As an extrovert, it’s easy to value yourself based on your network. (I swear I wasn’t trying to rhyme that.)(Also the word “network” makes me want to vomit, pour gasoline on the vomit and burn it while vigorously gargling with listerine to cleanse my mouth and the ground of any possible remnants of the word.)
Anyways, for many people including myself, it can be confusing to understand how a social life affects our happiness. There’s the idea of finding real joy from meeting new people and making new friends. Then there’s the idea of finding value based on what others think of you or the amount of people you know.
They are two different things.
One involves enjoying the process
The other involves thinking about the goal.
One thing I’ve learned in life in the past year or so is just how important it is to enjoy the process rather than just working for the goal. And this is important for any part of life. Whether it’s work, hobbies, relationships, health and fitness, fashion…ect.
I think another way of saying, “enjoy the process, not the goal” is “finding happiness in the moment.” I’ve heard this term of “destination happiness”, the idea that you’ll be happy when “this or that happens…whether it’s a new job, new relationship, new apartment…” That’s something we need to avoid.
As a guy that’s kinda considered by others and also by myself as an outgoing individual, one would think that I always would want to be with people. At this point in my life, I would clarify that statement and say I like being put in the situation of meeting new people. But I like having the choice of who I meet or spend time with.
One thing that living in another country and going to different places with new people has taught me is that sometimes it is good to be alone. Sometimes being alone is the best!
People are cool and everything but there’s a reason that we as individuals make friends with certain people, and not with others. We are all different and find certain qualities in others to be either pleasant or unpleasant. Sure, some things like being kind and polite are usually universally appreciated (but not always).
Living in a foreign country for a very finite time has made me realize how important time is. When you spend time with people that you don’t really want to be with, you also take time away from being with others you’d rather spend time with, including just yourself. You need to prioritize your time based on the relationship.
One thing I think that is very common in American society is the glorification of the social extrovert/butterfly.
The person who is popular, has the most friends, goes to the most parties, has a strong social media following, always has a full social schedule ect….we tend to value people based on not who they are, but what they are to other people. And I totally get that! If this person seems to have a lot of friends, they’re probably pretty cool right!? Not necessarily.
Creating an identity from other people is dangerous. Valuing ourselves and other people based on what we may seem to others is not only wrong…it’s inconsistent and superficial.
It creates a 1 step forward, 2 steps back mentality when it comes to self realization, and happiness. We want to be accepted by others in order to be happy. Thus we over listen and over internalize what others say or think. We then end up doing things and thus becoming something based on others, and not ourselves. No wonder so many of us struggle with identity.
The idea of being genuine and authentic doesn’t mean you say or be what others believe is true. Being genuine and authentic involves truly trying to understand the perspectives and experiences of other people and then relaying who you are to them in a relatable way.
I have definitely had the mentality in my life that my worth was based on the friends I had, the type of friends I had, the amount of people that wanted to hangout with me…ect.
I truly believe some of the most lonely people in the world are the ones who have the most “friends”.
When it comes down to it, valuing yourself and others as individuals is so important. A person is who they are as a soul. We don’t have souls, we are souls and we have bodies. Value yourself and others base on their souls and things will fall in place.
Additionally, always be aware of your intentions for the things that you do in life, so that you understand your actions. I hear of so many people who feel like they are just going through the motions of life. I think part of that is because they don’t reflect on WHY they do things…Self reflection is important for everyone. For me, praying helps we to look at my life and try to assess where things are going.
Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?, why do I want it?” Understand yourself so that your intentions of your actions in life align with what your soul truly desires.
When this happens, you end up knowing who you are. You end up living a more purposeful, truly joyful life.
My guess is perhaps lot of readers might think something along the lines of , “Who is this 23 year old dude to tell me how to be happy? Self actualization? Calm down, you’ve been reading too much philosophy.” Perhaps. But when it’s all said and done, I’m just giving you my thoughts and learnings that I have garnered, especially while in Brazil. Many people speak on the idea of how one learns much about themselves when abroad. I guess this is one of those instances for myself. I have been forced to grow and change my mindset in many ways and that has changed who I am. Take it how you’d like.