Throughout childhood and into adulthood, friends and acquaintances surround you. Whether they start out as family friends, or you meet in your grade school classes, relationships build continuously.
It seems to me that for most people, these relationships form with little to no effort. Or maybe it's just that we are so young, we aren't conscious of the effort that goes into opening up to new people.
Of course, these relationships aren't set in stone, and many of them may alter as you're busy growing up and learning about yourself. A select few people will leave your life as effortlessly as they came into it, and especially during adolescence, it's normal for your friend group to alter from time to time.
But, for the vast majority, the friends you are lucky enough to have while growing up are the very friendships that mold you into who you are. These people have grown with you; they know you in and out.
They can read your mannerisms, and they know what you're thinking without even a word echoing from your lips. They can relate to your experiences because they were right by your side experiencing them, too.
Unfortunately, no matter how much you wish life could stay consistent, there comes a time in your life when you need to flourish on your own. Sometimes that means going away to college, or moving for a job. For others, it means traveling the world in order to take in the amazing oddities of endless cultures.
Whatever the venture, we all have to follow our own paths. Even though it would be amazing to have all the people we've grown close with come along for the ride, it just is not realistic.
I have made two big moves in my life so far: one from a small beach town in New Jersey to Providence, Rhode Island; the next was to Denver, Colorado. In my experience, hopping states is a journey that is a more than enlightening.
Embarking to a new place where you don't know a single person is challenging, but it is rejuvenating all the same. There are endless positive aspects to starting your life somewhere completely unknown to you, but the best part, for me at least, is meeting a plethora of new people.
Once you're settled somewhere, and you start meeting people, you suddenly start flourishing, effortlessly, in a way you hadn't previously known possible.
All at once, people from all different cultures flood into your atmosphere: men, women, children and elders. You quickly realize that you can connect with people who are polar opposite from you, just as well as people who are strikingly similar.
You will learn which type of person lifts your spirits and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, the type of people who drown you in negative energy. Whether you love or hate the people you meet, they will inevitably allow you to become tolerant of characteristics in other people with which you aren't used to dealing.
Not only will you become more tolerant of differences, you'll also appreciate them tremendously. It is these very people, who are so different from any of your previous lifelong friends, who will be most important to your growth.
These people, by being so different from yourself, will make you take a look inward. They will allow you to see parts of your personality that had not previously been prominent, and encourage you to bring it to life.
You begin to introduce yourself to people who have never laid eyes on your face, let alone heard you speak. You are an alien; they take you in without biased opinions and without judgment of past decisions you may or may not regret.
They see you as brand new, and they appreciate your assets outwardly. They are intrigued by little parts of your personality you forgot existed because people whom you've known your whole life began to naturally overlook them.
You'll also see your quirks more apparent in the eyes of others; in most cases, these quirks make you interesting. These new people learn who you are from scratch, and they appreciate every part of you.
In turn, it makes you realize -- or rather, remember -- how different you really are. Your strengths and flaws are illuminated, and it's a clarifying experience.
Believe me when I say that I know firsthand how hard it may be immerse yourself in a place where not only the geography is foreign, but also the people.
I know how frightening it may be to open yourself up like a book, to learn every detail about somebody and, in turn, let him or her learn about you. I know the overwhelming anxiety that may take over when you crave nothing but a familiar face.
Most of all, I know how amazing the same experience can be if you dive in without hesitance. I know the energy and self-assurance that will arise from within you as you relearn the depths of your soul and see them being appreciated.
You’ll see yourself in a whole new light, filling with more love than ever. Your flaws will turn into assets, and your assets will shine with a whole new energy. You’ll regain confidence in yourself.
Meeting new people will allow you to “re-meet” yourself, and I know, for a fact, there is nothing more humbling or enriching.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It