Feeling alone? My tried and true secret for making the best kind of friend.
I remember when I started "waking up" in college. I started exploring my own beliefs and coming up with a lot of stuff that made me really uncomfortable, especially when I thought about sharing it. I hid my newfound sense of spirituality like it was some kind of dark family secret. In my mind, I was supposed to be talking about other people: what they were wearing, who they were dating … anything to avoid actually talking about myself. People would think I was weird if I talked about my own "feelings", my own awarenesses. I'm not supposed to have those, I thought. My greatest fear, the one that kept me and my feelings in hiding, was that if I were to share anything about the woman I was becoming, about what I was realizing, I might lose a whole bunch of friends. And so I did. I started being a whole lot more "myself" and I lost a whole bunch of friends. But I gained a whole bunch of new ones, and I even got some of the old ones back after I got a little more comfortable in my own skin. I began sharing more openly about where I was "coming from", my thoughts and feelings on the world around me, and so I attracted those with similar beliefs and perspectives like a magnet. This was a welcomed miracle.
It took a lot of courage for me to start "coming out" about who I was. I still struggle more than I care to admit with sharing what resonates with me on social media for fear that others might think I'm crazy or weird. People probably do think I'm crazy and weird in some cases, but others say "I get you", and my courage to share who I am is what brings those people into my life.
As I began to share more readily my thoughts, perspectives and convictions on things like Facebook, suddenly my newsfeed left me with fewer and fewer reasons to head to my favorite section of the bookstore. Logging on to FB was like entering a world of inspiration: quotes, photos, blogs, you name it. Anything I might be struggling with, I seemed to get the answer to. Instead of being a a life-sucking energy vortex, my newsfeed was more like a a big, positive energy field.
We all have the power to "come out" about who we really are and attract people who get us, who live life where we live it. The trouble is, for many (myself included), it can be extremely scary to say "hey, I like this, and I'm not crazy for liking it, so I'm going to share it with others." I swear, every time I write a blog post I think about the litany of individuals who must think I'm totally insane. The only thing that saves me is the fact that I'm somehow willing to write anyway after knowing the pain of NOT writing, of NOT sharing and thus living in a world where I'm surrounded by other people and yet totally, completely alone.
If it's a gift you can't imagine giving yourself, maybe it's time to imagine giving it to someone else: when we free ourselves, we free those around us in ways we didn't even know we had the power to. They stop thinking they're so "crazy" because they know you're hanging out on the crazy train right along with them. There's freedom in numbers. And let me tell you something: whatever it is that's inside of you, whoever you really are that you're afraid of really stepping into, you're not crazy. You're not weird. There are people out there just like you. They're waiting to hear from you, connect with you and be friends with you … if only you'll give them the chance to really see you.
And even for all those who might be uncomfortable with you, who might think you've fallen off the deep end, who can't understand why you're "flip-flopping" when you seemed to have a different opinion last year (news flash: we all flip-flop, it's called being human), I bet there is one person in your universe whose day could be made by finding out they're not alone, by finding out you feel the same way they do.
If you think you're the only one who feels the way you do, maybe it's because no one knows how you feel and therefore can't come up to you and say "OMG, I feel the same way!"
So try it. Tell someone who you are today. You might just make a new friend. And if for some reason you don't, I can tell you that at the very least, you will surely have gotten closer with the best friend you could possibly have: