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Personality

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alone in a crowd | daily thoughts

We’ve all been there. When you’re invited to some reunion or party and think about it excitedly for days, only for the day to come and be disappointed by the outcome.

More often than not, I end up feeling left out when I’m hanging with a bunch of people. Naturally as a shy introvert, I feel much more comfortable interacting in one-on-one conversations or even small groups. But when there’s a crowd, I kind of just drift away into the background.

I try to start and join conversations, of course; but they often end up being meaningless chatter or gossip that I’m simply not interested in. That’s what I like to make myself believe. Oftentimes, however, I feel that my inability to interact comfortably with my friendly acquaintances is the actually inhibitor in these events.

For most of high school, I felt like I needed to be a part of these social ‘groups’ and be one of those people that manage school and social life evenly. But as much as I tried, it always felt off. I almost never enjoyed myself at the parties, and often felt like I could have spent a much better time doing my own things at home. It wasn’t until senior year that I realized where this ‘need’ came from: I wasn’t trying to fit in because I wanted to be a sociable person; I wanted to fit in because of FOMO. I didn’t want to be that girl who never shows up at events, who misses out on that awesome thing that happened last night, who doesn’t get invited to events. But I wasn’t that girl.

The group of people in front of her was jovial and paid her no attention. The group behind was much the same. She was alone without being alone.

I believe that our social lives are essential in our emotional and overall wellbeing. It’s important. But we all deal with it differently. In my case, I don’t need nor want to hang around so many people I’m not close with. As of right now, I have two people whom I can call my best friends. I don’t see neither very often (actually, I haven’t seen one of them since 2012 when she moved to another country), but I invest as much as I can into maintaining our friendship. They keep me happy and socially busy, and that’s more than enough.

As of my other friends (or friendly acquaintances), I see them every once in a while in these reunions/parties. We graduated from school a year ago, so the only times that I get to see them are in these events. And it’s great, because it gives us the needed time to catch up with each other. But I don’t try to hang out with them more than that because, to me, it’s pointless. I would go back to being the person I used to be: a girl struggling to fit in with a social crowd that she doesn’t highly enjoy being with.

Ultimately, the most important thing is that you know what you want; if you can do that, then the temptations of peer pressure will not be enough to lure you in. You will do as you believe is best for you, and nothing less than that. Obviously, it’s not as simple as it sounds, and I imagine I will continue struggling with this issue once I’m in college and/or other groups, but at least I have made a first step in recognizing my behavior within the school environment.

We’ve all been alone in a crowd. But we don’t have to be anymore.

-Michelle

being a multipotentialite

A multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life.

A few months ago, I watched a TED talk about having too many passions to just settle on one. I immediately identified with the speaker, Emilie Wapnick. I identified with her rationalization that not all of us have that one true calling, and that it’s okay to not feel like we have to specialize in one thing.

I highly admire the musicians, artists, doctors and other people who know, from a certain age, that that’s what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Having studied music allowed me to mingle with deeply devoted musicians, and I admired them for their passion and perseverance in their career. Most of these people were my age or younger; they were barely in high school when they knew that they wanted to pursue music (cello, in my case) for as long as they could. And that really amazed me, because I knew from an early age that I wasn’t like one of them.

I think many of us are able to identify with this, as there are increasingly more things to learn and be in this world.

“Realize that everything connects to everything else.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Multipotentialites are not specialists; they don’t settle for one thing to focus all their energy on. While this may mean that they don’t become as good of a musician as someone who dedicates his life to music, for instance, a multipotentialite has the possibility of merging all his knowledge and discover something even bigger and more novel.

As a self-proclaimed multipotentialite, I believe that we should specialize in a field that sweeps us away, but I also believe that that specialization shouldn’t be fixed.

What I mean is that we go through different stages in our lives, and in each stage we prioritize different things. This means that while we may be more suited to be an athlete during our adolescence and/or early adulthood, we may be more suited to be a businessperson later in life, and a philanthropist even later in our adulthood. These are extreme examples, but it means that we have the opportunity to dedicate to different things at each stage of our wonderful life cycle.

me, a multipotentialite?

At 19, I consider myself a multipotentialite because I believe that the sum of my passions will allow me to blossom in the one field that I choose to specialize in my careers. And I say careers because I know I’ll have several careers and pursuits throughout my life.

