Friday, June 12, 2020

Reaching Out Instead of Retreating In

Today I'd like to share with you possibly the most important thing that I've learned during this strange time in our world's history.

Typically, I am a pretty quiet, introverted person.  I get nervous going to work, family gatherings, and even making plans with friends.  I generally believe that I am an awkward person and am hit or miss on carrying along a conversation.  Then, once the interaction is over, I typically spend a lot of time reflecting on it and the many ways in which I was, indeed, awkward.  Did I talk too much?  Not enough?  Was my face making the right expressions for the situations happening?  Did I express enough empathy or happiness?  Did I make the conversation lag?  Did that one thing I said somehow offend someone?  The list is endless, and is perhaps the reason that most of the time, I am most comfortable not being in social situations at all.

The only issue with this is I still really do need those interactions.  And the longer I go between talking or seeing any one person, the more I start to assume that they must just hate me now.

It all sounds a little silly as I type it out, but it's legitimately what goes through my head a lot of the time.  Both my husband and the rational side of my brain have tried to reason with me in that in all actuality, it's not likely that anyone actually hates me, but this doesn't really stop the worry.  Honestly what I should probably resolve out of all this is accepting and reconciling with the idea that if anyone does hate me out there, that I should be strong enough to realize that I'm still allowed to be 100% myself on my own terms despite that, and not shift my own value to meet other peoples opinions.  I'm allowed to have my own opinions, and be my own person.  Maybe one day I'll get there, but that's not really where I was trying to get to with this today.

My takeaway from all the isolation is this:  human interactions are paramount right now, and I need to make efforts to reach out to people in ways I can't usually find the strength or courage to.

Over time, we've let our hectic busy lives come first, always being "too busy" to schedule a coffee date or needing to multitask while carrying out a phone conversation.  It's almost become a point of pride to be so busy and overworked that there's no time for relaxation.  Well, now we've taken a pretty huge break from that, and I feel like it's opened the doors for us to reach out to each other and remind our friends and loved ones that we are all here supporting each other through this.

A lot of times I'm scared to reach out to people, and I'll draft like 3 versions of a text that I'll ultimately never send.  I don't know what I'm scared of... perhaps that the person will not reciprocate or that I'll embarrass myself, I'm not sure.

But I need to continue to take the plunge.

Because the thing is, I think a lot about people and hardly ever reach out to let them know.  I act as a spectator online, I'll "like" things people post, but how much do I actually tell people how much I appreciate them?

So that's what I'm taking away from all this: the importance of making a point to reach out to others and tell them how much they are appreciated.

Because we all really need more of that right now I'm pretty sure.

Until Next Time, 

— The Lovely Red Fox

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