All by myself

I’ve spent most of my life believing that I am a highly extroverted person. I’m great socially and until my late twenties, spent most of my time out, with people.  When a significant relationship ended for me at 25, my lifestyle changed dramatically and I put it down to the fact that I was mending a broken heart (albeit at my breaking) and was rebuilding my life. But, in rebuilding my life, I realised I wanted some things to change. While I’ve always had an active social life, I haven’t ever had a lot of good friends. To be honest, I’ve never really needed many people in my life. Sounds strange doesn’t it – I was very social and yet not sociable.

As I got my life back together post-breakup, I moved out for the first time on my own. It was this step that opened up a whole new way of being for me. I LOVED IT. I had a sanctuary from the world. Somewhere I could breathe. Somewhere I could be. On. My. Own. It was as if, I fell into some sort of coma, my identity repairing itself from years spent constantly around other people. Often people I didn’t know well and people I didn’t connect with. Years spent being ‘on’. All the time. In my own place, I could just be.

I found I enjoyed being with myself. I felt reenergised. I felt wholly happy for the first time in years. I felt more complete. And, I met someone amazing, someone like me. Someone very adept socially. Someone who others sought out in social situations, but someone, like me, whose preference it was to be quiet. Alone or with someone close. Very quickly we began a family. We knew so soon that we had found an answer in each other.

It was when I allowed myself to identify as an introvert, to live my life this way, to acknowledge that I sought energy from time on my own, preferred aloneness, that I found true peace within myself. I made decisions in my life based on my need to be quiet, to avoid large social situations or situations that required I meet a lot of new people. This drains me considerably and has so often made me feel inauthentic. I accepted that I had a few close friends and that this was enough. I began searching for a career that would allow me this quiet, which would not demand significant social interaction. I planned a family to provide community and connection in my life. All of this made sense.

And what has happened has been transformative. I have ironically, met more people and made more friends with whom I share real and authentic connection. I find social situations much easier. I no longer dread my social engagements in the same way. This is because I have found a way to be present, to be me.  I don’t have to pretend anymore. I don’t need to always make conversation. I don’t need to always be funny, be interesting, be pretty, be known. I enjoy being social now because I feel more real.  And I don’t feel obliged to do it again tomorrow or next week or even next month. I enjoy it for what it is and then retreat into the space that I feel most alive. I write this having come across this website the other day.

It felt like I’d come home.

 

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