“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along”-Eleanor Roosevelt
High School. The Glory Days. Time is structure and laid out for you perfectly. You have sports and classes and a small community where is it so easy to make connections. After long days here in college I often return back to these times in my mind. I had everything I needed provided for me. I was surrounded by likeminded people and given activities to do that I loved or at least learned to love. Making friends took little effort and initiative. Oh those were the days.
If you’re an introvert you long for those days now. Now its up to you to change your situation. Lately I have been feeling increasingly lonely. It seems that people are becoming increasingly close due to going out together. I feel left out of this group of people. Lonely. Sad. Depressed. There is this ever-present internal battle between staying true to myself and carrying this continuous burden of loneliness, or giving into the status quo and feeling less lonely but all the while losing my self and true identity. I have done both in my time here at school. I am sure you guys have too. You finally get the energy to put on makeup, a dress, and a smile and participate in something you really dont want to just to escape that feeling for just a couple short hours. I have noticed though, when I give up self for this false reality of connection, I never feel connected. So I have decided to ditch this cycle. I chose myself. I chose keeping my identity. Thats where the brave is. I have noticed through talking to various people and also on the famed “Yik Yak”, people feel alone too. People dont want to party all the time. People want real life deep wholesome and true connections. You and I deserve that. Unfortunately though it is our prerogative to create the circumstances of connection. This I know is so much easier said than done. The more lonely I get the harder it is to put myself out there.
I have found through feedback and self-awareness that I am not the easiest to approach and get to know. I am introverted and I put out an energy that for most people threatens them. How do I change that? I have to put myself out there. Throughout our lives we are given challenges by the universe in which we are to navigate and overcome. These challenges are there to teach us a lesson, and by overcoming the obstacle we emerge with a greater understanding of ourselves and where we belong in the world. These challenges shape our identity. When you are given an issue or a problem, you can’t succumb to it and allow it to defeat you. You have to do whatever it takes to overcome it.
Right now I have been given a very hard and difficult challenge. I need to work to make connections. I need to put myself out there and give people the chance to get to know me. I need to let my guard down. I am sure some of you are feeling the same way. It’s scary and it’s so difficult. Once you do everything you can to do this though you will have overcome the obstacle life has placed in front of you. You will emerge with life skills that you will need in order to continue to live a happy and fulfilled life. In a way there is something beautiful about that. We grow through challenges in the ways we must in order to live the lives we want. There is plan for you. You have a purpose. You will inevitably find joy in life, and you will share that joy with others eventually. Instead of just waiting for that though, why not go out into the world and take it. I will be documenting my attempt this week and the following. I am going to try to do as many things as I can, and meet as many people as I can. Please document your similar expereinces too. Please use my experience to model your own. Now go out there and be brave. You have the power to change your circumstance. There are people out there waiting to meet you and waiting to create profound friendships just like you. Brave is a Decision.