I harbour secrets.
There are things I think inside my head that I rarely say out loud to other human beings.
They're the things I think are wrong about me. The things I think are a bit defective in my DNA. Ways of being that are wrong. Opinions that are wrong.
Yesterday I was having coffee with a friend and she tricked me into sharing one of my secrets. Or maybe she didn't trick me, she just asked the question and the answer came out.
She asked me how I was feeling about leaving my friends and all the people I know behind when I leave London.
I told her I was glad and excited.
That might have been a good place to stop. But I went on...
I told her there aren't many people I like to spend time with. I might have even mentioned that a lot of people bore me. I told her that even the friends I do love spending time with here in London I very rarely see because I like to spend a lot of time alone.
I told her I was totally done with spending time with people who drain me of energy just because I feel some sort of obligation to do so.
I told her that one of the reasons I don't want to go to Bali is because I don't particularly want to see anyone I know. Even people I like and am sure would quite enjoy spending some time with.
I told her some of my most joyous moments are the moments I spend with strangers. People I'll likely never see again.
I told her I was fed up of hearing that real friendships are the ones that go back decades. For the record, that's bullshit. Deep and true friendships can be formed at any time and any moment of your life. Some of my closest friends right now are friends I've met only in recent years.
I allude to this side of myself often, but I'm not sure anyone ever truly gets it. Let me spell it out.
I LOVE people. I love people so much. I love the interactions and the connections. I love running play workshops with large groups of people. I love meeting strangers. I love coaching. I love my clients. Really a very deep love for my clients. Nothing matters more to me than people.
And yet I very frequently detest spending time with people. If the conversation isn't either real, inspiring or deeply connected, get me out of there.
I don't know if you know what I'm getting at today. Here it is:
It's easy to feel that the way you are is somehow WRONG. It's easy to feel that if you don't love going out or spending a lot of time with people that there must be something wrong with you or that you must be depressed or isolated and that maybe you ought to do something to try and fix that whole thing.
But it's only a problem if it's not what you want. If it doesn't make you happy.
The problem is that lots of people don't really know if something about them is a problem or not. They just assume it is because that's what everyone's telling them. That's the overwhelming message thrust upon them by society.
Like I assumed for the longest time that it's a PROBLEM and WRONG and BAD that I don't want to spend much time with anyone. Ever. But then I look at it and ask myself, "what makes me feel good, really? When do I feel best, really?"
And the answer is always when I just have the balance that's right for ME.
And that balance for me is probably 80/20. 80% of my time alone, 20% with other people. That's a very enjoyable balance for me.
For someone else that's not a good balance. Fine. Not a problem.
I'm not talking just about being quiet or introverted here. That's not what this post is about. It's about all those things about you that you think are wrong. It could be anything. Here are some of the things I've felt are wrong about me in the recent or distant past:
I don't like co-working spaces. Cafes? Yes. Co-working spaces, no thank you. Don't even ask me why.
Collaboration? Very occasionally. With the right people. Otherwise, no thank you.
Going to bed VERY early and getting up VERY early. More acceptable to people now I'm older. But when I was younger I had to hear a lot that I was very boring because of the hours I kept.
I'm sure you have plenty of your own. Some of them you've probably understood are ok now. But others maybe not. And new ones keep arriving. It requires a constant vigilance to recognise when you're feeling wrong about something just because of what other people are saying is right.
Just for goodness sake, step outside of that for a second. Tune in for a second. What makes YOU feel good? What makes YOU feel happiest?
There's NOTHING wrong with being the way you are if the way you are feels good for you. No need to apologise for it. No need to change anything. CERTAINLY no need to fix yourself.
This is YOUR life. It's YOUR time. You get to choose HOW you spend it and WHO you spend it with. NO ONE else gets to say what's a good way to be or a bad way to be.
And one more thing I can guarantee?
That there are ALWAYS others who feel the same way as you who are sitting there in their own heads thinking that there's something wrong with them for being who they are.
So maybe once in a while let your own secrets spill out. Maybe you'll help someone else feel less wrong about who they are in this world.
Love and courage,