Over time, I’ve noticed a switch in my mentality. From taking a powerless perspective of things happening to me, completely wrapped up in how I felt at the time, to being able to focus on what I’ve learnt from those situations. Essentially, I’ve been moving from taking a negative and powerless view of my experiences to a more positive, constructive one which has helped me to learn and grow.
This is even apparent in the time I have been writing with Quiet Connections. It’s evident that my writing has evolved from my earlier posts like ‘How I felt judged and bullied at school’ and ‘How I felt Misunderstood as a Child’, to the subsequent ones. How I felt about it – meaning how I was interpreting my experiences, rather than examining the true nature of them.
It has taken me a long time to even realise that my interpretation of a situation is not the reality of it. My experiences of situations where things which I thought were bad were happening to me were never examined, and so I kept having them without learning anything from them. Without taking any responsibility for the part that I play in creating my reality. Once I did, I didn’t suffer as much. Now that I was aware of the reality of the situation, I could do things about it to either improve next time or even ensure it didn’t happen at all.
I used to take almost everything people said about me seriously, even if they had friendly intentions. You know how we often like to playfully make fun of those we are close to? Well, even in those situations, I would get upset. I interpreted jokey intentions the same way as malicious ones. But I didn’t have to. And this is what I have learnt.
It got to the point where I reacted the same way to so many comments, that I thought maybe it would be better for me to look at them another way. My new approach served as a way for me to deflect what people said by laughing (in the case of potential attempts of offending me) or I would join in and be humorously self-deprecating (in the cases when people were actually joking with me).
Whilst this started out as a defence mechanism, it has since grown into a representation of my self-acceptance. In other words, turning what was a recurring problem and obstacle of my own comfort into an aspect where it can’t be threatened or compromised. I don’t ever use self-depreciative humour to cover up my insecurities; but I use it instead because I am now comfortable with myself.
Lewis is an introverted person who will happily talk at length about subjects he is deeply interested in. He loves to write and explore words, with a passion for poetry and Hip Hop: its culture; its consciousness; and its music. Lewis has learned to manage feelings of social anxiety, low self-esteem and shyness and feels his experiences have helped him to develop as an individual and discover how best to approach challenging situations. He hopes sharing his experiences will help to empower others to grow in confidence too.