Today, I was pondering the topic of ‘The Outsider’ and what it means to live as an outsider or experience yourself as an outsider. I could relate to this topic, but there was nothing really jumping out at me in terms of where to start writing about this point. One question I asked myself is,
Am I an Outsider Now?
Because even though I could relate to this word ‘Outsider’ I also could see how in many ways through my life I was also a participant, playing on sports teams, having a circle of friends, and generally just being able to see parts of my life where I was able to integrate and participate in a group where there was never really long periods of time in my life where I felt completely cut off from people.
Though what is interesting is that I can still see ‘outsider tendencies’ with regards to how I currently live my life.
A main one is my tendency to sit in the background and not engage a whole lot when it comes to group discussions where my preference is to remain in the background and say nothing and not really engage or invest myself in discussions and conversations.
My justification for existing in this way is ‘It takes up too much time’ where I rather not engage because then I can just use that time to do something else, most often alone.
Though, this doesn’t make me feel like an outsider. I do not experience myself as rejected by a group, but that just rather, I personally am making a decision to not participate, yet the Door to participate is open.
Now, for me, an aspect of being an outsider, is connected to that experience of feeling like one does not have access, and is locked out in some way. This to me is where I start experiencing myself and feeling like an outsider.
One of my earliest memories of feeling like I was ‘locked out’ and ‘an outsider’ was when I played hockey in highschool. I always felt like my friends didn’t want me at their parties and I struggled to understand why. It was like an unsolvable mystery. Though one dimension I can see in terms of what was happening was that I never asked!
I always sat back and waited to be asked. I was too afraid of being rejected and so to save myself the pain of being rejected, I never asked, I never was pro-active. I actually through my life often would be-friend people who were more outgoing and willing to put themselves out there to get invited to events and parties because I did not have the courage to do it and I was to afraid of being rejected. That way I could still go to parties, because if it was up to me to, I would never act, never put myself out there. So I found a way around that by getting my outgoing friends to do all the work.
I never really liked the pressure of being expected to be at a party, or the pressure of entertaining people. So then if I would go with an outgoing friend, they could do all the engaging and I was safe to hover in the background. I can see, this was also the case with my brother who was 1 year older than me, whom in our childhood often filled that role of engaging people while I could just remain safely in the background without having to be face to face with someone and interact with them. I liked going to parties, but I did not like being relied on to have to hold and carry on a conversation, that was something, I found I was never very good at.
Currently in my life, I still do see these Outsider Characteristics influencing me.
The Fear of holding a central point in a social event, where the consequence is I resist going out and socializing and so thus never actually give myself the opportunity to expand myself through getting to know more people as well as also through putting myself in those situations actually developing those particular communication skills to facilitate meeting and establishing and developing relationships with new people and so expanding myself and my world.
And also the point of not wanting to put myself out there because I fear being rejected, and fear that experience of being rejected, and so I spend my entire life being very conservative and basically just taking what is handed or offered to me instead of Standing Up and Asking or putting myself out there.
Okay so from here I am going to look at the word COURAGE as a Word I can redefine for myself and practice Living in the context of re-creating myself into a PARTICIPANT willing to stand and engaging front and center in social situations as well as the COURAGE to walk through my fear of rejection and put myself out there more so to create more opportunity for myself.