Lessons Learned Early

Carrie - Rutherford College, North Carolina
Entered on February 28, 2008

Relationships have always been a peculiar matter to me. Throughout my eighteen years of growing up and experiencing life, I have developed many ideas and beliefs about the tremendous importance of having relationships with other people. I have realized that at many times I find myself alone. I began to question why having relationships with other people is so important. When I examine my character and my nature, I deduce that one could describe me as a hermit. I have this shell of security. It protects me from what I find dangerous or cumbersome. When I am ready to come out, I will, but if not, then I will remain coiled up inside where no one can see me. I confess that forming and keeping relationships with other people tends to make me retreat back to the inside of my shell. Due to my shy and cautious nature, friendships are challenging. I understand that healthy relationships take time, sacrifice, and commitment, and those three words spark automatic uneasiness and dismissal. Despite this, I strive to overthrow those reactions in order to form the worthwhile relationships I desire.

I began to tolerate the idea that I needed to break out of my shell when I experienced the separation from my one and only true friend. This person was who I spent many evenings and weekends with, who I shared my deepest dreams with, and who I fell in love with. However, like many young dating relationships, mine had to come to an end. I realized Chase and I had grown apart and were experiencing very different stages in life as I am still in high school, and he is in his second year of college. The conclusion of this long relationship provoked in me a sense of loss and confusion. I depended greatly on Chase to make me happy. I had all the comfort I needed while with him. This parting opened my eyes to the realization that for two years I had only put effort into our relationship and not my friendships with other people. With this new understanding, I began to slowly creep out of my shell and search for what I needed to fill the hole I had created.

In doing so, I allowed myself to open up to the people around me. I gave my time and attention to those who I had known all along but failed to appreciate. The hole I once had was gradually closing with these new friendships and the great times we began spending together. The tendency to hide in my shell still haunts me today. However, the lessons I have learned from my experience with not having true friends hinder me from vanishing into my shell. I have made it a life-long goal not to ignore the need to develop relationships even when I am tired, busy, afraid, or shy. I cannot let these feelings prevent me from building the strongest relationships one can experience in life. I believe in the power and significance of gaining true friendships, despite the diligence and sacrifice this may call for.