Being an old soul is hard. However, this fact is often overlooked, because we’re so good at internalizing the conflict we face. To gain a better understanding of what an old soul is, you can read my article here. While it takes courage to be different from the crowd, it doesn’t necessarily mean the path is easy. Here are 10 difficulties old souls can relate to:
1. You’re marginalized.
Society doesn’t know how you operate, and because of that, you’re overwhelmingly different to others. People don’t always know how to handle differences, so marginalization becomes a poor coping mechanism in terms of social construction. It’s similar to how society creates prison systems, because we’re not willing to face the underlying problems and only want to lock them away. It’s a crappy way of saying, “Sorry, you seem weird and I’m not sure we’re okay with that.”
I was such a misfit in middle school that even when I decided to sit with the emos and goths, some jock from the next table made a sneering comment about how I wore too many bright colors to be sitting with them. It probably never actually occurred to him that maybe I hung out with who I wanted to hang out with, because I chose personality over what someone wore. And even then, I didn’t belong to a single clique. I associated myself with anyone who wasn’t afraid to be themselves. Being marginalized isn’t actually a reflection of who you are. It’s a reflection of the fears of those who are doing the marginalizing.
2. You’re misunderstood.
It’s like you speak a completely different language from others. You always feel like you have to explain yourself a little more, because people don’t understand where you’re coming from. Viewpoints often clash. What you see and understand as being truthful and significant might not be regarded as anything worth seeing to another.
In order to cope with this, I used to blog when I was in college to write all my thoughts down. I knew they had to go somewhere instead of festering up inside me. Using any creative outlet, like drawing, painting, or photography is a great way to make up for what can’t always be directly communicated with others. Perhaps one day when you’re ready to present what’s on your mind, people will be able to understand you better through your creativity. But in the meantime, it’s totally okay to keep them as private hobbies.
3. You have more existential crises than the average person.
What happens when life gives you lemons? You’re exactly the type of person to ponder over such questions. A true thinker. And because of that, you’re prone to overthinking. You start to become unsure of what life has to offer. And you lose yourself within that. Because while on one hand, you have these incredible insights and wisdom, on the other, it can be downright chaos. There’s always two sides to every coin, and vacillating between the two can feel like straight up hell.
I can be downright bleak at times. If I’m not careful, I can let it override to the point of system overload. That’s why it’s so critical for me to find meaning, because if I don’t have that, then I won’t have anything worth holding onto. It’s funny. I used to hate the idea of being tied down or anchored to anything, but what it all really comes down to is stability. Balance. Letting things happen in moderation. But, if I don’t have anything worth holding onto, then I don’t see much value in anything at all.
4. Your need for space can drive the people close to you away.
Space is essential for you, and when you demand it, the people closest to you might take it the wrong way. It gets personal, even if you don’t necessarily want it to be. While space is vital to you, it can also create massive misunderstandings to others who want to spend more quality time with you.
My favorite season is winter because it gives me an excuse to be off on my own without having to interact too much with people. It’s always during that time of the year when I can focus better on my projects. But other times, I have to be careful about how much space I create between loved ones and I. Compromise is the key word. I’m learning to cave in from time to time, but I also need others to understand where I’m coming from, too. When parties on both sides don’t have their needs met, both are bound to start arguments.
5. You invented loneliness.
With all the misjudgments you face and the difficulties you go through, it can get lonely from the view up top. And you never really grow out of it. It follows you everywhere you go, mostly because wisdom and a certain degree of loneliness always go hand in hand.
I can’t remember a time I didn’t experience loneliness. I can have a good time with friends and family, but somehow the feeling always creeps up on me. I stopped expecting it go away and started embracing it.
6. It’s hard to find people who like the same things you do.
People often find you boring because you don’t like hitting the bar like a normal 20 something year old. Or perhaps you’d rather stay in and watch a movie with a hot cup of tea instead of going out to a party. You struggle to find others who are down to relax with you in similar ways.
I easily go in daydreaming mode at bars, because it’s hard for me to stay in the moment. To my horror, it often gives men opportunities to come up and talk to me, and I usually don’t find it enjoyable. That’s why I’m a lot more comfortable being in environments with less stimulation. Caving into popular social norms usually isn’t worth it when you’re drowning in the scene.
7. Love seems impossible.
The dating pool seems small and dim when you find it painful to actually talk to the majority of the people who are available. As a result, you feel cynical in the love department. Making connections just doesn’t seem worth it half the time when you feel more rejections than acceptance.
I put off dating all throughout high school and college, because I just wanted to focus on my goals. At least that’s what I kept telling myself anyway. But if I’m going to be completely honest, it was also because I was repulsed by most people in my age group. And I wasn’t about to lower my standards anytime soon. If you want to find and build something real and long-lasting, you have to be honest about what you want.
8. Your philosophical tendencies can leave you paralyzed.
Your mind is constantly connecting every piece of information to one another. It’s called webbed thinking. And while it sounds genius, creating limitless possibilities, the web can become a mess, leaving you tangled in your mess of what-if’s.
I can’t seem to shut my brain off. While it is a gift to question things, it can also be a curse. I over-analyze to a fault. And then I begin to understand why most philosophers prefer to wear so much black! It’s hard to get out of any kind of darkness when your mind is always with you.
9. You forgive too easily.
You see things and understand what people’s intentions are. You’re never one to just take what’s on the surface. You dig and find reasons why people are the way they are. And because of that, you have a great capacity to forgive, even for those who don’t necessarily deserve it.
I’ve often been told I’m too nice. A big part of that is because I forgive too easily. Sometimes, it works in my favor, because I’m not holding onto extra baggage in the grudge department. But other times, I wish I wasn’t always being the bigger person, because I can get offered a very short end on my stick.
10. It’s hard for you to participate in life, because you substitute it with observing and analyzing.
You’d rather observe on the sidelines, because it allows for your mind to roam and as someone who values space, it’s hard not to indulge in that. As it becomes a habit for you to watch instead of doing, it becomes increasingly harder for you to step foot into the circle and join the dance. You know you’re missing out, but it’s also hard to shut off your own judgments against yourself.
I’d like to believe I’ve gotten better at participating in life, but once in a while, my walls get the best of me. And the more I tend to walk away from attending something, the higher the walls get. I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay to be scared, but that shouldn’t let me stop myself from doing things. It’s a work in progress.
Are you an old soul? What challenges do you face? Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!
Sol, M. (2017). 10 Universal Problems Old Souls Experience. Retrieved October 29, 2017.