Things slowly improved my senior year of high school, and the years after that, with some ups and downs. I suppose my approach now days might seem like a paradox, and probably the most difficult way out of loneliness. There have been others to suggest this of course, but I’m not sure how easy it is to do it on purpose, more like you try everything until you slam into this method like a mosquito in a bug zapper.
Simply put, refuse to conform to anyone’s expectations unless those expectations also fit your authentic self. You must be willing to walk past a million people without caring if they like the person you are or not. I told you it was not an easy path.
But when you finish walking past those million people and look back at your path, you will find hundreds, even thousands, following you because they like the authentic you, and they appreciate the strength you showed by continuing your path without worrying whether they joined you, nor begging them to be your friend.
DON’T expect followers right away though. See, your authentic self doesn’t show through until you walk that journey awhile without looking back. The journey changes you.
Some background, then a silly example. Kids in school in Indiana in the 70’s and 80’s would make fun of anything. It should have been no big deal, everybody made fun of everybody at one time or the other. My current mind would have no problem living the life of my younger self.
But because of my hyper vigilance and desperation, it felt like there was something “wrong” with me. There wasn’t, but I didn’t know that at the time. I was different though. The difference is that I had a family which, for one reason or another, didn’t understand that peer groups need to be cultivated outside of school.
Thus, I spent all of my time outside of school only with extended family, not my peers, so I never learned the subtle and not-so-subtle social queues involved in my peer culture, only adult culture (within which I could fit in like a chameleon, but I didn’t care about that at the time). Not having friends outside of school meant not having friends at school. I was isolated when surrounded by my own peers. My chameleon skills were tested to the limits, but I was over-eager and under-trained.
After high school, it took time away from peers, and hard work among new peers where I was accepted as just another worker, for me to…