I'm pretty fascinated by connection. Connection as in people-to-people connections with one another, ... and I should apologise in advance because I'm not sure how well I can organise my thoughts, let alone articulate them well enough for you to make sense of them, but I really want to try. The idea has been on my mind for about a year now and it's not going away! I see its effects, its magic, everywhere and I'm super-conscious of my own feelings and experiences with it. I notice its power in different ways, surprisingly small, yet powerful ways and I'm fascinated with how people, including myself, resist it while others crave it, and yet that as humans, we all need it like water and oxygen.
I am an introvert. What that means to me is that I need more time on my own than I need to be with other people. I don't think anyone is either an introvert or an extrovert, but rather that we all tend to prefer life somewhere on the introvert/extravert continuum and for most that place is more skewed one way or the other. Because I am more skewed toward introversion, I am more inclined to spend time on my own and sometimes feel a reasonable amount of resistance to social invitations. Admittedly, there are times when invitations feel more like obligations for me and I do struggle with guilt about feeling that way, especially when I really genuinely like the person or people. I'd just rather be on my own most of the time.
So hopefully I've framed that well enough to now point out the really fascinating thing; yep, you might have guessed it ... that regardless of the resistance I may feel in approaching or committing to some sort of social event, meeting or use of my time, I mostly always feel better for having done it. In the end, it's good to connect with people and it seems that for all of my feelings of resistance, it's something that stimulates, enlivens and even inspires me.
I wonder how much of this resistance has to do with having introverted preferences and whether that introversion has any relationship to the 'lone wolf' mentality? For me, I think the 'lone wolf' mentality is a product of not understanding myself and my introverted preferences enough. Not understanding that I need more time alone than with other people meant it was very hard to understand what that resistance was. Not understanding meant I would feel things like obligation and then resentment, and also overwhelm at the thought of managing these relationships and friendships. These negative associations with friendships and socialising encouraged the 'lone wolf' thinking to set in because it helped me, erroneously, to understand why I was feeling this way. The lone wolf can be a bit stroppy and starts thinking it doesn't actually need all these friends ... why would you with all this negative energy surrounding the inputs to those friendships?
But you know that whenever there's negativity around something, it usually means something's wrong. There's resistance to something that identified clearly and worked out properly will be much better and well worth the discomfort. It took a long time, but I began to realise that being a lone wolf wasn't for me and that actually I did like connecting with people and being social so what was the problem? It was simply understanding that I needed more time by myself than I did with fiends and that in order to enjoy friends and all the benefits of being connected to people, I had to make sure I had enough time on my own as well, and often first.
It was no longer black and white - I am not a lone wolf and I am not a complete introvert, I just needed to acknowledge and accept that I like lots of time on my own. Not that I didn't want to connect, not that I didn't need to connect, not that I didn't want or like friends even, and not that having them was an overwhelming responsibility ... just that I needed to stop, understand and accept the amount of time I needed to balance that with being on my own.
Since coming to that understanding and acceptance, I have felt so much more relaxed around people and have been able to enjoy their company much more by being fully present. And do you know what that means? Do you know what that facilitates? .... Deeper, more meaningful and fulfilling connections that make me feel alive, inspired and like I belong. Isn't that just the most beautiful and fascinating thing?