Why Being Social Sucks

social, socialize, sociaizing, network, networking,talk, share, awkward, connect, work, effort, dream, anxiety, smile, people, connect, connections, friends, different, discomfort, uncomfortable, bubble, antisocial, wrong, key, life, job, jobs, listen,open, heart, mark, talk, strangers, views, story, stories, work, smile, power, sucks, why,benefit, possibilities, benefits, I have never really been a social butterfly. I grew up an only child so the need to share was never present. Well, at least not until my sister was born. Even then, I don’t think I ever really grasped how to be or how to share anything with other people.

As I grew older, I was the awkwardly tall girl. I always felt like I was very different so I did everything in my power to not participate in events. I had my circle of friends somehow but I usually ended up being the odd one out.

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. Socializing is the key to life. It can lead to networking, which is really just socializing with a purpose. It is how people land jobs they might have never even dreamed of. It is how you connect with people and reassure yourself that you’re never alone.

Once it was time for college, I decided to stay just as antisocial as before. This lead to never networking with the right people nor opening the right doors for myself.

I missed the mark. I often retreated to a lonely place. This created a lot of anxiety that was very difficult to shake in my later years. Now that I am in my late 20s, I realize I had it wrong all along.

But why did I refuse to be social all the years?

For one, being social requires sharing. You have to give to get. In order for people to be interested in you, you must share bits and pieces of your own life to gain rapport. And who likes to put in work? I never did.

Chances are, if you share something with someone, they will share something with you. This happens because sharing conveys vulnerability which can entice people to open up more as a result.

Two, being social requires listening. Who likes to listen? Only the smartest of people. I was so self-absorbed in my own little world to ever notice that other people’s views and stories are completely relevant and valuable.

Listening more and talking less can teach anyone things they maybe never knew or things they never thought they ever needed to know.

Three, being social requires a certain level of discomfort. Chitchatting with strangers is never going to be the most comfortable thing in the world. But chances are, the other person is are worried about what they’re going to say next than whatever is coming out of your mouth or how it sounds.

Once you get over that first stage of awkwardness, socializing stops being awkward and starts being constructive.

In retrospect, how lazy could one girl be? Socializing really requires little effort and a bit of discomfort. There should really be mandatory courses in school to help students understand the value and need for socializing.

Yes, being social takes some work. And yes, it requires some discomfort. It also provides benefits we sometimes fail to see because we are too busy living in our “bubbles.”

Now that I am older, I realize that I have to make an effort to socialize. A greater effort than ever before because I am no longer in school surrounded by hundreds or thousands of people on a daily basis.

But guess what? I am willing put in the effort now. It’s never too late, right?

The last few months I have made it my mission to be social. I have gone to events I would usually turn my back to and I have had a hell of a time doing it. Sure, I don’t need more friends, but it doesn’t hurt to make them. And if you can make a few more people smile during your lifetime, you can leave a greater mark than ever.

In the end, socializing is networking, and networking is power. Making connections early in life can really help you navigate the world later in life. Although the benefits of socializing/networking are not always obvious and/or immediate, the possibilities are endless once you decide to open up to others.

Choose to share. Choose to socialize. Choose to open your heart.

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen

Why Dads Are So Important

dad, dads, children, daughter, family, try, best, emptiness, best, share, world, ready, late, to, forgive, past, missed, survive, survived, characters, never, best, lucky, why, safe, sacrifice, daddy, important, why, role model, male, gender, present, absentFamilies come in all shapes and sizes. Some have one dad, some have two and some have none. Friends can sometimes become family and family are not always necessarily friends. I love all families and know many people have grown up with a lot of love while others had to grow up without it and do it fast.

I love listening to different stories about people’s upbringings because it provides a sense of context for their character. Some people choose to own their past as part of their framework, while others denounce it altogether and continually fight it.

I own my past, and my past and present consist of having a dad. Not just your average dad, literally the best dad. I know a lot of people say this, but I know I am right. He was and is always present in my life.

He was that dad that always meddled. The dad that met with all my teachers. The dad that was never really asleep at night because he wanted to make sure his family was safe at all times. The dad who sacrificed his everything for his family to live well. The dad who shared nothing about his job while he was home. The dad that read me a book every single night. The dad that was (and is still) the great Saint Nick every Christmas.

