In this week’s blog post, I’d like to say a few words about finding your people. Because no matter how much of an alien you might feel right now, there are countless people out there who will appreciate you for exactly who you are.
For the first 24 years of my life, I felt like there was something wrong with me. Why couldn’t anyone understand me? Why couldn’t I just be normal?!
I thought and behaved a bit differently to everyone I’d ever met. I cried easily, felt everything intensely, and cared deeply about things that no one else seemed to lose any sleep about.
My differences weren’t enough to completely push me to the side-lines. I still had some friends, still had loving romantic relationships. But these connections often fell apart, as the differences between me and the people I spend time with inevitably drove a distance between us over the longer term.
I thought that I was doomed to a life of repeating the same patterns. Connecting with a friend (or boyfriend), finally letting myself trust them, then feeling devastated when the relationship broke down.
Turns out, I just needed to find my people.
I needed to stumble upon the kind of people that appreciated the very things that were making me feel like an outsider. To be wrapped up in their unconditional acceptance like a warm blanket of understanding.
Does this sound like a pipe dream? It doesn’t need to be. There are millions of people like you out there in the world. (And I finally found mine!)
Yesterday, I was at the Horse Riding stable that I’ve been spending a lot of time at recently. I was brushing a horse when I suddenly began to cry. I wasn’t actually very sad, my body was just releasing some tricky emotions that had been building up for a while.
Seeing me crying, five children that also regularly ride at the stable ran over to me and asked what was wrong.
‘Oh, I’m OK. I guess my feelings need a way out, but I’m not going to read into it too much.’
The kids responded (in various words, but all to the same tune):
‘Cool, that’s nice.’
I couldn’t help but burst out laughing.
How bloody wonderful! I’m here with a bunch of kids that are a hundred per cent accepting me, and who are more emotionally mature than most adults I know.
(A key reason they are so compassionate is because of Aurélie. She is owner and horse riding instructor at the Ferme du Gue in Normandy, and she teaches all her students just as much non-violent communication and self compassion as horsemanship. She’s an incredible person who does coaching in mindful horse riding, so if you’re a French speaker, you should check out her blog.)
This little moment really touched me, and it made me reflect on how far I’ve come on the road to find people that love and accept me.
I’m married to a man who, when I feel overwhelmed by the world and lie down on the floor, just smiles and says ‘my lovely sensitive wife.’
(As opposed to ‘FFS, you’re so over-sensitive’ like I used to hear in some previous relationships.)
I have found friends that I can be myself with. When I say: ‘I’m feeling a huge amount of grief for the injustice in the world,’ they reply with: ‘Of course you do, and I love you for it.’
As a freelance writer, I only write for people that accept me for who I am. I openly tell my clients that I am a sensitive person, who works best when communication is compassionate and non-violent.
This isn’t meant to come across as gloating, and sometimes I know that we do just have to accept our differences and work together anyway.
But I want you to know that if you feel like there’s something wrong with you, it just means that you haven’t find the people that can accept you for who you are. It has nothing to do with your intrinsic value.
Instead of wasting energy trying to force ourselves to be something we are not, we can start searching for spaces where we can be our authentic self. It is such a relief to be able to be honestly and unapologetically myself, and my mental health and well being has transformed since I figured this out.
Before I sign off, I’ll give you a few ideas of how to find those spaces. (The good news is you don’t have to give away all your possessions and live in a tent like I did. But that was fun too!)
- Start a class (in person or online) on something you’re passionate about. I recently started a permaculture course which has helped me connect with like minded people.
- If you’re a sensitive person like me, you can join online forums where you’re gonna feel more heard than you thought possible. Highly Sensitive Refuge is a good place to start.
- Volunteer in a meaningful project. Whether that’s at a soup kitchen or a rewilding project, you’re likely to meet people that get you if you’re being part of something you find important.
And if you aren’t ready to put yourself out there yet, that’s OK. Take your time and listen to your gut, because only you know what you really need. But I promise you, your people are out there. You just need a little more time to find them.
I hope you found this blog post helpful! You might also like to read:
- How to Know if You Are Being Abused in a Relationship
- What Sensitive People Should Know About Love
- Why Am I So Sensitive? A journey to Healing for the Sensitive Person.
And as always, I’m so grateful to those who are checking out The Highly Sensitive Nomad book.