I schedule Me Time. I have to, otherwise I forget to have some. If Me Time is an hour or two with a favorite TV show or reading a book, I may not write it down in my planner, but I do plan it in my daily routine.
That Me Time prepares me to face another day or helps me recharge for the next one. My family knows that after a long day of work, they can expect me to hide out in my room for an hour after I get off work. Then, when I’m recovered, I venture out to face more people.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. I just… Well, more on that later.
I also do my best to have a minimum of one Veg Out day every month. These days consist of wearing PJs, sitting on my rear and doing whatever catches my fancy all day long.
I have to have a Veg Out day. It keeps me sane. It gives me something to look forward to in the busy months. It also helps me recover physically and emotionally. It’s a much needed mini-vacation every month.
I’m an introvert. This may come as a shock to those who don’t know me well. If you see me in a large group setting, I’m likely goofing off and introducing myself to strangers. I do this for two reasons: one, I admire people who do this and want to be more like them, and two, I’m a leader and leading means pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.
The thing is, I’d rather spend a year at home with my own thoughts than spend a year in someone’s company EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. I love people. I just prefer not being around them whenever possible.
This makes me sound terrible. I’m sorry. I promise I’m not evil and awful and any other word the former statement makes me sound like. I’m just introverted and shy (even though I don’t seem it, I promise I am).
But even though I’m shy, I push myself.
If you pretend to be something long enough, eventually you’ll become it.
In my case, I wanted to be confident and outgoing. So I forced myself to seem confident and made a game of being outgoing. I’d have friends point out random people in a crowd, give me random question to ask them, then go over and try to slip it naturally into conversation. These conversations usually went something like this:
Setting: Church Camp | Question: What color are the shoes you’re wearing tonight?
Stranger: Um, hi?
Me: What’s your name?
Me: Hi, Emma! I’m Rachel. How are you doing?
Emma: Okay….? *nervous laugh*
Me: I’m glad to hear it. *grin* Is this your first year at camp?
Emma: No, I came last year.
Me: Oh really? That’s awesome! My favorite thing about church camp is definitely the church services. Ugh, I can’t decide what to wear tonight.
Emma: *getting used to me* Yeah, I brought my whole closet practically.
Me: *laughs* I totally did, too. Including shoes. But I scuffed up my favorite pair on the gravel last night.
Emma: Man, that stinks.
Me: Yeah, they were red and cute and ugh.
Emma: I love red shoes! I think I brought a pair, too.
Me: Oh my goodness, are you going to wear them tonight? I love red shoes. I’d love to see them!”
Emma: *laughs* No, I’m wearing black pumps tonight. They match my outfit better. Maybe tomorrow night.
At that point, I’d find a way to wrap up the conversation, go back to my friends with the answer and start over. The weirder the questions, the more fun the game. Sometimes I’d have to just randomly ask the question because there was no way to naturally plug it in.
Eventually, after years of practice and imitating what I saw in others whom I admired, I found that I had become confident in making friends. It shocked me. I didn’t know it was possible. But I did it.
While I still enjoy time to myself, I love that I’m now open to meeting and spending time with others. It took a lot of work to get to that point. Honestly, it has really come in handy with my work with Undignified Event. As introverted as I used to be, Undignified Event never would have happened.
If you had asked me four years ago if I thought I’d stand in front of 500+ people and talk, sing and dance in worship, I’d have called you crazy. If you’d said I would meet up with a bunch of business professionals at the age of 18 and orchestrate a massive project that included leading a group of 25+ volunteers (most older than me), I’d have called you nuts. If you’d said I’d participate in a live radio interview for half an hour (broadcasting to thousands of people) or be interviewed by reporters from the Columbus Dispatch and other newspapers, I’d have locked you up in an asylum.
The point is this: push yourself. You’re made of tougher material than you realize. If you have a dream, pursue it. If someone says it’s impossible, pursue it harder. You can do it. I believe in you.
God has a way of opening unexpected doors. Do the work so that when they open, you can walk through them.
Well, I’m not sure how a post about Me Time became an “inspiring you to do great things” post, but I’m okay with it. I hope you are, too. 😉
Are you an introvert? What methods do you use to push yourself outside of your comfort zone?