As far back as I can remember I have stood out from the crowd. Going through our school years being different can lead to isolation, at least for sensitive types like me. I admire those who are bravely different and seem to get charged up by other’s derogatory or dismissive behaviour. I think they are the exception to the rule. I believe most of us can bravely hold our chin high in the face of negativity directed towards our ‘differentness’ but inwardly, it takes a toll.
So this is what now works for me: I choose to be around people who ‘get’ me.
I no longer tolerate being around people who behave like my spiritual openness is perilous, or my friendship with a lesbian is questionable, or my enjoyment of writing is wasted time, or my belief in peace is foolish, or my occasional goofiness is childish, or that my trust can be flippantly betrayed. Or any other negative and derogatory energy that certain people in my family and social circle had blatantly expressed.
I now make it easy on myself: I completely remove myself from that kind of negative energy.
Yes, the choice to only be around people who ‘get’ us can shrink our social circle, at first. But how wonderful we start to feel, not having that crushing, debilitating energy bringing us down, lowering our self-esteem, and making us feel bad. How wonderful to feel lighter, and free to be who we really are! As we celebrate our uniqueness and shine our own light out into the world, we are as a beacon for like-minded people and new friends to be drawn towards us.
Along with being a beacon, be also active. Get out there doing the things you really enjoy and maintain your enjoyment of being who you really are. And if you are married, your wedding ring should suffice to announce you are only looking for friends. I suggest mentioning your partner in the occasional comment, just to help with sending out clear energy that it is friendship you seek. Here are ideas to get you started:
Love writing? Find out about writer’s groups in your area. Many exist that welcome newcomers of all abilities. Some have workshops. Some have open sessions encouraging writers to read aloud if they wish. And many take place in coffee shops.
Love cooking? Take a cooking class to learn something new and meet some new people.
Love your Church? Or your local Park? Volunteering is an excellent way to meet new people.
Love your dog? Go to public dog parks and when your dog is doing the happy-dog-dance of sniffing with other dogs, laugh about it with other owners and ask for dog’s and owner’s names and share your own. If you enjoyed someone’s energy as a potential new friend, then go back on the same day of the week, same time. You’ll likely meet them again.
Love museums? Many offer casual tours after hours for a nominal fee where you can meet and chat with other like-minded people. Also perhaps you love yoga? Working out at the gym? Stretch your comfort zone and start conversations with others. Discover if this person you’re chatting with could become a new friend.
Love gardening or wineries? There are all kinds of tours ready to be joined! These help you not only view inspiring gardens, or learn about different wines and wineries, but you get to enjoy travelling to them and through them with others who you have at least one thing in common with. Find out if there’s more.
Offer your name with a smile. Ask questions. Get it started.
Now of course we can meet new people who are actually the same old people with a new face, if we have not yet released our inner pull towards old patterns of feeling hurt and belittled. If you find your new acquaintance starts saying those negative things you are releasing from your life, and your communication with them does not change it, then let that new friendship go. Return to working within yourself to shine proudly of who you are and what you believe and what makes you happy. Release those old hurts and forget those past people. Then call up that other new friend you recently met and ask if they’d like to meet up soon. A walk, a talk, a cuppa joe or tea.
No matter what our age or stage of life, we can create a healthy circle of support around us with friends who really get us. I believe it, and I am working on it, building a small but growing group of kindred spirits celebrating diversity and individuality, while supporting each other in being ourselves.
I know I deserve it. And so do you. Let’s make it happen!