by reading this story? The opportunity is, that next time you have a sleepless night stop hating it and start loving it. Embrace the opportunity you get to meet your subconscious. To see the monkey running around. To get a slight grip of who you really are and what you really want.
Sleepless nights — curse or blessing? was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.