I Went On A Walk With A Stranger, And This Is What Happened

I Went On A Walk With A Stranger, And This Is What Happened

I promise it is not as weird as it sounds
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This past weekend, I went on a Freshman Retreat in Cape May. It was a weekend of reflection, new connections, and laughs. While the retreat as a whole was moving, one particular activity, a walk on the beach, impacted me greatly.

I’ve done dialogue walks in the past, where I have gone on a walk with someone who I don’t know too well. Some have been guided with questions, others with the only instructions being to allow each person to speak, and to actively listen.

I have always found the act of a dialogue walk to be comforting. When you go on a walk with someone, your body is moving, and for me, many times this act of motion translates into the words I share.

The fact that my body is in motion allows my emotions and thoughts to also move to a point where I feel more comfortable sharing what is on my mind.

When you are having a “normal” conversation, you can see the other person’s face and reactions to what you say. However, when walking, you are not directly facing whoever you are talking with, so there is less frequent eye contact. Less judgment is emitted and again, it is easier to say what I may not otherwise share.

The walk I took this weekend was no different, and had a particularly great impact because of my current circumstances. Being at college means constantly meeting new people and seeing new faces every day. It means forming friendships without knowing whether they are lasting ones or are simply ones of association.

In a new environment, it is natural to want to surround yourself with people, and while that aspect may be easy, the difficult part is figuring out if you are surrounding yourself with the right people. It is even more difficult to decipher when your friendships that may have started surface level can go deeper.

The dialogue walk allowed me to go past small talk and instantly form a deeper connection with someone.

However, this doesn’t just happen: forming that connection requires opening up. I went into the retreat with the intent to have an open heart, and this carried on into the dialogue walk, where I chose to be my true, authentic self.

I feel like a lot of the conversations I have at college are guarded. Everything is so new and you never know how people may react to the things you say.

I have always been an advocate of vulnerability, but putting this into practice is easier said than done.

On the walk, I let go of the need to keep up appearances and was honest. I took a risk, and I am grateful to say that it paid off- once I took that step to share something close to me, she instantly felt compelled to do the same. My partner had similar experiences as me. Finding that connection was inspiring.

The conversation that followed has stayed with me over the past few days. I hadn’t realized how private I had felt the past couple of months, how much I missed letting people see exactly who I am.

This does not mean I am not real with the people I encounter every day, just that there is a certain level of closeness I know I have yet to achieve with people.

I feel so much freer. Opening up with those around me may take time, but having such a positive experience with someone I didn’t know too well is encouraging, and I am going to continue to trust the process.

So, if you ever find yourself able to, take a walk with a stranger.

I promise it's not as weird as it sounds. And while on that walk, just be yourself. It's worth it.

To the stranger, now friend, I went on the walk with, thank you for listening, for being receptive to my thoughts, and for sharing in return. It is so appreciated.

Talk soon,

Sam

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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15 Things A Girl Should Master Before She's 20

When push comes to shove, you have to show people what you're made of.
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We all dream about what our lives will be like when we finally turn 20.

Once we turn the big 2-0, there are about 15 things that us girls should know how to do. If you want to be a successful, independent, badass woman, this list will definitely help you out.

So, let's get started. You should be able to do the following things:

1. Own up to your mistakes

We all have our faults, but when you know you messed up, own up to it.

2. Learn to receive constructive criticism positively

We're not perfect. If friends and family give their input, just listen. They're trying to help.

3. Have a bomb signature

Signing your name is a mundane task, but leaving your mark looks good. Plus, boldly signing your name on a receipt for something you probably shouldn't have bought will definitely feel better.

4. Be able to forgive

Holding on to grudges does nothing but fill you up with negativity and resentment. Forgive and let go. 9 times out of 10, holding that grudge is not worth losing your best friend.

5. Tell a guy off

Come on girls, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Tell him how you feel. Stop being so nice. You don't need that negativity in your life.

6. Stand up for yourself

I understand it is easier said than done, but when push comes to shove, you have to show people what you're made of. At this point, letting others walk over you is just dumb.

7. Put on winged eyeliner

Hopefully, all of us have moved on from putting eyeliner in our waterlines. Hopefully, we have moved on to bigger and better things.

8. Be able to cook at least one meal (well)

It doesn't have to gourmet, but at least be able to make something for yourself. Even it's just breakfast.

9. Write a professional email

This is such an important one. No one is going to be able to take you seriously if you still use emojis in your emails.

10. Have a killer handshake (no dainty princess crap)

Having a good handshake isn't just for guys; this one is for us, too! Your handshake is one of the first things people notice about you, so make it a good one.

11. Make yourself a cup of coffee

If you have a Keurig, don't worry; this one isn't very tricky at all!

12. Take care of your body

As we get older, our metabolisms slow down and our lives get busier. Instead of doing what's convenient and easy, really think about what you are putting into your body. Stay active. Your body will appreciate it.

13. Do your own laundry and iron

If you still don't know how to do this, we have a problem. This is an essential skill. Don't let you mom do it for you!

14. Take a good picture

We've all been there. Taking a pic for your friends and then having to do it again. By now, you should have this skill mastered, too. Plus, you have to do it for the mems, right??

15. Live life with a positive attitude

Life is short. Let go of the negativity. Be grateful for what you have in life. Live life with a smile on your face.

Alright girls, do you know how to do these 15 things? If not, it's time to learn. You got this!

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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It's Okay To Not Be Okay

Don't think that you have to be "on" 100% of the time, because that's very unlikely.

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A lot of people don't realize that it is okay to not be okay because they think that they have to be 100% 24/7, but that is unrealistic. You need to understand that everyone struggles and that you are not expected to be on top of your game every second of every day.

This doesn't mean that you need to go around telling everyone you're doing horribly when they ask you how you are doing, but don't let yourself believe the lie that it's not okay to not be okay.

I had a woman recently tell me that her faith in Jesus was questioned when they realized that she wasn't okay. She was so heartbroken because she knows where her faith lies, but that doesn't take away the hurt in her heart considering her situation. She knew that Jesus would and will see her through this situation, but it was going to hurt.

It's not okay for us to undermine others' worth when they're not okay.

If you're telling everyone that you're "great" 99.9% of the time then you're lying. I hate to say that, but we all struggle and nobody is exempt from it. Some may handle those days and moments better than others and that is great, but it's unlikely that those never struggle or have struggled a day in their lives.

I don't believe that this means we should relish in our angst, hurt, and disappointment, but that when we are hurting we shouldn't be made to feel less. We will have moments of weakness and while it's okay to not be okay it's important to seek someone we love and trust who will help point us to Jesus who will comfort us.

When you're hurting and you're not okay please seek Jesus. Find that person who holds you accountable and let them be there for you. Don't think you're not allowed to hurt, because it is okay, but don't let it consume you.

Jesus loves you and He will always comfort you, but you have to be willing. Seek Him and allow Him to hold you when you're not okay.

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