Being not “good” enough
We all want to have friends, we all want to be accepted by others. Unfortunately, some people will not like who you truly are, and you know it. Sometimes we meet people we think we like, maybe because they look a certain way, maybe because they are part of a certain group, maybe because they have a certain position we admire, etc. But when we realize that who we are might not be enough for them to be interested in us, we often try to be someone else. What I learned through experience is this: If you aren’t “good” enough for them, then they are also most likely not good for you in the long run. They will drain your energy, they will always make you feel under pressure, and in the end, you won’t even like yourself any more.
Changing your character for others is not a good idea
You are who you are – and that is absolutely okay. Everyone changes over time, everyone develops new skills, new likes, new dislikes, and everyone becomes a little bit wiser when they get older. Some more, some less. I know how easy it is to feel like other people will not like you for who you are, and how easy it is to believe they will judge you negatively for your ideas and character traits. And I will not lie to you: there will be many people who won’t like you during your life. That is not a problem though: They most likely will not play an important role in your life unless you let them. The one person you will always have in your life is YOURSELF. That is the person you have to live with, and that is the person you need to love and get along with 24/7 – for the rest of your life. If you let other people change who you are, if you let them become an actor, then how happy will you be in your own skin? How much will you then still like yourself? You’ll have to live with the knowledge that you are betraying yourself – and the people who do not like you for who you are are simply not worth it. They might seem like they are great people in your eyes, but if you have to turn into an actor to be liked by them, then they are not good people to have in your life.
Nobody wants to be lonely – being alone though is a GOOD thing
It is okay to spend time on your own. It even is GOOD for you if you have time to spend on your own. Use that time to read, to play, to be creative, to do something you really enjoy doing. Meditate, improve your skills, relax – just do something that has a positive effect on your life. You don’t need others to improve yourself and your life – and I learned that people respect you a lot more when they know that you don’t need others all the time, and that you also work towards certain goals on your own. Having a goal, working towards it, and reaching it on your own is also a great confidence booster. I’ll write something about setting goals the right way (so you can reach them, too, and continue being motivated) in a while, too.
The right people might not turn up as quickly as you would like them to
I will not lie to you about this: it is very possible that it takes a while for the right kind of friend to turn up in your life. You might meet them when you join groups that share your interest, or you might meet them out of the blue when you are in a book store, paying for the newest release of your favourite author. Of course, when a person that shares some of your passions turns up, you will get excited, and you hope that you can spend more time with them. But then again: do not make the mistake of becoming a people pleaser. If you find they have a different opinion about something than you, don’t just change your own opinion and agree with them. State your point of view (in a friendly manner though), and see where the discussion goes. The right people will accept that people have different opinions, and discussions can be very fruitful experiences if it all stays respectful.
The fear of rejection
I know the fear of rejection very well. Please, don’t believe that I just go through life with a “I don’t give a **** what people think”. I do care, and recently I have met a few people that I think are fantastic. Every time I say something to them that might be controversial, and that might not be a popular opinion, I am worried about them turning away (because I do not know them well enough yet). Two of those people I just liked immediately, and I decided to trust my first impression this time (though one of them I almost did not talk to). The time when I revealed something very important to me, came soon enough (with both people it was during the second meeting). I was worried I’d be branded as odd, as someone they would not want to see again. But when BOTH of them said they share the same attitude, I felt incredibly relieved. I know this fear every single time I talk to someone about something that is very important to me (unless it’s a person I don’t care about much) – but I have also learned that it is better to face that fear than to just hide yourself behind a mask and be unhappy about not being able to tell the truth. I have learned it is a lot better to be with people who accept your truths than people who like you for your lies.
Confidence comes in different forms
I am not perfect, and I know it. I still have a long way to go when it comes to dealing with other people. People who know me personally often think that I am a very confident person. After all, I have no problems with speaking in public, with being a leader of a group, and even holding presentations in front of “important” people is not a problem for me. I used to teach for one semester as part of my teacher training, and I enjoyed it. Nobody would ever have suspected I was a, introverted person with a mild case of social anxiety. But those kind of situations were different: I was talking about things other than myself. I was talking about topics I knew a lot about, and about topics I was passionate about. It was not about making friends. I am great with speeches, I am good with words. I can be quite entertaining, even inspiring, I’ve been told.
This all changes when it’s about personal interactions. I still have a long way to go there – but I know that I need to be myself. Because only if you let people see who you are, only then will you be able to find someone who will want to support you with your real goals, with your dreams – all the other people will just support your fake mask, and will turn their back on your as soon as they realize your true self is someone completely different. Spare yourself this pain, and be open to finding the right people. They might be just as relieved as you are when they find someone who shares their ideals and ideas. It is a very nice thing to tell someone something important about yourself, and then hear the words: “Yes, I think so, too.”