October 18, 2013

Alone with Everyone: The Surprising Perks of Being an Outsider.

As far back as I can remember, I was never in with the “in crowd.”

Even as a young child, I was the kid who could be found sitting quietly by myself while all the other kids rushed to form groups. I was always the last to be picked for sports teams. If there was a party that everyone was going to attend, it was a safe bet that I would not be there.

My mother, who was rightly concerned by this, told me that one day this would pass. Like many things she predicted about me, it turns out that she wasn’t right.

Now that I am an adult, I still not with the “in crowd.” Even in the mind/body community, I tend to be a loner.

However, the one thing that is different is that this is largely by choice: the truth is, I don’t feel very comfortable being in large groups of people. Instead, I much prefer one-on-one interaction or even spending time alone with just my thoughts for company.

Being a life-long outsider has given an interesting perspective on life. For instance, I have never felt very compelled to keep up with the Joneses. This isn’t to say that I am immune to the opinions that others have of me—I am—but I believe that they bother me less than most.

Likewise, I also have never picked or discarded friends based on whether they were popular or not. It simply does not matter to me. Their worth in my eyes has nothing to do with how others perceive them.

Another surprising benefit and one I only became aware of recently is that people often confide more to me than they do others.

While I like to think most of that has to do with my personality, I also think the fact I don’t hang out with that many “important” people helps as well.

As one person put it, who am I going to tell?

Lest anyone think that being an outsider is all good without any drawbacks, I am the first to admit that’s not the case.

I would be lying if I said that I sometimes didn’t long for being more of an insider, but I’ve been this way for so long that I truly cannot see myself any different.

Besides, given how much other stuff occupies my life and time, it simply isn’t a  huge priority. In any event, I relish my label as an outsider with pride rather than embarrassment and resentment.

We can’t all share the limelight—some of us really are happier being outside of it in the shadows.

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Ed: Bryonie Wise


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