Most of my friends have known me for a relatively short period of time (ten years or less) but I am pretty sure I have been like this since I was a kid, running around like everything and nothing fit together. I was happy to be friends with almost everyone unless, of course, I decided I didn’t like them (which to be fair has never been very often). And, although I was frequently regarded as the “weird hippie kid,” I really enjoyed growing up in my small hometown. However, it wasn’t until I moved away—perhaps the best decision that I ever made—that I actually realized that I tend to live in a little bit of a bubble, meaning that I see things through my own, personalized rose-tinted glasses. Now, I’ve gotten better since I’ve left the States and traveled, but every once in a while I start to notice it again.
I would like to say that personally, I don’t consider ‘bubble living’ as an inherently good or bad thing (on some level, I think we all live in a bit of a bubble), but it is something that I feel like I should be aware about. If I’m not, I tend to interpret things around me in an exceptionally distorted way. At the same time, I do believe that our interpretations of the world are tied to our cultural upbringings (hence why cultural competences are so important). As I am slowly accepting my need for personal and emotional space, I am starting to notice a couple of things about myself.
1.) I take a long time to connect to people, but when I do I connect deeply:
The idea of friendship can be really hard for me because most people seem to accept what I would consider to be acquaintances as friendships (in fact, I have on occasion offended people by bluntly telling them we are not really friends but just acquaintances). This doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t like meeting people, but that I tend to take things at face value. If we meet up in a group, I will probably have to know you for months before I tend to take you out of the “people I know” box (and into the “friends” one). In fact, I usually will tell people that unless we’ve done something one-on-one—from having a coffee to going for a run—I don’t tend to consider us friends.
I’ve talked about this a bit in the sense that I am quite vulnerable when it comes to friendships. If we are friends, you have probably seen me cry (either from laughing or from being sad). In addition, I will also probably go out of my way to make sure my friends are comfortable and work to support them as I can. For me, it can take a while but once I consider someone my friend, it is usually for life, whether or not we have regular contact.
My Bubble: tends to be formed by people I care about, and, if you ask me, my friends are the most beautiful and intelligent people I know.
2.) I tend to only remember the good things:
This is somewhat unintentional but I think that because I seem to live in my own, personal space, I also try to make it as wonderful as possible for me. It might seem weird, but it is in my nature to downplay the things that make me sad or angry and after a while I forget why they seemed so important to me before. People will often remind me of bad memories or harder times but I somehow seem to forget those parts of the story and just remember the good things. I know that this can make me seem a bit naive, but I often prefer to let go of the negative memories if they no longer serve me.
This means that I much prefer to talk about positive experiences than negative ones and get tired easily when the conversation seems to be going in a pessimistic direction. That doesn’t mean that I never get frustrated or rant (trust me, I do). It just reflects in the sense that I would prefer to discuss positive things moving forward, new projects, and cool ideas. It also means that I spend time with people who share their good energy with me much more than people who are energy drainers.
My Bubble: is formed by good memories and I am probably going to tell you all the best things about my experiences, conveniently downplaying or forgetting all the not-so-great ones.
3.) I don’t understand the need to be dishonest with myself or others:
Sometimes I might be just too honest (luckily, people tend to think I am joking), but I truly don’t understand the need to make things more or less than they are—unless it is a white lie that helps a situation in the long-run. This goes two ways: when I am talking to myself and when I am talking to others. A lot of times I may not truly like the reality of a situation, but I practice honesty with myself and try to at least understand how I really feel about it. This doesn’t mean that I never trick myself into thinking things are different than they are, but I try to be as honest as I can.
In addition, I don’t want to lie or manipulate the situation where others are involved if I can avoid it either. For example, going back to the friends thing, I will only tell people that I really care about them when I truly consider them to be my friend. This might be awkward in larger groups where some people are closer friends and some people are acquaintances but it is hard for me to fake things that are not there.
My bubble: It is hard for me to not speak my truth and, oftentimes, when I try to keep it inside of me it just ends up coming out anyways.
4.) I have specific values that I assume others have too
Because I live in a self-created world, I sort of expect everyone to think like me—even though I know it is not possible (nor would I want to live in a world where everyone is the same). This means that oftentimes I may be more driven with projects like this blog than the people I am hanging out with are with their passion projects. In my mind, there is nothing unusual about how I am in this sense because when I agree to do something, I will do it.
Because this is how I live my life, I consider the things I do to be very ‘normal.’ Some of my friends, however, seem to think that my way of doing things is odd or special. This always surprises me because I just don’t see it that way and this leads to me being confused and curious of how other people live their lives (and can also lead to me asking them awkward or uncomfortable questions about their lifestyles as well).
My Bubble: I will never ask more of you than I ask of myself. Although, I might find it strange when you don’t do what I expect.
Overall, I enjoy living in my bubble. I find people who value me and who are willing to accept me with all the quirks I have. At the same time, it can be frustrating when I extrapolate my expectations of myself onto other people and I feel like they let me down. However, that is all still part of my own personal growth—I can only control myself and must let others live their own best lives, which more often than not does not include them living in my bubble.
What about your? Do you tend to be a super realist or are you a ‘bubble living’ too?