Conferences. Workshops. Trainings. Events. Anything to do with CYC. I love them. I ab-so-lute-ly love them. I mean, this is my field – my joy, my love, my passion, my calling. And these are my people – my heroes, my inspirations, my friends, my family. I mean, in a world full of over seven billion people, these are the people I feel a sense of connection and belonging to. I mean, out of all the places in the world, this place feels like home.
But there’s one issue: as much as I love all of this, I fear all of it, too. The people. The strangers. The groups. The crowds. The socializing. The conversations. The questions. The looks. The lights. The noise. The environment. The stimuli. The triggers. The memories. The flashbacks. The emotions. The tears. The fears. The doubts. The comparisons. The anxiety. The frustration. The overwhelmingness.
And – despite feeling a sense of connection and belonging – a part of me cannot help but feel different than those around me, and I often feel lonely and isolated in social settings because of it.
Sometimes it’s all just too much, and I want and need to get away. Cry. Breathe. Meditate. Pray. Spend time with nature and the outdoors. Listen to music. Walk. Sit. Hang out with the Universe in silence.
There’s nothing wrong with that, right?
Sometimes I feel weak because of it, but I remind myself that there is nothing wrong with needing space.
But I often wonder in social moments like these: Do I shy away from experiences to create felt-safety and risk missing opportunities to connect? Or do I gather the strength and courage to face my fears by taking risks and stepping out of my comfort zone? And when do I take a step forward? When do I take a step back? When do I remain still? And how do I find a balance? How much is too much space?
And lastly, as I reflect back on my experience, I ask: Did growth and change occur?
That, I don’t know…