Right now, I am a polyglot, bibliophile, blogger, cellist and fitness enthusiast. Not all of these are ‘serious’ skills, such as being a bibliophile (I mean, anyone can be one as long as they can read) and a fitness enthusiast (note the word ‘enthusiast’). But somehow, naming these particular skills that define my lifestyle makes it more concrete and real. I know that these are five things that I know will make me happy, and that I will continue pursuing irregardless of the level I reach in each of them.

i’m also an amateur photographer and fashionista, and I call myself these names to remind myself that these are other hobbies that make me happy, and just add to the creative persona that I’m trying to be.  They also complement the five skills I’ve named above, so yay!

Finally, there’s also other things  that I aim to become when I’ve gained the experience and wisdom to be. These include being a psychologist, author, entrepreneur, activist and humanitarian. Not necessary in this order, but it seems like a reasonable sequence. I aim to major in Psychology, so that’s first in the list. The following ones simply professionalize my current interests and align with my moral values and intentions in this life.

what this means for you

I know I probably went off topic at the end. I went on talking about the things that I aim to be in the future, big dreamy goals *sigh*. But, so what? Being a multipotentialite means that there are no limits to what we are and aspire to be. It’s a way to denominate this bursting feeling to learn and create without feeling like we don’t fit among others. And I like it.

-Michelle

We All Have Masks

By this point in your life, you would have undergone a range of learning and relationships that define who you are today. But do these experiences mean that we know who we are, or have we just gotten better at putting on masks?

We all have them. The one we show our parents, family, friends, significant other, teachers, strangers, etc. We don’t act with the same level of familiarity with our parents than with strangers. We don’t talk to our teachers like we talk to our friends. And we definitely don’t behave the same way with our best friend than with everyone else.

We have different mannerisms in regards to the people we interact with, and it has naturally become ingrained as part of our behavior – so much that we may rarely notice it. Maybe you’re a vivacious person, just as open with your friends as with a stranger. But, as for me, the lines are bolder. It has come to my attention that I treat everyone with at least slightly different: my mom, dad, best friend, close friends, 4-year-old cousin, uncles, teachers, etc. Does this mean that I’m not truly myself when I’m interacting with someone I’m not as close with?

I believe this difference in personality is what enables me to figure out who I am, and only I need to know that. I may be shy, more held-back and polite when I’m around people I’m not too close with, but I know that these characteristics don’t put me in a box. They see a side of me that I want to portray, a mask that I put on for the given situation. Not everyone may see the lively side of me, and that’s okay.

So, what do these “masks” ultimately suggest about our behavior? I think they come in different ways, levels, and intents. I don’t try to put on masks to deceive people, and neither do you (I hope). I don’t use masks to pretend to be any other person other than the one in the present moment, and even if that person is not who I am when I’m at home, that’s alright. I don’t need to be 100% “myself” at all times. It’s exhausting, and it’s unnatural.

If you’re known to be an outgoing person, it’s okay to not want to go out sometimes. If people always see you as the understanding person, it’s fine if you are tired of listening to others. We all need a break. And most importantly, we all change.

With every form of interaction that we have, we get to know ourselves better. And as you get to know yourself better, your sense of identity becomes stronger.  That, I believe, is the key to gradually nurturing better and healthier relationships.

-Michelle

 

 

 

17 Therapeutic Activities For Introverts

As an introverted person, I am happy doing most things by myself, or with a few other people. I’m also quite sensitive, so I often end up feeling like I should be doing more people-related activities (FOMO is real). This is in large is due to the fact that I am still learning to be comfortable with myself.

In this gap year, however, I have learned to be more comfortable with and being with myself. Though it has been my ‘loneliest’ year and has been an emotional struggle at times, it has enabled me to know myself much better. I have delved into so many activities that were related to improving my emotional and physical well-being, as well as expanding my creative outlets.

Below is a list of therapeutic activities (foolproofed by me) that you can do when you’re feeling upset. You’ll notice that all of them involve you actually getting up and doing something; this is because I have pretty much taken out all idle activities that would otherwise make you feel even less productive and worse about yourself.

