You Are Not Public Property

First, you are not "property" at all.

Doesn't always feel like it, though, does it? You are a social security number, with legal government surveillance attached to you. You are an online stream of data feeding advertisers, with dollar signs attached to you. You are a parent of a toddler or a teen, with endless questions and needs following you around. You are tethered to a device that squawks every time anyone wants to know anything about you or say anything to you, no matter where you go.

It's no wonder why more and more people want to curl up in a ball and hide from the overwhelming visibility and expectations we encounter every day. For some, this is merely inconvenient. For others, it manifests more seriously, as anxiety, depression, or suicidal tendencies, because the desire to escape from constant demand is so strong it begins to affect the mind, body, and hormonal balance. 

Whether it's the ringing of the phone, flip comments on a thoughtful post, the prying of a casual acquaintance, or a pop-up window demanding your information, there are many seeming obstacles to privacy. The only true privacy one has, sometimes, is found exclusively in the depths of one's own mind.

It's a good thing that, not coincidentally, this is where the real you lives.

You are allowed to retreat. You are allowed to keep your own counsel. You are allowed to have opinions that you choose not to share. You are allowed to disagree and walk away quietly. You are allowed to be secretive about precious things so that they do not become soiled by the grabbing hands and suspicious eyes of the world.

When you cultivate space for privacy, for respite, for solitude, and for quiet, it's as if you have stepped into an inner river. From that wellspring flows so much creativity and happiness that eventually something will bubble up over the banks of your mind and flood its way into the world. When it does, it is a gift you can freely give with an open heart.

Iyanifa Ifalade TaShia Asanti says, "Give from the overflow." When you feel depleted, exposed, baked in the harsh light of the public eye, you have no overflow left, nothing to give. Your wellspring dries up in the heat. Do not be afraid to withdraw from everything from time to time and rejuvenate your your own way, at your own pace, on your your terms. Remind yourself, and everyone else, that you belong to YOU, that you are not public property.

Then watch how quickly you begin to flow again.