The Surprising Results of Accepting Invitations
I’m an extroverted introvert. What this means is that I enjoy being social and do well at it. But, I’m kind of like a three-year-old. I’ll start off the evening as a big ball of energy but I burn out fast. After about 90 minutes I kind of just want to lay down on the floor and take a nap.
The last two years, the holidays I’ve gotten the best of me. Two years ago I didn’t touch alcohol at all during the entire month of December because I felt like pouring a depressant all over my already increasing level of depression was a recipe for disaster.
Last year, holiday depression sequestered me inside for much of the season. I just didn’t have it in me to leave the house. My house was pretty, warm, and safe.
This year, I’ve realized that doing the same things I’ve done for the last two years is not going to work for me. I don’t want to spend another holiday season miserable. Wallowing in my own self misery is not a productive practice.
In the last year, my circle of friends has grown. Exponentially. I feel more supported and cared for than I ever have in my life. It’s not necessarily because I’ve been overly outgoing and making bold moves to meet people. It’s because of the love of friends who want to introduce me to more great people.
I used to feel like invitations to do things this time of year felt a little bit like the sympathy invite. We might as well invite Vanessa. She probably has nothing to do. That’s an absurd and, quite frankly, offensive way to look at an invite. It reek of self pity and self loathing. I don’t want to be that person.
I change my thinking on this by turning the table around. I have never once invited somebody that I did not actually want to spend time with to do something with me or my group of friends because I felt bad for them. So why the hell would I think that somebody else is doing that to me. At the same time, I recognize a lot of us feel a little vulnerable right now so it’s completely understandable.
The holidays create a lot of dark places and no matter how many strands of twinkle lights you use to decorate it, it doesn’t seem any brighter.
In the last two weeks, I started the practice of saying yes as much as I possibly can. I’ve turned down one invitation. It had been a long week. I was tired. I know when I need rest and I know where my line of self-care is. I’m not running myself into the ground.
Yesterday was my friend’s birthday. She and her mother and another friend of mine were having brunch and it occurred to them to invite me over to the house later in the day to play games, I have a drink or two and gorge ourselves on pizza.
I could have found a dozen reasons to stay comfortably in my own home. I really should clean my bathroom. I need to go grocery shopping. I really want to finish my book. All of this can wait.
I so very happily happily accepted the invite because I’ve stopped wallowing. I saw it for exactly what it was: my friends appreciate my existence, love me and want to spend more time connecting with me.
People are used to me turning down invites. I know that if you keep declining, the rate at which you get invites extended to you also declines. We dig our own hole so much deeper.
With this newfound willingness of excepting invites, I noticed that people are increasingly happy to see me. I can’t tell you how amazing this feels.
Saying yes to people is opening my life to more connections and more meaning in my life. In my more extroverted days, I knew no strangers. I’ve missed the side of myself. It feels good to walk into a room, a concert, or a party and have to spend a half an hour saying hello to everyone because you know everyone there.
Surprisingly, I don’t feel tired.
The greatest gift we can give someone is time. I’m giving it freely this holiday season. I’m stopping and recognizing the amount of love that hangs around me every day. Invitations are a blessing. There are subtle reminder that you’re wanted. Recognize that. Do yourself a favor. Accept the invitation. Just go.