When You Have Nobody
Last Sunday, I had my first ever sharing session—it was a great experience for me and I learned so much from everyone’s exchange of thoughts and experiences. My session was about creating a kinder inner voice because I felt that in this day and age, perhaps due to new challenges even our parents never had to face, we are becoming overly critical of ourselves while in the process of figuring out our lives.
We had both ladies and gents at my sharing session and the participants ranged from the ages of 19 to 30 somethings. If you count the owner of the venue I did the session in plus my mother who was present, we had people up to the ages of 50 something in the room just listening to each other without judgment and giving each other advice. If you want me to write more on the session, let me know because I didn’t record it.
There was a young participant which I’ll call S whose struggle to make friends in school really struck a chord with me. Currently, she’s 19 years old and just started college but she’s still scarred by her experiences of being bullied in school and struggling to fit in. In her school, everyone had their own cliques and because many of them came from privileged backgrounds and sort of grew up with each other, they were not open to accepting her and even created rumours about her.
Her experience has made her adopt an unkind inner voice, one that is full of self-doubt and because of this, she’s easily influenced by people’s opinions of her and is afraid she won’t ever be able to fit in or make friends in her new college. When someone shares you these things in person, it’s hard to give good advice on the spot but I did tell her 3 things:
Be PATIENT WITH YOUR healing process.
Trust me, guys. I know the feeling. It’s that frustrated voice in your head telling you: Everyone’s moved on, now it’s your turn. Why can’t you feel better already??
When we are healing from something traumatic or very hurtful, we should not give ourselves an unrealistic timeframe to recover. Sometimes, in the process of feeling determined to overcome our struggles, we beat ourselves up even more when we fail to do so in the timeframe we have set ourselves. Life isn’t a Hollywood movie: we don’t just wake up one day, feel the need to overcome our demons and from there onwards, it’s smooth sailing.
The process of healing a hurting heart takes time as emotional pains are made up of different layers—they have to be peeled one by one.
Be kind to yourself during the healing process.
When the feelings of hurt decide to pop back up again and ruin your day: acknowledge the pain. You can greet it: Hey, I know you’re here to remind me of what I went through but you can’t stay long. I don’t believe in numbing ourselves as it’ll come back to haunt you—emotions are there to be felt and understood, we just shouldn’t give them the power to take control over us. I also shared my reflections on a quote from Tuesdays With Morrie which has helped me whenever I’ve to deal with a difficult emotion.
Things won’t be like this forever.
I’m super grateful that I’ve a bunch of truly wonderful souls in my close circle of friends but it wasn’t always this way. I’ve had many ‘friends’ who weren’t always the best influence for me, they weren’t the most genuine to me or others and they didn’t stick around when times got hard. I’ve had ‘friends’ who bullied me, pushed me around and made me feel awful about myself.
At the age of 14, had you told me I would make the best of friends and they would stay, I wouldn’t have believed you. When you’re young, it always seems like this is it, this is how it’s going to be forever but it won’t be! Nothing is bad forever. As you grow up and develop a stronger sense of who you are, you will start making better friends.
There is one thing I would like to add, which I failed to mention to her:
Being on your own is better than being part of the wrong crowd.
If the people you’re surrounded with are mean, shallow, superficial and lack moral integrity, REJOICE that they have not accepted you into their circle. You should be throwing confetti into the air and throwing yourself a party because you do not fit their criteria of a horrible human being. Their rejection of you is actually an ACHIEVEMENT.
It’s a very good thing when you do not fit in with a crowd that is either toxic or don’t share the same principles as you. You’re the product of the average 5 people you spend the most time with. If the people you associate with the most are horrible, chances are: so are you. You inherit your friends’ traits and habits: both good and bad.
While I understand that everyone craves companionship because we thrive on the bonds we forge with others, there is a time for friendships and there’s a time for solitude. There’s a time for love and there’s a time for heartache. You’ll experience all kinds of relationships in your lifetime and they’ll come and go or stay, at a time that is right.
We put in so much pressure on ourselves to be a part of ‘something’—whether it’s a clique, a friendship or a relationship/marriage—because we think it will makes us feel valued and accepted but you can be a part of something and still feel out of place, invisible and unloved. You can be hanging out with people all the time and still feel like the loneliest person alive.
Although I was at the pinnacle of my self-hatred phase in uni, I was ironically a lot better at being ‘alone’ back then. Strangely enough, when you don’t pressure yourself to make friends, you naturally get people wanting to befriend you. Also, by the time I was in uni, my love for writing and drawing cartoons (yes, believe it) grew and I had a great time channelling my energy into those hobbies.
A LOT of things took place between my uni days and now. My ongoing journey with self-acceptance has taught me that as you learn to become kinder to yourself, you attract those who are overall kinder human beings. When you change for the better, different aspects of your life also improve with the positive changes you’ve made to yourself.