Becoming comfortable with yourself

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Sometimes, I’m surprised by how much I have changed in just the past few years. I got thinking about this tonight at a recipe exchange.

There, surrounded by good food, good people and good conversation I found myself feeling perfectly comfortable. Why, at book group just last week I was unafraid to voice my opinions or even, heaven forbid, try to be funny. Which I sort of was. This seemed slightly unnatural to me, for I remembered past gatherings of this variety where speaking out and feeling comfortable were not the case.

Just three years ago I would attend similar gatherings where I found myself feeling self-conscious, and quiet. My husband was concerned as I came home from each event feeling depressed. I felt bitter at the conversation going on all around me as I sat quietly listening in the corner chair. I listened to certain women speak up and speak often with ease, bitter that they would draw all the attention to themselves and not give others a chance to say anything.

I felt bitter that there were so many obvious close friendships that I was not a part of. Bitter that I heard of play dates and events to which I was not invited. I felt certain that I was ugly and annoying and that I was only invited to these events because they wouldn’t be able to hide their having occurred from me. Yet I kept going to them and came back feeling more depressed every time.

So I found myself wondering, what is different now? Is it that those women have moved away? After all, they hated me right? They were the reason I was so sad right?

No.

What was different then, was that I hated me. So I assumed everyone else did too. How can I possibly expect anyone to think better of me than I think of myself?

No one was stifling me. They would have allowed me to speak out had I chosen it.

No one was trying not to include me. But you can’t force friendship.

I went through a lot of hurt before my perception of me and my assumptions about what others must be thinking of me, changed. I’ve realized that being comfortable around others, starts with being comfortable with myself.

I wish I would have learned that sooner. I think I missed out on some really great friendships because I was busy assuming no one wanted to be my friend.