In a cover interview with Shape, Tracee Ellis Ross shared some notes on cultivating a ‘productive relationship with loneliness’.
Reflecting on relationships, Ross said, ‘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 realise 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.’
She also confirmed that she’s ‘happily single’, but that she wouldn’t pass up a good thing, explaining, ‘[T]hat 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.’
So what kinds of things does she do to spend quality time with herself?
‘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,’ she said. ‘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.’
She added that part of learning to love yourself is letting go of perfectionism. ‘I used to spend so much time trying to be perfect, to get it perfect. But that’s not realistic. Bad feelings come up,’ she said. ‘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.”‘