For many years I’ve pretty much been a hermit quite content staying home and hanging out with my dog. For the few friends I had, they knew I was an introvert and I’d often tell them I have like a two hour window on outings then I need to book it home. Something slowly changed all that though.
This two hour window I had created allowed me to fake it. You see within my confidence was very low. I didn’t feel like I was up to par per se. Within 2 hours I never had to go too deep with anyone and they’d never see how uncomfortable I was feeling inside. I repeatedly made excuses on why I couldn’t make it out when asked.
Covid may have helped keep that behavior, but I think it also inspired me to make some changes. When you lose a freedom life gets real, quick, and shines a light on what’s right in front of you that you’ve taken for granted. For me, I admitted I was lonely as hell! The days and nights alone were no longer cutting it. I realized I needed others in my life. I wanted to start sharing fun experiences with others so holy hell when I got older and looked back on my life I could say to someone …remember that time we did X?
Pain in this life is not avoidable, but the pain we create avoiding pain is avoidable.R. D. Laing
This change was also inspired by some growth work I implemented since my divorce. From obtaining empathy the hard way, becoming sober, getting out of debt, and focusing on my wellness I slowly started to like myself more and gain confidence on where I was at. When the gates were taken down after Covid, I started to push through my internal pain of socializing.
I put myself out “there” and started a walking and rucking group. I’d post the information out on MeetUp and in the beginning nobody would show. Slowly though folks started to attend. I’m actually glad it started off slow because I needed to work on practicing small talk. It was actually exciting meeting new folks and learning about their lives. Long story short, I eventually ended the groups, but I acquired 5 new friends I still do things with each month. It was a huge win.
Along with that I started a small group that I’m accountable to everyday. There’s only 3 of us and that seems to be the perfect number. We don’t meet in person, but we do check-in via an app called Volley that uses video primarily. Our group focus is on wellness: mental, physical, and just everyday things like what’s going on in our lives. I’ve learned I can be vulnerable and still accepted and even honored for it. That’s been huge to me. We all have the same drive on Do The Work and No Excuses. We celebrate our successes together and help hold each other up when times get interesting. Words can’t really express how grateful I am for these two folks. They make my day and life better. Thank you Jackie and Anne.
Beyond that I’m saying yes more now when asked if I want to do something. I found myself a few weeks ago at a movie with a friend. I was sitting in one of those recliners with my feet up, tapping my toes together, with a big smile on my face. I was happy and we were going afterwards to eat. It was going to be an over 2 hour extravaganza😊. This weekend I’m heading to a friends mom birthday where I won’t know many folks, but I’m committed to this new process. Like everything else in life you have to start somewhere, have faith, stare down the initial pain, and practice the practice! You will improve.
* Thanks, Lovie, for the inspiration to write this.
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