CALM – for when you’re not feeling very energetic, or are too tired to do much

Meditate. If you want to wind down or calm your thoughts, this is a great option. I meditate every morning with the Headspace App, and it’s a very calming way to start my day. Each meditation session can last for however long you want it to be.

Read. If you want to be distracted from your hectic life, read an easy-to-read fiction book; if you’re looking for self-improvement, reading self-help books (e.g. Eat, Pray, Love) or other non-fictions (e.g. The Power of Habit) works. Even if it’s a ‘cheesy’ book, it’s bound to give you a new perspective on your own life. Tip: switch up your environment – go to a cafe, library, or even the park. It’ll make the activity more eventful.

Organize your space. Look around your room, or home. Is your bookshelf, desk, bedside table, or drawer disorganized? Pick one thing, and devote some time to clean it and make it presentable. Tip: listen to an audiobook, podcast or TED Talk while you organize. It’s a great way to multitask!

WRITE – for when you need to declutter your mind and materialize your thoughts

Journal. I do something called morning pages, which simply means that I journal 2-3 pages a day every morning. I literally write anything that’s on my mind; sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. But writing my thoughts down helps me get a better idea of what I’m dealing with, instead of just letting it ramble in my mind uncontrollably.

Blog.love blogging. I blog on this site when I have concrete ideas and some time to type them down. I always feel good about myself after blogging. I also ‘blog’ on my Tumblr – in the form of collages and short posts. Tumblr’s a more creative and photograph-related site, and it works when I’m feeling more aesthetic.

Bullet journal. I do this every morning/night as well, and I love how I can define everything that I do on my journal. I don’t spend as much time designing my spreads though, but I still enjoy planning my days and decorating my pages every once in a while.

Become ambidextrous. Just take a pen and paper, and start writing with your non-dominant hand. When I first started this, I had so many flashbacks to when I had just started learning to write the alphabet at my school. Doing this really helps you realize how, no matter at what stage you are in your life, every activity starts with those baby steps.

CREATIVE – when you’re feeling slightly more adventurous

Photograph. You don’t have to have a wonderful canvas in front of you to take amazing photographs. Make your surrounding your canvas, and share it on Instagram or Tumblr.

Play an instrument (or learn one). The thing about playing an instrument is that you have to devote your mind and body to this activity. If you’re learning a new piece and you want to play well, you need to lose yourself in your instrument. I’ve only ever felt this when I took ballet for a few months.

Bake. I’m not a fan of anything kitchen-related. I love eating, I just don’t enjoy making something that will just disappear in a few hours. But it helps to get you distracted. There’s a beginning, a process, and a (voila) ending that will make you feel proud of your masterpiece.

ACTIVE – when you want to feel physically and emotionally good about yourself

Jog. It works. Actually, I just came back from a run, and I feel great. Going out, walking to the park and running 4 km gave me the time, air and space to just get out of my comfortable home and think my life through. Plus, you get to feel very sporty and good about yourself afterwards.

Bike. An alternative to jogging. It’s as equally refreshing, though not as physically rewarding, but it’s one of the easiest and effective form of exercises that you can do.

Connect with an old friend. It’s wonderful to be able to talk to someone after some time, and realize that you still have a connection with this person. Even if you feel like they should be the ones talking to you first, sometimes you just gotta take that leap yourself.

Sign up for a class. Anything. Even if you don’t like being surrounded by so many people, taking a class will give you something to look forward to and focus on. I have taken ballet, Pilates, Yoga, and self-defense classes this year, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. An alternative is to take an online class, if you’re looking for a more academic subject that you can learn on your own. Create a plan and spend some time every week on this new subject!

Do yoga. Whether it’s watching a YouTube video, reading an article, or just exploring it based on what you have learned before, yoga is a meditate yet active form of exercise that you can do. Based on the type of yoga that you’re doing (don’t start with hot yoga, please), your experience will be different. My tip? Explore!

Take a walk. Simple, yet effective. But make sure you’re not walking in the middle of a traffic or frenzied area. Simply stepping out of your house will immediately get you in a better mood.

Volunteer. There is nothing more rewarding than devoting your time for others. Whether it’s teaching, building houses, or spending time with the elderly, you will always learn more than you help.

Misty Prose