It hurts me when I hear some people never had a dad. Maybe it’s not even a dad they needed, but overall support and unconditional love from a good role model.

I am all about gender equality, but there is something to be said about male role models in general. They provide a certain sense of security and love I can’t really compare to anything else.

Either way, I want to thank all those dads out there who did and continue to do their best. Those dads that work overtime just to keep their family comfortable. Those dads that save up all their retirement money to help their children buy a house. Those dads who do homework with their kids even after a rough day at work. Those dads that put gas in their kid’s car. Those dads who look at their children like they are their biggest accomplishments. Those dads who adopted other people’s children as their own. Those dads who thought they weren’t ready for fatherhood but later realized it was actually their life calling.

And to those Dads who couldn’t or just weren’t ready to be present for their children: It is never too late. No matter the age, your kids needs you. No matter the circumstance, your kids will forgive you.

What I really want to let you know is that you missed out. Yes, you missed out on watching your children flourish. And although this is true, just know that most of us do the best we can with what we know at the time. Even if you didn’t, I have talked to your children. The void is still there and is still waiting to be filled. Yes, you might have seemed essential to their lives at some point but they survived without you. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to know who they became without you?

I always had a dad so I can’t speak for every circumstance, but I do know that there is a large number of people who grew up without a dad or anything resembling one. This made many people stronger and others a lot weaker. Whatever the case, I really hope more dads try to reach out to their estranged children and never stop.

I got lucky, but I still feel for those that feel an emptiness within their hearts. I wish I could just share my dad with the entire world but that goes hand in hand with my desire for world peace. Dads are important, if you happen to have kids, try your best to be one. You don’t have to be the very best dad, but at least try to be there.

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen

Why You Don’t Have To Like Me

like, me, why, mean, nice, respect, heart, humanity, demand, love, accept, journey, advice, life, success, relationships, grow, growth, 20s, 30s, learn, change,When I was younger, I always wanted to fit in. Like most other kids, I wanted to be accepted and liked. I wanted to have cool friends that I could always hang out with.

I never really fit in anywhere. My culturally diverse background left me neither here nor there. I was never white enough or Mexican enough. I still tried to fit in, though.

When I got to high school, I said F*** it. I am who I am, if people don’t like it then that’s too bad. So I became a mean girl. Why?  Well, because I just could.

I had awesome friends but I was never too awesome myself. I didn’t care about anything or anyone. I was bitter and angry at the world and my only friend was oftentimes music. Lyrics got me. Lyrics accepted me.

I learned to find the balance between being too nice and being too mean somewhere in my 20s. I am who I am. I am sarcastic but have learned to be sweeter. I am rude but have learned to be well-mannered, well, most of the time anyway.

Now that I am closer to 30 than I am to 20 I realize no one has to like me. Those that matter are simply three people, mom, dad and my sister. They’ll forever love me unconditionally. I can count my friends on one hand and life is awesome this way.

If you don’t know me yet, you don’t have to like me. I am very opinionated so I would honestly be surprised if you did learn to like me. I have a pure heart but it’s often very guarded. And with good reason. Like many people, I have been broken and I have put myself back together.

I don’t demand you like me but I do demand respect. I respect all people who have love in their hearts. Even if it is hidden, I respect you. I respect all people who have talent and who have a set of strong values like integrity. I even respect people who don’t know any better because they might be a product of circumstance.

If you and you hate my guts, that’s fine. Just show me respect to my face. Maybe you don’t like what I say or how I do, but what better reason to respect others than for their differences.

I have had many situations where I judge books by their covers. I mean, haven’t we all? I then find the humanity within their hearts and forget all ill-conceived notions.

I believe in mutual respect among all mankind. We are on a certain journey together and most of us are simply trying to make the best out of this fleeting moment we call life.

We don’t have to agree or understand those around us but I do think it is necessary to respect. Respect beliefs, respect views, respect space, respect possessions, respect journeys, respect cultures, respect differences. We don’t have to be best friends with our neighbors but mutual respect goes a very long way.

Choose love. Choose acceptance. Choose respect.

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen