Society somewhat idealizes the social butterfly and luckily for myself, I’ve been able to develop some of those skills. Throw me in a group of people and if I choose to, I can really add to the party and get the conversations going. I’ve always been proud of my capability to do this but many times, I find myself kind of not wanting to. On the other hand though, I absolutely loathe being by myself.
This has made figuring out the right balance extremely difficult. After reflecting on this for a few years (and yes, it’s been years of observation), I’ve finally started to realize what it is.
There’s a part of me that needs time to process what’s been going on or “check in with myself” as one of my friends likes to say. I don’t need to simply be by myself or be AWAY from people; I need time to be off to the side, around people but in my own world, next to people but unbothered, and free from judgement to process my mind, create, and/or do.
This time is dedicated to thinking about how things have been going, to reassess myself, to check up on myself and ask, “Hey dude, how have you been recently?” I guess that’s why I’ve taken a big liking to journaling. The gym might even be a part of it. Both give me the space to have little to no expectations from anyone. Both give me the space to check in with myself.
I haven’t quite found a way to balance this in every situation and not understanding it has, from time to time, caused me quite a bit of stress internally. One of the most difficult times for me is when I travel with people who don’t need that kind of time. Because I hadn’t understood it myself, I haven’t been able to properly communicate this to others. And because of this lack of understanding, I’d always defaulted to what I felt was “proper” in society – to “make the most of it” and continue to jump into social situations.
This has led to many undesirable outcomes such as slingshotting myself the other direction and isolating myself, or feeling some turmoil and anxiety and keeping it to myself because I’d be unable to explain it, or worst of all, trying to explain or act on what I think it is and realizing later that I was wrong.
Realizing this now gives me some light and hope.
For now, I’m trying to figure out the right amount of balance for myself – how much time do I need to work on my own thing? How much time am I able to spend around others? What are the best ways to communicate this to those close to my circles? What is the best way to balance this with those that don’t need this time? How should I incorporate this while I travel?
What do you think? Do you have similar feelings? Have you created any strategies?