My outgoing teen daughter has an issue with my social graces lately. Ms. Rosy Sunshine talks to everyone she meets, and likes to visit with friends often. She’s happy, funny and smart. Others enjoy her company. I remember way back when — I was her. Over the years I’ve changed.
I would rather be alone — a lot. I recognized this in myself over a decade ago when I worked full-time at a busy government office. Instead of going out to lunch with co-workers, I’d typically pack, eat outside and take a brisk walk to clear my head.
These days I work from home and I am in my element. I spend most days writing. We live in the middle of the woods and the only sounds I hear for hours at a time (besides the voices in my head) are the birds singing. On the weekends I socialize with friends, and parents at softball games and tournaments, but if there’s downtime between games I’ll find a quiet space to read.
I wonder if some of the parents don’t like me (or think I’m weird like my daughter does). Why? I think. I like them, I have no reason not to. I just prefer being silent over engaging in small talk. I am out-of-balance when I’m around people too much. It’s exhausting.
I am a kind and considerate human. I naturally have a lot of empathy and compassion. I cry easily — over both positive and negative emotions. I wonder if many people know that. I am not a gushy go-out-of-the-way kind of warm that some people are. I am introverted. And I’m pensive.
Professionally I’ve dedicated my life to helping others. I was a social worker for nearly a decade; it wore on me. My heart felt as if it would literally break working through hard life situations with clients. I began teaching yoga once I left that role, and my practice consists mostly of working with individuals to facilitate deep healing. I also write professionally, mostly for organizations that help others.
Lately I’ve been pondering the reasons I like certain people, and the reasons others rub me the wrong way. What qualities in others do I admire most? What attributes make me want to stay away from some? These questions led into further questions. Do others like me? What do they like about me? What do they not like about me?
And a realization occured.
Other people liking me isn’t a life prerequisite. If my actions are in line with spirit and I’m not ill-intentioned, others not liking me is not my problem. In fact, it may be more about them than me if I haven’t personally done anything to them.
I am who I am — and I’m okay exactly as I am. You are who you are — and you are okay exactly as you are.
What others think of me is none of my business. What others think of you is none of your business.
Staying true to ourselves is what matters most.