It’s one of those things that many of us feel even though we’re all different. At the same time the feeling of being different is quite a personal, individual and inner feeling. I’m writing from personal experience, but would love to hear your story of why you feel different either in your everyday life or in certain situations. Previously, I wrote about how I grew up with people assuming I was mute. I wouldn’t say a word and was painfully quiet and shy. I’d be energetic and silly at home, but when it came to being surrounded by people I didn’t know well, I felt like a snail protected by my shell. The first time I opened up was when I played a snail in my primary school play.
Perhaps you were left out in school growing up because you were a quiet soul and you didn’t put much effort in fitting in. You might prefer talking to people you know you’ll form a meaningful friendship with. Although, now that I’m a little older, it’s polite to make some small kind of conversation with people even if you know it’s not going anywhere or if you don’t feel a spark. Til today, there are moments when I’m calm and don’t feel like pretending to be energetic. I’ll read, write, study or daydream in my room where it feels safe and quiet. This is also quite a common thing for some introvert’s and HSP’s in order to unwind.
I was reading the article here, which said Being different is a source of connection and belonging. How true is that? For example, the article mentions creative people, introverts and minorities and how we are able to find true belonging with other people. Being different simply means being who we are. There is this feeling of being different for those who don’t have many friends. I’m the sort of person who only has a small few friends that I allow into my trust circle. The feeling of being different may also be because I like to spend a lot of time by myself. Reading at the library, writing at home, going to the cinema, sitting at a cafe, walking alone and so on.
Feeling like an outsider or being a lone wolf are words that may have negative connotations, but shouldn’t be. I grew up being told that I’m shy, quiet, soft spoken, very polite and the list goes on. Those are the very things I embrace now. Then there’s the thing of giving the impression of being a distant person, when you know you’re a kind and caring person at heart. Actions speak louder than words. It’s such an important saying to remember, because often us quiet souls may not talk to many people, but our actions express what’s inside. There is also the struggle of expressing oneself completely eloquently and fluidly with words that are the same in our mind.
If you’re naturally a slightly awkward person, you will also understand that feeling of not being quite what’s expected, but then also growing up learning to fully embrace who you are. The worse thing to do is to pretend to be someone you’re not, because being who you are is beautiful. Confidence doesn’t equate to being loud. I’ve always been a more one on one person, unless I’m very close to the people I’m surrounded by. I remember in kindergarten, I would play on my own and til this day, I prefer spending more time alone than with other people. If you’re quite a private person, there can also be that feeling of only opening up to certain people.
If you matured at a young age then there is that feeling of being different, because your perspective is different to those similar age with you. I’m quite an intense person, and can be serious especially on first impression and on the other hand I can seem happy and smiley on a first impression. I don’t know if this is an INFJ thing (or perhaps I’m generalising), but I can really sense when someone is being fake or pretending to be nice. There’s this desire to not interact too much with people like that, because it makes me feel superficial. If you’ve been or are going through mental health, then it can sometimes bring about the feeling of being different. You might feel anxiety for certain things, that other people would not second guess.
If you grew up being left out or leaving yourself out, you might feel a preference of letting friendships or relationships happen naturally in serendipity. Most of us may be very particular in the sense that we need to interact with someone who understand things like our sense of humour. I wrote this post last year on the difficulty of making friends as an INFJ, because it takes us time (perhaps even years) to truly open up to certain people. Remember that everyone is different. There will always be people who are trying to be the same, but even then no two people are the same. Embrace who you are, because that’s the person you’re meant to be.