My friend Michelle and I went to San Juan, Puerto Rico for the weekend.
Both our husbands were indisposed so instead of staying home and watching Cults and Extreme Belief all weekend (which, don’t get me wrong, has its place!), we decided to take a girl’s trip.
To our delight, June 23rd is Noche de San Juan. It was AMAZING!
There’s something so empowering when you spend time with people who get you.
There’s no awkwardness you can’t handle. You make up INSANE inside-jokes that have the next table side-eyeing you in confusion and annoyance.
You feel less...alone.
This trip helped me realize two things:
At a young age, we start to pay into relationships with people who don’t fully accept us, just to feel accepted. It creates a lot of confusion around our identity.
Besides pretending to be someone you’re not, you begin to develop patterns of creating distance in your relationships. You feel “safe” keeping an arm’s length. Not letting anyone see who you really are.
(And no, I’m not talking about your “professional” vs. “personal” self. I’m talking different personas based on who you’re with.)
IMHO...It’s a really fucked up way to live.
I knew it was a huge problem when I started to resent others for having found their “people”. I was envious of other’s relationships but too scared to open up and build my own. I blamed it on my upbringing, my family, my childhood traumas...
Basically, it was everyone’s fault but mine for being “mean” or not liking me.
I learned that avoiding vulnerability and connection because you’re afraid of rejection leaves you feeling desperate and forlorn. It only produces more and more distance until you’ve created a self-fulfilled prophecy of isolation.
This happens because deep down, you believe your worth comes from what other people say or think about you.
Instead of working on accepting yourself, you develop bad habits to cope with the feelings of inadequacy.
Maybe it’s overeating when you’re bored or stressed...
Or getting shit-faced and embarrassing yourself...
Maybe it turns into anger or resentment towards the people who do love you when they don’t meet your expectations, which only drives them further away….
(Ugh, for me it was all of the above plus some…)
So…where do we go from here?
Next time you feel like sitting on the couch, swiping through the App du Jour, waiting for some comment or Tinder match to make you feel some semblance of a connection…Don’t.
*Call a friend you like to laugh with!
*Ask someone to dinner!
*No one’s free? Head to a meetup event, coffee shop, or bar and start conversations with the people around you!
If that sounds intimidating, get outta your head, dude! It’s really not. I promise.
Spending time practicing how to connect with human strangers is liberating. You get to practice being yourself with minimal consequences. The best part is that you’ll find your truest self in the process.
And hey! You’ll have awesome memories and might even meet someone you’ll love along the way?
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