Lately I've been trying to understand myself a little better. At some point I realized I wasn't speding enough time thinking about the why's behind the way I am, what I do, why I think the way I do, etc. I'm still constantly trying to figure myself out and over these last couple years of journaling and self reflecting I've been getting better at understanding why I am the way I am - and more importantly not trying to fight it anymore.
I'm Introverted. I don't enjoy socializing all that much - sometimes its nice, but most of the time I'm going to pass on that invitation to x social event. I love spending time by myself. I like the quiet nature of being alone. I find it enjoyable to work on my own projects. I like the independance of not having to rely on someone else to be happy or to have fun. And you know what? That's okay. There was a time when I fought these thoughts and desires but I've come to accept these things about myself.
I've had many people in my life try to change the way I am. There's all these social expectations and norms that people feel the need to follow. Not just follow but also push on you. "You need to go out more", "Spending so much time alone isn't healthy", "Don't be selfish", etc. I used to try. I did. I tried very hard. I put in years of trying, actually. I used to put in the effort to be more social. I would change the way I am to try and please friends, family and ex-girlfriends. I would sacrifice my time for theirs - I would put them before me. The only thing those efforts caused was a growing resentment towards anyone that forced me to go against my natural state of being. It made me feel fake. It made me feel sad.
There's something to be said about getting out of your comfort zone, but it also needs to be understood that there are different ways to go about that. Someone's idea of "getting out of your comfort zone" may be traveling and getting to know different cultures, skydiving or mountain climbing. My idea of getting out of your comfort zone is seeking that form of self-expression that will make you happy: making art, starting a business, leaving your 9 to 5, etc. Most of the time when people say "C'mon, you need to get out of your comfort zone!" - what they really mean is "You need to stop doing what you're doing and come do what I'm doing." Its their disguised way to use you for their benefit. And if you're like I was, you'd cave in to the pressure and try to make them happy. But I think trying to follow social norms and please the people around you is not at all the way to go about being happy. I've come to the realization that I need to start doing things with me as the foremost reason to do it. To make me happy, not anyone else. I've seen that if you don't make plans for yourself (aspirations, goals, etc), others will plan for you (and that usually means using you for their benefit).
So I'm learning to accept the introverted nature of my personality and I'm much happier for it. I don't completely shut myself away, but I do politely shut down invitations on the regular now. I find that most people respect that, especially because the people inviting me to social events are usually just tyring to drag me along with them because they got suckered into going to the event themselves. They didn't have the power to say no, but you did, and they respect that. I've found that being true to myself not only makes me happier but has instilled a new kind of confidence that people around me have started to pick up on and respect. Its a weird thing. It might be because a lot of us would like to be more focused on ourselves. Its our life, after all. Why does society make us feel guilty when we want to put ourselves before anyone else? Why is that seen as bad?