Thursday, April 28, 2011

thankful thursday ~ the continuing journey

Just over two years ago I posted about a journey I was going to embark on. Not a physical journey full of traveling, but rather an emotional journey. Not being one to particularly like the phrase, "I need to find myself," I struggled with the whole idea of what I was setting out to do just by saying those words.

I think that's why I haven't posted much about the progress of this journey ~ the last of the labeled "Finding Myself" posts being almost a year and a half ago; I hate using that term and felt like a big hypocrite. But I am thankful for putting one foot in front of the other on this journey, because I definitely have discovered things about myself over these past couple of years and the majority of them have been about relationships and how I interact ~ or don't interact ~ with others.

I have learned that sometimes, while trying to not be too quick to come to my own defense that I can be too slow to come to it. I definitely don't stand up for myself as often [or as strongly] as I should, and now I need to figure out how to change that. Because it needs to be changed. This is something I already started to realize awhile back but obviously haven't done much about it. Yet.

I have learned that I am very quiet in a group of people. Even in a group that I would think I would be very comfortable with ~ like at my own family dinners ~ I usually won't say much of anything unless I am spoken to. Now I need to understand why. Do I think that what I have to offer to the conversation isn't as important as everyone else's contributions? That nobody cares?

And even in smaller, intimate settings ~ sometimes even just one-on-one ~ I have learned I am not very talkative and open. I have no problem baring my heart and soul through writing [whether to a small audience in an email or a larger audience like this blog], but in a more vulnerable face-to-face circumstance, it is much harder for me to do. I often even struggle to simply make eye contact with people. I feel like they can see too much of me that I might not be quite ready to show them.

I have learned that I keep my opinions to myself [for the most part] when they differ from others...or at least when they differ from the majority. I need to learn that it is okay to be different than someone else; it doesn't make me wrong. And that when people debate their side of things, it isn't necessarily done in a spirit of attack. I need to figure out how to get comfortable with voicing my thoughts and how to receive other people's rebuttles without having my stomach in intense knots just because we're not on the same wave-length.

I have learned that I can be a bit of a social hermit. There are times where I maybe feel a bit more outgoing in either smaller or larger groups of people and can let loose and really enjoy myself. But for the most part, I seem to shy away from most get-togethers. I have learned that I actually need to sometimes force myself to get out and do things. It's not anything personal against whoever it is that I am spending time with ~ it has to do with my own personal issues.

I have learned through all of these discoveries that I am even more insecure in relationships than I have ever thought. I don't think I used to always be like this. And I think I more-or-less know when and why it started.

And ~ I have learned, through all of this, who my real friends are. The ones who know about all of these insecurities of mine ~ some of them who knew about them before I even did because they know me better than I know myself ~ and aren't annoyed or put-off by them, but rather try and help me work through them. The ones who understand. Either because they themselves can relate, or just because they have a strong degree of empathy. The ones who I can talk to about these things over and over and over again and know that they won't get sick of me...because they know how important it is to me to work them out.

So yes ~ I am thankful for the journey that was laid out before me. For the distance I have already traveled, and the remaining path that is still out there waiting to be discovered.

"The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination."
~ Don Williams


Samantha Steg said...

I could have written this post about me...everything you wrote about I can completely relate to. I've been trying really hard to 'come out my shell' so to speak, stand up for myself more, not be afraid to say what I'm thinking, or even just say hi to a neighbour while walking down the street. Great post, nice to see I'm not the only one

pam said...

I too feel like I can relate to so many things in your post. Even the eye contact thing. So you're definitely not alone.
I hope you can continue on your journey of "finding yourself" (I think that's a pretty corny phrase too), and not give up, even when you feel discouraged and just want shut the rest of the world out. And if you ever want to talk, whether it's by email or in person, just let me know.

Colleen said...

well written Andrea!! you aren't alone:)

TammyIsBlessed said...

A very open and honest self-evaluation that is (from what I know of you) totally on target.

My prayer is that you will continue to grow stronger as you find your self-worth and identity wrapped up in the fact that you are made in His image, and you are His masterpiece!