The process of socialization

QUESTION: Masters I have always been quiet and have struggled to socialize with peers. Lately I have strongly felt that the world can be a tough place, I find human nature to be perplexing and I believe this is why I struggle to connect with others. I feel as though I am on a different level from everyone which is causing me to feel down. I am fearful that my quietness is causing me to suffer at this time in my life. Will I eventually blossom and leave my silence behind to live a fulfilled life? ~Anna, Ireland

ANSWER: When you think of associating with another individual, you analyze all the possible implications and reactions you think they might have. You have a need for control, or at least knowing everything that is about to occur. This keeps you so involved in your theoretical mind that the opportunity to interact with the other person passes before the union is realized. Your “quietness,” as you call it, is a hesitation to take yourself out into the world.

People are perplexing to you because you see them doing things other than you imagined they should want to do. Again, you are overanalyzing and attributing traits to others based on your own beliefs. Lighten up. The difference you perceive between you and others has to do with the restrictions you place on yourself.

Start slowly in approaching others. Find a comfortable location – a social group, library, bookstore, coffee shop – and exchange friendly greetings at first. Continue to frequent the location until you have exchanged pleasantries with several people multiple times.

Next, start a conversation; if you have noticed they engage in a particular thing, talk about that. Don’t judge them; don’t rate or grade them in comparison to your beliefs, either. After a while it will begin to feel comfortable, non-threatening, as if you have known them for a long time.

Each person creates their own reality. It does not just “come” to you; you have to work at it. All the buds are present; let them start opening.