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Insecurity restraining interactions.
#1
I'm still trying to figure out where this comes from. I know there's a lot to do with how self-conscious I am, also - I don't like blaming it on this but maybe it's appropriate - an ounce of low self-esteem too... I do feel like there's something more to the mix, thought of anxiety but at this point it's already easy to deal with, even if it's in there, I don't think it would be what bothers me. 

It's funny because I'm very rational about people, seeing their shortcomings/weaknesses don't make me think less of them. But it's good to have total perspective of who you're dealing with, not just expecting the best out of everyone and ignoring any red flags. I know that we're all flawed after all, and if I have this in mind how come I'm still too freaked out to approach those who I find remotely interesting?! 

Actually, I think that what really bothers me is the outcome for such a stupid fear. I can't speak my mind properly, can't share knowledge that well, can't be witty or fun. Ok, let's face it, I come off as a pretty insignificant and mostly very boring person... and that's part of the fear, I think. I know I'm not that, at least not all the time, but I still get too scared that I'll be bothering everyone, not being interesting enough to keep the conversation going or making people answer me based on politeness alone (one of the reasons why I value honesty so much), I prefer someone being blunt than treating me the way they think it's right - even if they're bored as hell interacting with me. 

I like serious conversations, serious topics. I get intrigued by intelligent and confident (about speaking their minds) people, people that can elaborate on a subject and make me think of it - even when we don't agree on what's being said -, people that are serious too. I often have something in mind that I would want to talk about with them, usually want to pick their brains but a lot of factors get in the way and then I just can't take the first step...

...so, insecurity makes me intimidated and that ends up controlling my interactions and preventing me from getting into discussions I would really like to be in, with people I would like to know more about. I don't even know if this is an issue that can be solved since I'm mostly closed off and people would just think I have nothing to say or I'm not interested in talking further, I don't know.

I would like to know other's perspective on this, not on me especifically, but on feeling intimidated and... what to do to change this?
[Image: tumblr_nijo7fZHBz1qg20oho1_500.gif]
"Being young and dipped in folly, I fell in love with melancholy"
-Edgar A. Poe
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#2
Hiya Selene,

Well if you do actually want to change this, the first thing you need to jettison is this idea that "I don't even know if this is an issue that can be solved...". It just cuts the legs right out from under you, just think about how unnecessary it is in the context of the problem you identified. So give that thought a swift kick in the ass and out the door Toungue

I think you are right to look at self esteem as feeding into something like this. I mean what is self esteem made up of at it's core? A disposition and belief in your own competence to deal with the challenges of life coupled to a belief that your happiness is important and a worthy goal to be reached and maintained. There is little room in this for believing in and dwelling on some external or internal barriers in the way of that. You are not at the mercy of your fears of: being considered boring/closed off, having an inability to maintain conversational fluidity, being seen as humourless or even insignificant (that one hurts my soul to read btw Wink ). You are not a victim of these things, you are a conductor of that train. The more you believe these things live outside you and your control, the more you empower them to derail you (ok I'll stop with this stupid train metaphor now Toungue ).  

Now if you are thinking "Come on Skyless what are you on about, it's not that simple, there are very complex psychological and social issues at play here". I would say BS, and point you to thinking about why focusing on such peripheral things is a comfort and excuse not to grab the reigns and steer the change you want to make directly (I guess I'm on to horses now, appropriate, seeing as I'm on this apparent high horse right now haha Toungue ).

Now you said the line of thinking that is driving this feeling of intimidation stems from the following:
"...what really bothers me is the outcome for such a stupid fear. I can't speak my mind properly, can't share knowledge that well, can't be witty or fun. Ok, let's face it, I come off as a pretty insignificant and mostly very boring person".

Now, what I want to call attention for you is the tremendous amount of importance you are putting onto what somebody else "might" be thinking of you and how it feeds back onto the effects you list which again feed back onto this same fear -.- of these thoughts you have apparently telepathically implanted onto this person you are talking to Wink I didn't know you had such powers Selene Wink we should talk later about poker tournament possibilities Big Grin

Now consider how that interaction would go if you knew for a fact that entertaining the world is not your job or responsibility or an expectation you should be bringing to any conversation. Let alone the ball and chain of expectation that every conversation needs to be some kind of success Smile That speaking freely and openly and honestly might give whoever you are talking to a chance to tell you what they are actually thinking instead of you "knowing" how they see you before a word has left your mouth. That wit and fun comes from a series of set-ups and openings and opportunities that develop when two people are conversing and creating such things for each other, it's not some pre scripted show that is either brought there or not by you Smile That "boring" is one of the most subjective things out there; different to each person and even down to a time of day or mood for each person at a given time.

