It took me a long time to understand that every person is in fact a different person. The world surrounding me made me feel incomplete and sometimes wrong about who it is that I wanted to become. I spent so much time trying to be someone so far from who I actually was that I became so distant from my true self.
At some point this distance confused itself with shyness. I was always labeled “the quiet one”, “the shy one”, “the introvert”; the list goes on. While some of these labels may be true, they do not define me. However, for a long period of time, I let them. I found myself not ever having anything to contribute to conversations, not voicing my opinions (which I had many of), and letting people walk all over me.
It was when I moved away from home, that this incessant fear of being myself began to wither away. For most of my life I was surrounded by the same circle of people. When I look back I now understand that these people were not complete nor were they aware of who it is that they are. This led them to be the most negative people who constantly put others down, even those closest to them. Because I was always being put down by these people, I learned during my early stages of cognitive development that I was essentially worthless. Time and time again I was being stabbed in the back, but because of my fear of speaking up for myself, I allowed this to continue. I never said a word, only in my inner most thoughts did I question the presence of these people in my life. I was afraid that if I were to be any different than they were I would be alone. That’s when I too, became this negative person who constantly put others down. When I think of myself at this time now, I can’t even recognize this person.
Fast-forwarding to when I finally freed myself from these chains. I was in a world were not a soul knew who I was. I was able to be whoever it is that I wanted to be, but I didn’t even know who this person was. So, naturally, I just went through the motions. I started doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing, as I had been for my whole life. As everyone was preparing for Sorority rush, so was I. I figured that this is what everyone in college does so then shouldn’t I also be doing this? I later found out that this was not the case. Not everyone is going to get along with everyone because we aren’t all the same. When I realized this, I began making friends with people I never imagined I would be friends with. I gained a completely new perspective, establishing a new-found love for learning while diminishing an old love for partying. Ironically enough, I had just began college and I discovered that I absolutely hated the typical college-partying scene. Of course, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but unfortunately there are people who do. This is when I realized that everyone is different, and that’s okay.
Not everyone has to enjoy the same passions, hobbies, or even people. Not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay, too. Moving away from home gave me the opportunity to learn new things about myself and for that I am forever grateful. I am no longer afraid to speak my mind or let anyone define me as being introverted, shy, or quiet. I’ve learned that the only person that’s in charge of your own happiness is yourself. I was constantly seeking approval from those around me, always in fear that I would say the wrong thing or just be the wrong person. But there is no way that you can be or do any of those things. Surround yourself with the right people and do the things that you love, and happiness will find its way into your life.