Feature photo courtesy of @model
Why It’s Important To Be Picky With People
As I approach my 21st birthday, I look back on how I’ve grown as an individual. One thing that I’ve developed is confidence. I never considered myself as a shy person before, but reflecting upon my high school years, I realize I was so ashamed of myself. I had zero confidence. I definitely attribute this to years of bullying and never really having the “right company” around me.
What did my choice of friendships say about me then, and what does it say about me now?
Coming to this conclusion raised several questions. How did I end up with the “wrong company”? What does the “right company” even mean? And why should I have been more vigilant about the people I let speak influence into my thoughts and actions? What did my choice of friendships say about me then, and what does it say about me now?
As a freshman, I was terrified of entering university. My campus was located two hours away from home, was full of a diverse student body with totally different backgrounds from my peers in high school, and was not fully English-speaking (having spent 11 years in an international high school, I wasn’t completely fluent in Indonesian, my own mother tongue. Not something I’m necessarily proud of). Now that I’m in my junior year of uni, I see that I’d made the best decision of my life to situate myself on this campus.
Compared to my previous environment, I see that now I have a much higher number of trusted, supportive, and positive friends. The difference between the two environments I’ve experienced is phenomenal, starting from small habits to conversations I hear every day. None of my old bad patterns, habits, or triggers are found here. The people around you may seem like small bits of your day, but they can affect a big change that you feel in your mental and even physical health. Today, I am a much healthier, happier, and confident individual. I’ve met so many people in the past three years who helped me overcome my insecurities, but here are some photographs of extraordinary people who’ve said or done things that made me rethink the way I live and view myself.
IMAGE CREDIT: BOBBLEHAUS / MIRANDA PRANOTO
YUDI (the one who introduced me as ‘the artist’)
Yudi was the head of the decoration division for the first event I signed up to be a part of in my university. One of the requirements to apply for the decoration division was a portfolio. Having taken my high school visual arts class, I had mine prepared and ready. I remember sending Yudi my portfolio. The next time we met, he introduced me to others as “the artist.”
I didn’t have many friends in my high school art class so I never got that validation; I thought I was not capable of doing anything. When Yudi said this, it gave me courage in knowing that others saw me through the merits of my craft. Previously, I’d been very insecure and shy about my work, but Yudi (and everyone else in that particular event committee) never let me believe I wasn’t capable of everything I wanted to do. To this day, a part of my assurance in believing I can achieve anything is due to the faith Yudi had in me, may it be the freshman, confused, insecure version of me.
ALMA, IDA, LENE, & OLE (the ones who give breath to ‘hygge’)
Alma, Ida, Lene and Ole are considered our extended family in Denmark. Ole is a close friend of my father’s. I believe this is due to the fact that both of them know what it’s like to have two daughters that are of similar age. I remember an instant connection with Alma and Ida during our first visit to Denmark in the summer of 2015. We see each other almost every year now, and feel as if we’d grown up together.
Their whole family feels like home. They’ve introduced us to a ‘slow’ way of living. Whenever we visit Europe, Copenhagen always feels like the most relaxing part. Our days are always unplanned, yet simple and fulfilling. There’s no need to dress up or to overthink anything. We go to museums, poster shops, the royal gardens, and ON picnics. Whatever it is we do, the eight of us always feel ‘hygge.’ I still don’t know how to describe ‘hygge,’ but I know I feel it every time the eight of us reunite.
YULISHA (the one who sees me through)
“There are feelings you don’t show that I know you feel. You’re so good at hiding things but I know it must eat you up inside.”
Yulissa is my pixie friend who sees through me and sends me strength and energy when I need it most. We grew very close when we were doing three projects together last year. Now, we don’t talk as much as we used to, but I know she understands me without needing many words.
Her words didn’t particularly encourage me to share my thoughts and feelings with others more, but it felt like a warm pat on my back telling me to take a break every once in a while. I feel like Yulissa is one of the few people who can see through my loud and extroverted front and know I can still be very hard on myself; she knows I’m a sensitive and private person. And her appreciation of my tendency to keep my guard up lets me know I’m doing fine, and that she’s always there if I need a friend.
JOSH (the one with tough love)
“You need to stop walking around like a victim. The things that have happened to you made you who you are today and you should embrace that.”
Truth be told, hearing this felt like getting slapped across the face. But I’m so glad Josh said this to me. It reminds me to not see myself through the eyes of those that have hurt me or have no belief in me. These words reminded me to focus on what’s to come and not on my past.
These words sounded mean at first, but I know it’s completely different from the ones I used to hear. They were intended to help me see my worth outside of my experiences. I know this came from a place of love, not hate. Accepting this criticism made me realize that not everything others say is meant to attack me.
FAIZ (the one who is everybody’s friend)
“I promise, you’re going to make so many friends. You’re going to meet so many kind people. No one here will treat you the way you were treated before. You’ll accomplish so much.”
I remember Faiz introducing himself to me on the first day of class. He is that guy on campus who’s friends with everyone. I really look up to him, so when he gave me an abundance of support and encouragement upon hearing my sappy stories from middle and high school, I felt very accepted and embraced.
He’s always been a big brother figure to me. Faiz is always the one to remind me that I’m overthinking and projecting my insecurities on others. He’s made me more aware of the mistakes and holes in my mindset, and he lets me know there’s so much more ahead than what you leave behind.
Audrey, Angela and Bella (the ones who stand up for me)
“I’m glad you’re putting yourself first. You need to start being who you are without pressure from anyone weighing you down.”
These are my best friends, Audrey, Angela and Bella. We attend different universities so we’re scattered in different places, but every time we meet we realize we’ve grow to be even more alike than before.
These women have stood up for me when I couldn’t do it for myself, and I realize that you could never ask someone to do that. But they did anyway, even if it came with a risk. I remember Beyonce said there’s nothing like quality time with women who understand and support you. I really feel that every time I’m with these girls. No competition, no judgment, just pure love and sisterhood.
Alex, Brice, Eva and Rafael (the ones who try)
I’ve always seen myself as the more spontaneous member in my family and my group of friends. But the simple question Brice asked me made me rethink my spontaneity. One time, he asked if I wanted to try fishing. I told him I’d never gone fishing before, and his reply made me rethink about the decisions I make. “So just because you’ve never fished, you’ll never try?”
I used to overthink every situation I was about to enter because I was so afraid of rejection, failure and getting hurt. Maybe this is partly due to the fact that I grew up in an environment that views mistakes as the number one fear.
Brice and his siblings, Alex, Eva and Rafael, on the other hand, grew up in the south of France. Their familial upbringing really instilled in them the habit of seizing the moment. Being around Brice and his family made me realize I need to be more present. I very rarely see them on their phones when we’re together; they’re always 100% present in whatever they’re doing. Life just seems to flow so easily and organically to them. This mindset is something I rarely see in the people around me, so it felt like a small culture shock. Nevertheless, I am very grateful for the little reminder to never take a moment for granted. Also, I managed to catch (and later, release) 3 fishes.
They say ‘you are what you think.’ If that’s true, then we should surround ourselves with good energy and fill our days with positive and productive thoughts. We know what’s best for ourselves, so we always have the right to decide who gets to be of influence on us, and who we can learn from. I believe we should always make the decision to make sure our environment is healthy. At the end of the day, our friendships define us and impact us in more ways than we realize.