You don't strike me as a person with nothing to say by any means Selene, I think if you let yourself explore the limits of your openness in practice more often, you would be pleasantly surprised by the results Big Grin
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#3
I know that I'm not a victim of those feelings, the image I have of myself is very distorted. That makes it impossible for anyone else but me to work on those feelings, because I wouldn't care for outside approval, probably not even believe in anything good others could say about me. With that said, I also know that I work on myself a lot, I read a lot and I have a thirst for knowledge that I've seen in few people so far - so I mostly believe that I do have skills to maintain good interactions.

The problem is not exactly the image I pass on to others, or what I think they think, even though it's only natural for you to assume that since I didn't explained myself well enough in my OP. My insecurities stem from the distorted self image I just talked about, and I'm too harsh on judging myself. That paralyzes me a bit, makes me not being able to elaborate on things I feel like I should, prevents me from talking with people I find interesting... this is not because I feel like I should entertain the world or I should pass some sort of image - that would be just self-betrayal, I need to be honest with myself - it's mostly because I want a balance and I do look to earn people's respect, I know that's not a given.

Now, what you say about interactions is absolutely right, I guess it's more of a control-freak nature in me, the overthinking is overwhelming at times.
Thank you for that, you put things quite well and I actually enjoy the metaphors! haha But being open is harder than it looks, just writing this thread was a pain in the ass...
[Image: tumblr_nijo7fZHBz1qg20oho1_500.gif]
"Being young and dipped in folly, I fell in love with melancholy"
-Edgar A. Poe
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#4
Hello again Selene Big Grin

Hehe some... interesting, I'm going to call them "comments" going up on this forum today


I know it's not easy to be exceptionally open but you have to admit it feels a little nice right? Otherwise how do you ever touch the real things that flow under the surface.

Now you say the real problem is this "distorted self image" and not a desire to project one or a worry about the perceptions of that projection. Ok awesome Smile so let's try to look at it from a different lens to shake up that well worn normal view you might be used to.

Now this distorted self image I'm going to call it "Distortor the Warpy" (just cause why not Toungue ). Now try to think about why you feel the need to bring Distortor in on every conversation, I mean let's face it, he's kind of a jerk, always interrupting you, never letting you say what you want to say, always talking down to you making you feel worse than if he wasn't there. So what is actually making Distortor such a compulsory invite when you want to have a chat with someone?  

Now, you mentioned you want a balance and that earning people's respect is at least somewhat important to you. But is that also part of the reason you dragged Distortor with you for those chats, so he can see how wrong he is? If you didn't think about or concern yourself with earning anyone's respect, do you think Distortor would be relevant at all to show up or a healthy image or any self image for that matter? Do you think the conversation could stand on its own without his warpy influence or any self image being relevant? Do you think you could earn respect through your actions and your being without a single conscious thought running through your mind on its attainment? I think you could Big Grin

The other thing you mentioned is the "trying to control and overthinking" in interactions. I guess my question would be: what exactly point by point are you trying to control? As you answer that to yourself, think about how many of those answers is an open invite to Distortor to make his way into the conversation out of pure necessity or how many of the controls are things he explicitly asks for Toungue Do you think that by consciously letting go of some of that control need, you could reduce the need for any self image to make its way into your conversations in general?

You also mention that you work on yourself a lot, read in excess and have a thirst for knowledge now I want you to think about and be mindful of why you thought that was important to include. As pertinent background to your state of mind or even here some part of you is trying to ensure you get a level of respect Smile even if it's just from some random Internet nobody like me (My Distortor is called Steve....Shut up Steve! I'm not a nobody damit T.T snif. Toungue ). Hehe

I guess the whole central point I'm trying to make in all this rambling Toungue is if this distorted self image is so hard to control in its own right, have you thought about all the specific routes and ways this distorted self image actually manifests within conversations or their initiation and try to control that aspect instead as in the examples above.

I guess the way I have conversations I generally don't really think of myself or an image while I'm having them or how it would even be pertinent, so I guess that's the reason I went on this somewhat ridiculous Toungue thought ride to maybe show a bit of how that could work if not in the background self imagery then at least in practice during a conversation.

