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!

 

References:

Sol, M. (2017). 10 Universal Problems Old Souls Experience. Retrieved October 29, 2017.

20 Comments

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  1. I see myself in every single point. So far I’ve always thought this is because I’m a HSP, but I guess I also have these “old soul tendencies. I’ve learnt to deal with most of them. But 6 and 7 will probably be always a struggle. Nice to know, there are other people who feel the same way. I just wish I would meet some of them for once … However, a lovely article! Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Caesy, thank you for reading! It’s definitely not wrong of you to think you have certain tendencies because you identify as an HSP. In fact, it’s amazing that you’re linking the two together, because I think having an old soul and sensitivity actually go hand in hand. =) It only makes sense. Wisdom comes from learning the roots of suffering, how it works, and ultimately how to cope with it. There’s always a certain degree of sensitivity and vulnerability we have to meet if we are to understand anything in life, and because old souls seem to understand so much, it’s not out of the question for old souls to be HSPs either. =) It’s an interesting point you bring up and definitely thought provoking! And I think it’s possible for you to meet people who feel similarly to you. It took me years to figure that out, but it rings true in my own experience. I think what helped me in the long run is not being afraid to continue working on myself all while embracing who I was. If you ever need to talk, I’m here! =)

  2. Thanks a bunch for the article. This is exactly how I’ve felt all my life. It’s difficult to explain to “normal” people these things. In order to become more social I took drama classes and they’ve helped. But when I go out to a bar or to a nightclub with my classmates I just find it ok the first few minutes but then I just wanna leave the place. Being with people is generally exhausting and I’d rather be on my own after a short while.

    • Hi Alejandro, thank you so much for reading! =) I’m glad you were able to relate to it. It’s great that you took the initiative to be brave and took drama classes! I took a couple of theatre classes myself back in high school and it helped me not take things so seriously. I liked seeing who I could become. =) And it’s totally okay if you don’t enjoy the bar or nightclub scenes. It doesn’t make you less of a person, or less normal for that matter. I think if you shift and put more of your energy in environments that do impact you for the better, like in drama clubs, you can meet and socialize with people who you can connect with more naturally. The thing about people is that we don’t all have to like the same things. If we did, we’d live in a very boring world. It’s great that you know what works and what doesn’t work for you! =)

  3. Prior to reading this article, I’d only known of one person to whom I can strongly relate. I’ve assumed that I am perfectly alone, and have been, since the day that my mentor’s ashes were cast in to the Charlestown breachway. Over time, I’ve become comfortable with being alone, as my questions about the world could only be answered internally. Now, I clearly see that I am not alone, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

    • Hi Samuel, thanks so much for reading! =) I’m so sorry to hear that your mentor passed away. It’s never easy losing someone who meant the world to us. And in terms of solitude, it’s always easier being comfortable with what we’re already familiar with. There’s this quote by Charles Bukowski and it goes like this: “I’ve had so many knives stuck into me, when they hand me a flower I can’t quite make out what it is. It takes time.” It’s okay to be unsure of how to feel about something when it’s so sudden and unexpected. =) Surprises like knowing we’re not the only ones in the world who are a certain way or who see or feel things a certain way is special. If you ever need to talk, I’m here.

  4. Omg girl you are writing my life story. Like everything hit the nail on the head for me. I’m at the point in my life where I’m starting to notice that every time I talk I’m so misunderstood. Or I have to explain myself more, provide facts, and proof it’s so frustrating because it seems like everyone else to can talk so easily and freely expect me. The part about people calling you weird that really was an explanation I needed. Because most of my life by a lot of people I’ve been called weird. So thank you, thank you for writing this….

    • Hi Kendra, thanks so much for reading! =) I think people often underestimate the power of being different and weird. And I’m sorry that people refer to it in such a derogatory manner towards you. But, know that you’re more than someone else’s definition. They only create it based on their own understanding, and it sounds like they didn’t take the time to get to know you, so it remains vague. Being an old soul takes guts, and I give you massive kudos for remaining true to yourself. I hope you have a great week!

  5. All I can say is wow and thank you!!! Reading this made me feel like so much is possible. Between your wonderful article and the replies I see now more than ever I’m not alone and there are others like me. A word of caution to any other who may be working on bettering themselves, don’t over do it I have gone from yo forgiving to easily cutting people out of my life and now have to work on that as well. Love the article, I found it very inspiring.

  6. Hi, reading this reminds me of the so many similar situations I go through everyday. Its like every point has a description of how my mind. I get caught in the web of thoughts, giving reasons and logic to myself, and getting nowhere in the end. Although I am 25, I feel I don’t belong to this current general way of life of a 25 YO girl. I can see through reasons behind people’s behaviors,and I easily let go and forgive people even if they have wronged me. I feel very lonely despite having people who love me, not sad but lonely. And I haven’t yet found anyone who could match with the path my thoughts take. Good to read this article. I would love to know more about the whys and hows of such thought patterns.

  7. I’ve always thought that the most talkative and social people are the old souls because they have been here before and they’ve learned how to be a part of system, how to interact with others. But I found myself in this article. I forgive too easily, cause I can imagine the reasons someone did something and therefore I’m not even angry. People find it difficult to understand me, I’ve never found anybody who would have the same interests and way of thinking…I thought that there’s something wrong with me that maybe I have some kind of autism that force me to think differently. I willingly started to visit a psychologist to see what it is. But there was nothing. I’m normal, just more sensitive. I’m glad that I found this article. Thank you!

  8. Wow… I can’t believe how accurately you were able to describe how I feel… thank you so much for putting it in words. Especially the web of thoughts, it makes saying a joke really hard because most people don’t automatically put two and two together. As well as hanging out, the fact that I’m uncomfortable in clubs is not necessarily the music or drinking it’s that fact that I can’t talk to anyone for longer than a couple minutes and that makes it very hard to make a connection.I don’t like hanging out in groups because I tend to bend to the person, sharing their thoughts, interests and ideas. That’s hard to do in a group. I’d much prefer to go out for coffee or sit together and read separately. I’m lonely too, although I have parents and friends who love me and try to understand the fact that they can’t fully get it upsets me.

  9. I very much enjoyed this article aswell as the initial one on how to tell you’re an old soul. It’s always strange to me sometimes having self realizations, I more so tend to steer clear of myself most likely due to my clinical depression and very low self esteem, and yet these 2 articles definitely reflect me. Sadly though I think the fact that my personality is this way also makes me more susceptible to my depression.

  10. Hi, I identify with this so much! I’m an INFJ with lower than normal latent inhibition, so notice everything and analyze/question everything is very much the norm for me (and often causes overload). I do enjoy explaining my thoughts to others, but I am constantly dismayed that no one has brought together multiple ideas they clearly know to come up with ways to fix problems or just with things to talk about.

  11. I loved this article it just reached me. I saw myself in every aspect of this article. I was told once I was a very old soul and that my journey in this life would be painful both physically and mentally. I always have found myself on the outside looking in. I overhear people talking and think they are on glue most times. Like right now sitting in the theater listening to someone talk is giving me a headache and I want to scream at him.

  12. A wonderful article, but I feel it’s about the oldies without a spouse as it does not cover the comforting and warming role a caring and long time life partner can play during one’s autumn years. I strongly feel a true companion can make the veterans feel much less lonely and a lot happier than otherwise.

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Written by Catherine Huang

Catherine Huang graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BA in English. She has a penchant for storytelling, ramen, and psychology. Catherine is a writer for Psych2Go and looks forward to reaching out to its growing community, hoping to encourage others to tap into self-examination and confront life's challenges head on with the most difficult questions.

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