Anytime that you decide to take the road less traveled in life, it makes sense that you will have moments of feeling alone and that you don’t belong. This is why it’s important to find like-minded friends in our diverse world. Having friends that are at similar stages in their lives to you, and that have similar deep-rooted beliefs and values will give you that important feeling of belonging.
I’m not saying that it’s not wonderful or beneficial to have friends that think differently from you, that are in different place in their lives, those friends are important as well. You can learn a lot from them, and they will help you continuously take a step back and re-evaluate your thoughts and beliefs. Having friends from a variety of backgrounds will help you grow your outlook on life, and that’s truly how we become more well-rounded and more accepting of others.
I am definitely someone that thinks differently than others. I am always looking at the big picture and strongly believe that mother nature knows best. This is an alternative view to the majority and can sometimes feel like an everyday battle to just be. Although I am comfortable with my thoughts and beliefs and where I am in life, I can quickly shut down when I’m in a room full of people that don’t agree with me. Confidence is an important part of being able to stand by your true self, but unless you’re comfortable with being judged, you’re going to come across situations where you aren’t always feeling the warm and fuzzy acceptance! I personally like to know my audience and avoid controversial topics as much as possible. I do grow a lot in these situations though, so I think avoiding it all the time is not the best idea, nor is it realistic.
Then there are the friends that are not like-minded to you, but are completely supportive of you and your opinions. Those friends are few and far between. Many try to be like this, or strive to be like this, but as soon as they turn around they are talking smack about you. It’s honestly hard to be content with others making different decisions than you because if you are lacking the confidence in yourself, it feels like an attack on you which makes you immediately jump on the defensive. Usually the people that honestly support you, despite differences, are family. There is an unconditional love in those relationships that go deep. I have an extremely supportive family and I wouldn’t change anything about them. We have different political and fundamental outlooks on life, and yet we are comfortable to just be ourselves.
But when you take family out of the picture, it becomes imperative that you find someone or a group of friends that allow you to put your guard down and just be you! My advice on finding these friends is to get out there, whether it’s joining a class or heading to a seminar where the topic is about one of your unique beliefs, or finding an online group that has similar world views. I personally have done a bit of both. The online groups are great because you can get to know each other honestly and then decide whether or not they are someone that you can be yourself around. It’s sort of like online dating! You get a preview into who are meeting. It’s also incredible to see that once you find these people, they are just as excited to get to know you as you are them. It’s definitely an instinct to find your people and avoid a life of loneliness where you are afraid to speak and afraid to be you.
Speaking of dating, I am lucky enough to have a partner that thinks the same way that I do. We do come from different backgrounds, but we are similar at the core and therefore easily understand each other. I have no problem being myself and we are always there for each other when the world seems like a lonely place. This becomes increasing important when it comes to raising our 3 children and making decisions that we can both be comfortable with. I do know that there are people out there that are in relationships where they are complete opposites deep down, where their partner, or person closest to them, doesn’t agree with their outlook and it can be a constant battle to make decisions in everyday life. I can’t imagine not having that extra support every day, and I give those people a lot of credit. The bright side for those people is that they are constantly being challenged and re-evaluating their own thoughts, which can lead to more growth and even more reward.
When I talk about having support in what sometimes feels like a lonely world, I’m also talking about the way that you have to face the harshness of people when they are on the defensive. People get mean when they feel backed into a corner and others aren’t doing what they want or expect them to. They become bullies and because they have a lot more people ‘on their side’, pack mentality sets in and they feel it’s easy to say hurtful things and put others down just to make themselves feel better. And facing those people can be terrifying. Like I said before, you have to realize that these people are on a different journey and their reactions are usually coming from fear and loss of control, but it still feels better to have a team on your side so that you don’t get totally squashed down emotionally.
That being said, it’s also important to make sure that your ‘team’ doesn’t use their strength to bully back. Taking the high road will always pay off in my experience, so use each other for support until the wind dies down.
My goal in life is to be someone that anyone can be themselves around. I would love to completely lose those moments when I am judgemental – but it’s a work in progress! It takes really putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, knowing that their journey is different from yours. Past experiences play an extremely big role in the way that you see the world, and I truly believe that if we remember this, and take the time to listen to others, we will find a way to understand each other and bring more positive energy into the world.