I told one of my professors in college that rather than do a group project, I would like to live by myself in a shack in the woods. Her reply: “like the Unabomber?”
Meeting up with our friends last night got me thinking about how important people are in our lives. For a long time I preferred to only spend time with myself. The thought of going out and being social and meeting new people terrified me. I am definitely an introvert (see this article for more details), but as time has gone on and I have broken a lot of my destructive patterns, I have come to realize how important other people are in our lives.
One of the easiest benefits for me to see is that the more people you know, the more things you can get done. I have learned the answers to the most basic questions I have just from asking people that I know. A few examples:
1. I have no experience planning weddings, so I had no idea what to do about finding hair and makeup people. I was especially confused because our wedding is out of the state so I didn’t know if I should find someone in VA and have them travel to MD or just find someone in MD. Thinking through the list of people I know, I realized that I have both a hair stylist and a makeup artist in my friend rolodex. One text message to both and I have my hair and makeup set up!
2. Neil’s parents designed a sticker to go on the favors that they are giving out at our wedding, but we thought it was a little blah. Our friend Katy is a graphic design whiz, so we reached out to her to see if she could improve on the design at all. She sure did! The new design looks 100 times better and costs much less than having some company do it.
I know there have been more examples of help that we have received, but those were the most recent. I find that talking to people about things I haven’t experienced is MUCH more beneficial than blindly trying to figure things out myself. My friends, for example, are starting to settle down and have babies so I am learning a LOT about pregnancy, childbirth, raising kids, all that fun stuff. I know when we get there (in a few years) I will have plenty of resources to tap into when I have questions.
One of the most beneficial things I have found from including others in your life is that they are able to offer you different perspectives than your own. For many years I thought I had all the answers and refused to listen to what others had to say. This is part of the reason why my life took the direction it did. I became unwilling to consider that I may be wrong or that there may be a better way to do things. What this did for me was make me unable to change and adapt to life as it occurred. The only way to grow as a person is to be able to do these things (thanks Darwin!).
It has been difficult at times and I don’t do it perfectly. I still revert to my rigid ways of thinking sometimes, but as familiar as it is to stay there, it is no longer comfortable. I have seen the growth that I have made as a person as a result of being open-minded to what others have to offer to me and so I know that even if I don’t want to listen, I need to.