I once enjoyed parties, being the center of attention and pulling others out of their shells, but these past few years I have found myself wanting to hide from others, dreading parties and agreeing with all the online “test” that tell me I’m an introvert. I even began to find solace in knowing why I was the way I was and was happy to accept it. …but something was missing. If I was an introvert, why did I battle loneliness and depression when I didn’t have friends to hang out with or when not invited to events?
After a church split nearly 3 years ago, my social life took a turn downward. Many who left our church said they still liked me, but while they moved on, I stayed where I was but with most of my social connections gone. I guess somewhere along the way I decided it was better to protect my heart and tell myself I liked being alone because it was easier than being hurt. The more I felt closed off from others, the more I closed myself off, telling myself I was fine…even when the loneliness seemed unbearable. After all, why go through feeling rejected again. That would have broken me completely. Or so I felt.
During the past few years if I did host or attend a social event, I would feel anxiety, only confirming that I must be an introvert. BUT now I see the anxiety was my fear of rejection.
I’ve recently decided to open up my heart more to the friends I do have. I’m not going to allow myself to be afraid of losing them – because it keeps walls up I’m tired of being on the other side of. I’m very blessed to have these women and I’m thankful I can now cherish what I have instead of holding back and questioning the relationship we have and what the future might hold.
I have friends that love me and accept me for who I am – and are there for me when I need it. I don’t have to have everyone I know be that kind of friend, nor be that to them. To be honest, that would be draining and it’s what I tried to do for too many years. I thought that if I had a friendship with someone, I was obligated to meet any need they may have had.
So, while I still naturally slide more toward the introvert side (being alone re-energizes me), I no longer have to hide for fear of what I might lose or if I may get hurt. I want to enjoy what I have now and embrace what could be in friendships.
I hope that if you feel lonely, you consider why you feel that way. Try opening up your heart to those you can trust. I’m slowly opening my heart again and it feels amazing to accept the friendships I have with no more fear of losing them. This is my prayer for anyone who’s had the same struggles. Especially pastors wives – former or current. I know how easy it is to put up walls after being hurt by others. Don’t give up seeking what you need. He knows, hears and cares deeply for you.