“Loneliness can lead to depression.” A college psychology professor taught me that. While it’s satisfying to occasionally be alone to brush up on hobbies and reflect on inner feelings, I feel it is instilled in our DNA to seek out camaraderie. Who we are and what we do (our “Self”) is fulfilled through communication and relationships. Words of encouragement, laughter, a smile, a touch, a high-five or thumbs up….these are the expressions that bring us closer together through shared experience.
Yet, it can be difficult to fit in when oxygen deficiency keeps you from being socially active. In my case, the survival mentality I adopted to stay health conscious-keeping me focused on my own issues-made it challenging to learn social awareness. In addition, hospitalizations made early elementary home-schooling necessary, stalling growth in my ability to have peer interactions. Though I’m what you might call a “social butterfly,” it’s always taken me a little longer to pick up on social cues.
By Jr.High School, a combination of looking different and lack of understanding for group dynamics made me unpopular and an easy target for bullies. There were many days I came home in tears, feeling so angry, powerless and alone. What tore me up was the fact that I knew I was a good person and wanted the same bullies to like me.
I’m not complaining; the down days have thought me considerable life lessons. For one, there is a difference between being lonely and being alone. Being alone is a physical isolation or separation between yourself and what is around. Loneliness is a mental perspective. The distinction is that while you can’t always change your location, you can change your outlook on life.
Feeling rejected and lonely in my early years fostered in me a deep sensitivity for the underdog, those who are under-appreciated or picked on. Working through feelings of isolation and despair allowed me to discover new strengths and passions. For instance, by exploring my life philosophy by journaling, I discovered a new passion for blogging! Becoming a member of this online community and communicating with similar folks excites me. Revealing how I overcame insecurities will hopefully inspire others face their difficult experiences and discover their own joy.
~~ Breathe Easy ~~