When you are young you want to go to all the parties and every other event your friends were attending. It would have been the absolute end of the world if you didn’t have the latest gear and shoes. Those who could not hang out or were too afraid (or respected the rules of the house) to sneak out were often called the lames, geeks, nerds. They weren’t ever voted “most likely to” be anything. These people were often invisible and even if they were visible, they were merely tolerated and discounted as the tag-a-long simply because they didn’t fit into the norm.
A sheltered existence can be quite lonely. You wonder why you are so different and if you will ever meet people who will understand who you are. Will you ever have friends who care about your thoughts and feelings enough to ask about them? Those sheltered moments often lead to self-fulfilled prophesies of inadequacy because when you feel like the odd ball you begin to internalize your feelings to the point where you feel as if you will never be enough. You begin to accept that it must be something lacking in you that renders you incapable of connecting to others. Therefore you continue to withdraw yourself from everyone because certainly no one can relate.
When life presents opportunities for you to escape the norm and you actually encounter those whose experiences, thought processes, and upbringing are similar to yours, a sense of freedom ensues. Just as the person who has been starved and finally received a bite to eat, you dive into these new people and experiences head first, only to be hurt by them as well because you didn’t take the time to get to know them, latching on to the first perceived life saver that came along. For the life of you, you cant figure out why you’ve been hurt again, so you do what your normally do: retreat to your shelter. The cycle of self-sheltering continues but has been fine tuned over time to the point where you can fit in when you choose to and alienate yourself as necessary. This type of existence often results in disconnectedness from the very people whose lives you yearn to be a part of, but you go along with the flow because a little bit of what you want is better than none of what you want.
What stops the cycle? When does acceptance enter? From where does peace and contentment come? At what point do you face difficulty head on instead of withdrawing when things become difficult? When do you step out of the shelter and run the risk of getting wet from the rain?
When the pain of remaining the same becomes more difficult than the fear of changing.