Recently, I walked into an event and the number of people had me running for the hills.
I literally left. I have not been one to go out a lot and definitely not to very crowded spaces. The year in partial seclusion has revived some of my introvert ways and it has been a great time of working on me. Many people do not believe I am introverted because of all the time I spend with people however, being introverted has less to do with not liking people and more to do with what drains and revives us. I have my introverted ways as well as the socially engaged person on the other side making me an ambivert.
Conversations in this season have really changed me and given me the strength to pivot as well as be true to who I am. I was in a conversation with one old native about work and the stress of commuting. His opinion is that if one wants to be a professional and have any career progression, the commute is mandatory. In the past that comment would have thrown me off balance, thinking something was wrong with me because I dislike the commute and can be a challenging employee but this time, it was different. I knew different because I had just spent six of the most productive months of my work life without a single commute. I had served more people, organised amazing events and reached a greater audience, from my home office. Did I counter his opinion? Nope! It would not have added value because we would just argue endlessly.
The steadiness of my heart caught and held my attention.
This old native has been around the world a few times and has tested models, found what worked for him and built his life around that. His patterns work and have worked for a few others, but they honestly have not worked for me. For a long time, I wondered what was wrong with me and felt a lot of pressure to conform. Not anymore.
Why haven’t they worked? I have a different personality and the focus of my life is different. Additionally, success means different things to both of us so we cannot use the same method to attain it. Yet more than that, my life experience has shaped how I function. Whereas he has gone full throttle for decades with no recourse, I have had two major health incidents that stopped me in my tracks. These incidents incapacitated me for months at a time and have forced me to find alternative patterns that gel with who I am and thrive at what I do.
The silence that ensued allowed me to think and process.
The peace in my heart fascinated me and it brewed deeply. Fascinated me because finally I did not feel the pressure to conform or be accepted. Brewed because it kept rising and the sunlight and smile on the inside got bigger and brighter. In my own view I had come of age. I had realised and fully believed that my worldview is valid and the right path for me. I had found that deep place of peace with who my Maker made me and how my life has and continues to pan out.
I learnt a valuable lesson from the native that day, but it was not from what he said. His confidence in his opinions and his stubbornness about the things he believes in gave me power. Power to believe that I am on the right path for me. Power to understand that self-acceptance is the starting line. Power to follow through on what I believe even when others do not believe with me and allow my life and its results to tell the story and provide the proof.
I am stronger and comfortable in who I am.
Every day, my understanding of who I am in God and how my life must pan out increases. Every day I find strength in my path and calling. Every day I understand the importance of charting my path through the bush, that another may find the strength to do the same.
I am different and I love it more today than ever before.