By Danice Abril
Illustration by Maureen Gonzales
Did you ever feel like an outsider in an unfamiliar place? Were you ever the new kid on the block? Or did you ever feel like the new intern in a big company? We all experienced that at least once in our lives, and we tend to go either in one of two possible directions: to stay in our shell or morph into a new person in order to survive. Unsure which one you are? I can help you with that.
I’ve always been a mover. I moved houses. I moved schools. I even moved countries. I’ve lived in so many locations that there were times that I didn’t know who I was anymore. I felt lost. I confess that I’m the type of person that just wants to fit in because the feeling of being isolated will kill me. I never want to be alone. It took awhile but when I turned 21 last February I told myself that this fear is something I need to eradicate. I’m not doing this only for myself but for anyone who might be feeling the same way.
Overcoming the fear of isolation has been a difficult process. I’m still pretty much a work in progress, but hey, we all start somewhere, right? Here are some of the things I keep in mind whenever I find myself in a new and unfamiliar place.
- “You are here for a reason.”
I live by this mantra whenever I feel isolated in a new place. I don’t think it’s a crime to think that you are put in a specific place for a reason. I’d like to think that you are put in a certain situation or place because you can make something good out of it. This mantra is my personal pep talk, as well as being a confidence booster. Never forget: you are great.
- “Don’t let your fear eat you”
Fear is the ultimate enemy. It’s that thing at the back of your head that’s stopping you from doing things. Admit it, you have your own personal demons to conquer. Some of you might be afraid of disappointment, afraid that you might get hurt, or afraid that after trying everything, it’s still not good enough. I tell myself all the time that I won’t go anywhere if I let my fear control me. You’re bigger than your fears, and don’t let it tell you otherwise.
- “It’s okay”
Another mantra I like to tell myself. You know what, it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s part of the learning process. We can never improve if we don’t accept our various flaws and mistakes. Nobody is perfect, and that’s okay.
- “Be open”
It’s nice to keep an open mind especially when dealing with new things. Sometimes we just keep looking for things only to find that they are right in front of us this whole time. Being open simply means stepping out of your comfort zone from time to time. Who knows, you might discover new things and even discover yourself in the process.
- “Never forget yourself”
Now, this one’s very important. Never forget where you came from, never forget who you really are. Basically, it’s about not forgetting your identity as a person. You have to be true to yourself so that people can see your true nature. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not in order to fit in. Let society accept who you are and if they don’t like it then that’s their loss. We are all amazing in our own little way.
- “Help others”
They say help is a two-way street. In addition to helping yourself, you also have to help other people. You’re not the only one in the boat and there are other people that might be feeling the same way as you. You might be asking, “how about me?” I’ve always believed that when you help someone, you’re also helping yourself. Through helping other people, you may realize that everyone is capable of doing something great.
There are many other things to keep in mind when you find yourself in a new habitat. These are mine, and I want all of you to figure out how you can survive in your new environment. You’ll be fine. I’m rooting for you.