What pattern has you stuck?

I am not a social person. I find it hard to have a good time when surrounded by lots of people. I struggle and partying, but that has not always been the case.

I really love having a good talk over lunch, real conversations about real issues. I enjoy getting to know people and what they are all about. I don’t judge, I don’t criticise. And I love honest opinion even when I might not agree with it. But how did I get to this place of enjoying the company of a few people at a time, instead of just having fun and partying.

I can thank a previous relationship for it. And it’s a pattern that I didn’t know I had developed until over 10 yrs after the relationship had ended. I had a partner who I would always get into a fight with if I went out with my friends. It got to the stage that it was easier not to go out than it was to come home knowing that there would be an argument. Now this didn’t happen overnight, it took years of conditioning to get me to that place, but it gave control of my life to someone else. After the relationship ended I still hated going out. I hated formal dinners, birthday parties, barbeques. Anywhere that there was a gathering, I found it hard to enjoy.

I got around this by making myself useful. By volunteering for events, being the photographer, helping behind the scenes, but I found it really difficult to relax and enjoy the event.

Even with my best friends I still feel awkward. I don’t drink much so that also makes it difficult. Another social norm that I don’t fit into. So it is easy for me to feel like an outcast, to feel like not part of the fun.

And this all comes back to patterns of behaviour from decades ago.

This is now something that I work very hard at. I try to look forward to events, try to make an effort to dress up and enjoy the idea of spending time having some fun with people who I really like. But it is still a work in progress. And it is easier in some groups than in others. If I have a connection to a few people at an event then it is much easier to look forward to spending time hanging out with them.

If I hadn’t realised the issue I would still hate social events. It is only because I have been on this crusade to understand myself better that I realised this was something that I do.

It started because I asked myself why I didn’t want to go to an event. I started to analyse where the fear was coming from that helped me discover when I stopped enjoying having a good time, and when I stopped enjoying it.

Fear is a wonderful clue. And in this case it opened up an old patterned that I could then consciously decide to change.

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