There are many articles, books, and blog posts about boundaries and the importance of confidently saying NO. Whether its because you have let people take advantage of you, have no time to yourself, or have piled your plate too high, learning to say no is a sought after skill for some. And then there’s me (and I’m sure others too), who have a tough time saying YES.
I’ve always struggled with my inner voice when presented with opportunities to meet with others, or attend events. According to many online quizzes my personality lies somewhere in between extrovert and introvert, which makes me an ambivert according to the dictionary. This poses a problem when I’m invited to leave my home for an occasion. On one hand, I thrive from social interaction! I love connecting with other humans and I enjoy being out and about, discovering and exploring. Yet, when an opportunity arises to leave my cozy home, I feel the task of finding something to wear, washing my hair, and all that it entails to get myself out the door begin to weigh on me. And then, I begin searching for the excuses to stay in my safe cocoon.
Not only do I struggle with my desire to never leave my house, but I also have to fight with the fear of rejection that comes with my social anxiety. As easy as it is for me to converse with others, and as much as I enjoy it, I have these moments of panic where I don’t believe I will be liked, or that I’ll make a fool of myself. Maybe someone will notice that I am highly uneducated, and that my thoughts, opinions, and feelings have no worth. Pretty terrible, right? The good news is, the older I get the more comfortable I am with myself, and these thoughts are beginning to fade, and hopefully one day they’ll disappear completely.
A lot has changed since I wrote about my endeavors of searching for a friend in our new town. In the last month and a half I have met new friends for coffee, lunch, and drinks (not all at once!) I’ve attended events and gatherings and made connections. Its been amazing. As I contemplated what has changed between then and now, I realized that I had added a word to my vocabulary that I wasn’t very good at saying before: YES. Not only have I been accepting invitations, but I’ve been actively searching out opportunities to meet others and pursue friendships and connections.
Saying YES has been truly momentous. Saying YES has taken courage. I’ve gone from yearning for connection, to looking at the calendar and contemplating how I am going to fit everything in that I desire to do. (But don’t fret, I’m still really good at saying NO and maintaining my boundaries.) Meeting up with new friends has given me opportunities to grow, network, and feel more confident in pursuing my passions. I’ve also discovered that the Columbus, OH area is full of really awesome folks that are kind, down to earth, giving, and genuinely inclusive. I feel like when I finally allowed myself to be vulnerable, to open myself up to opportunity, to say YES, I found that there are plenty of souls out there willing to meet me where I’m at.
*Shout out to Bumble BFF and my new friend Erin, for giving me the opportunity to say my first YES.*