Finding Myself in the Silence by Megan
I went to college looking for a new adventure, a new beginning to have new experiences and make new friends. I had everything planned out, from the activities I wanted to get involved in, to the kinds of people I wanted to meet. I had this picture in my head of how I wanted it all to go. I thought it would be easy, and that I would immediately find my best friends, and all would be well.
Needless to say, the fantasy I pictured was not how it turned out. Things did not go exactly as I had planned, and I often found myself feeling lonely during my first semester. I loved school and being away from home, but I hadn't found that group of people that I really fit in with. It was challenging trying not to be jealous or compare myself to all the people I saw who had tons of friends and had found the people they clicked with right away.
My faith has always been an essential part of my life, and I tried to keep that in mind and trust that God had a plan, and everything would work out, but a lot of the time it didn’t make sense. Sometimes I found myself endlessly worrying that I was doing something all wrong for people not to like me. I made it a personal problem and started to question who I was. I figured it must be something I could change that would allow me to make more friends.
I finally got the wake-up call in my search for the friends I wanted, I was acting less and less like my true self. I was starting to make lots of shallow friendships because I thought the more people I knew, the less lonely I would feel. The truth is that, I was only becoming lonelier.
There is something about silence that has always appealed to me; the serenity and peace of it. As a person of faith, I often find God in the silence. During this period of time, I spent a lot of time with God in silence praying about what to do. Often it was difficult to settle myself and quiet my mind’s racing thoughts, but when I could it was beautiful. It was in that moment that I took a break from trying to search for the perfect friends and let myself just be by myself. I took some time for just me and I began to realize something.
It was God trying to tell me something: I needed to take care of myself first. Not in a selfish way, but I had to learn who I was and how to love myself. When I stopped worrying so much about finding the right friends and planning everything out, I had a new sense of peace. I understood the gift God was giving me. He was giving me this time to just be me and to work on that. He knew that I needed to love myself before I could give that love to others in a friendship. I was looking at it all wrong. I thought all the pain from being alone was because there was something wrong with who I was. In reality, this time was a precious gift that allowed me to grow stronger, and recognize who I am.
In the next few months that followed, I became the best version of myself. I was strong and confident in who I was. I didn’t think about how many friends I had or didn’t have because I knew how to love and take care of myself. It sounds selfish to take care of yourself first, but it’s necessary to take time to figure out who you are before you can share yourself with others.
When I took the time to step back and accept being alone instead of trying to fight it, I realized I had never actually been alone. God had been with me the whole way and he knew I needed that time in silence to figure out who I was. I learned to find joy and happiness within myself. I was more in tune with the incredible things I was capable of and felt so much more connected to the world. One of the loneliest times in my life ended up teaching me just how much strength I had and allowed me to discover who I was as well as who I wanted to be. Being alone isn’t always a bad thing. I chose to see it as a chance to work on loving and caring for myself and even though my first semester didn’t go as planned, it became one of the most important and beneficial things to happen to me.