Outside Looking In

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In grade 9 I remember going on a retreat; it was a way for us to get to know each other and connect prior to diving into the new school year.

We were given a bunch of fun activities as a group to do, but one stood out to me the most from that day.

Our group was told to stand on top of a milk crate. We all had to figure out how to get everyone up there. It was suppose to teach us about group bonding and teamwork.

I remember everyone getting on top and laughing. I also remember how shy I was back then and I wasn’t sure where to get on. Then a boy from my group held out his arm and said hey you need to get up here too!!! And then everyone turned around and said yeah come on get up here!! All smiles and laughter.

I’ll never forget the feeling I had that day. I felt like I truly belonged.

I was reflecting on this memory today because, for most of my life, I have been feeling like I’ve been on the outside looking in.

Well today it hit me like a ton of bricks; I’ve come to realize that it’s because I bought into that belief over time. I believed just because I had differences of opinion or because I looked different, talked and/or acted differently that somehow that disconnected me from others.

I thought I had to become like a chameleon and blend in. Be like everyone else so that I could be loved and accepted. Feel like I was a part of something. The more I tried so hard to fit in, to be accepted and ultimately loved, the more lonely I felt.

Who am I kidding; still feel.

However; being aware of this has made me realize I have a choice. My husband also pointed that out to me today. He said, you can either continue to remain sad about the choices you made in the past or you can choose to be happy now.

In the past, I would wallow in my sadness and play the victim. I’ve decided not anymore. Alchemists are known to turn base metals such as iron into gold, so the legends say. I’d like to think of myself as a mental alchemist; turning my ‘iron’ thoughts into ‘gold’ ones.

If I had a child, and she came to me one day saying she felt like she was on the outside looking in, my advice to her would be this:

The more you lose yourself, the more lost your become. Own who you are, even if it’s not what everyone else is. Sooner or later, the ones that will love you for you will find your light, because it’s shinning brightly from the love you have for yourself.

Probably time I take my own advice.

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