Some food for thought anyway I hope

Have a wonderful night Selene Smile
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#5
(12-27-2016, 04:20 PM)Skyless Wrote: Now, you mentioned you want a balance and that earning people's respect is at least somewhat important to you. But is that also part of the reason you dragged Distortor with you for those chats, so he can see how wrong he is? If you didn't think about or concern yourself with earning anyone's respect, do you think Distortor would be relevant at all to show up or a healthy image or any self image for that matter? Do you think the conversation could stand on its own without his warpy influence or any self image being relevant? Do you think you could earn respect through your actions and your being without a single conscious thought running through your mind on its attainment? I think you could Big Grin
 
If it's someone completely random, sure, I can see that happening. But not when it is someone that I already respect (that happens in a forum, when you get to stalk people a bit, hehe), I would want to be a little more open so that conversational fluidity is easier to achieve, for instance. I can't seem to be able to initiate contact either, that sucks, actually.
Of course I can earn people's respect through my actions, but I don't believe that being completely oblivious is more healthy, it's just the other side of the coin, self doubt is good in certain amounts because then you don't turn into an arrogant prick. 

Skyless Wrote:The other thing you mentioned is the "trying to control and overthinking" in interactions. I guess my question would be: what exactly point by point are you trying to control? As you answer that to yourself, think about how many of those answers is an open invite to Distortor to make his way into the conversation out of pure necessity or how many of the controls are things he explicitly asks for Toungue Do you think that by consciously letting go of some of that control need, you could reduce the need for any self image to make its way into your conversations in general?

It's not pure necessity, that's a fact. No, but it would balance my self-image to be more in touch with reality. The overthinking is harder to control. 

Skyless Wrote:You also mention that you work on yourself a lot, read in excess and have a thirst for knowledge now I want you to think about and be mindful of why you thought that was important to include. As pertinent background to your state of mind or even here some part of you is trying to ensure you get a level of respect Smile even if it's just from some random Internet nobody like me (My Distortor is called Steve....Shut up Steve! I'm not a nobody damit T.T snif. Toungue ). Hehe

It was important for me to say it because I wanted to illustrate the fact that I'm self-aware for the most part and actually pretty rational about who I am, the problem is the feels. Yes, it is contradictory. 

Skyless Wrote:I guess the whole central point I'm trying to make in all this rambling Toungue is if this distorted self image is so hard to control in its own right, have you thought about all the specific routes and ways this distorted self image actually manifests within conversations or their initiation and try to control that aspect instead as in the examples above.

I guess the way I have conversations I generally don't really think of myself or an image while I'm having them or how it would even be pertinent, so I guess that's the reason I went on this somewhat ridiculous Toungue thought ride to maybe show a bit of how that could work if not in the background self imagery then at least in practice during a conversation.

I'm trying to do so, yes, that's why I felt the need for the thread. Some outside perspective is needed when you can't be unbiased. You gave me things to think about, I appreciate that. 
I'm happy to know that you don't overthink the way you interact, but I can't really understand how that works since I never stopped myself from doing the opposite before.
[Image: tumblr_nijo7fZHBz1qg20oho1_500.gif]
"Being young and dipped in folly, I fell in love with melancholy"
-Edgar A. Poe
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#6
I'm very much the same when it comes to face to face conversation, I'll stumble over my words and sentences, I forget what I was going to say, and can't come up with even the simpelest words... I just get incoherent and feel like I do everything wrong at that point. It takes me a very long time before I get to the point where I can just converse thoughtlessly and fluently.

The only thing that truly helps is practice, and even with lots of it still not everything will go as I want it to, having people I trust around also helps to some extend.
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#7
"I'm trying to do so, yes, that's why I felt the need for the thread. Some outside perspective is needed when you can't be unbiased. You gave me things to think about, I appreciate that."

It makes me happy to know you got some things to ponder out of this discussion Smile I hope it's served to explore some of the things you wanted to when you set out on this issue, and hopefully a few you didn't expect. I certainly found it interesting, most people are not this open Wink Big Grin hehe

"I'm happy to know that you don't overthink the way you interact, but I can't really understand how that works since I never stopped myself from doing the opposite before."

Well if you want to understand that a little better try to keep that kind of mindset in mind as you look at the kinds of things I tried to highlight or the questions I would ask and why you think I would ask them (in context with that mindset). I do realize the humour in asking a person who overthinks to overanalyze but such is life haha Toungue

"Of course I can earn people's respect through my actions, but I don't believe that being completely oblivious is more healthy, it's just the other side of the coin, self doubt is good in certain amounts because then you don't turn into an arrogant prick."

I think if you challenge any idea that you hold lest it become a sacred cow Toungue it should probably be this one. Not because it's wrong or that it lacks internal consistency or logic but rather that it funnels you into a temperate subset of solutions. I know that you aren't just defending one extreme against the other and that you are looking for a balance, but this focus on this balance is limiting in the context and timing of where you currently are right now. You aren't in the middle of this spectrum between timid and prick, balancing on a knifes edge between the two. You are very much on one end of the spectrum and a constant focus on that balance where you are right now hangs a lot of weights on you, at a time when you are admittedly trying to push forward along that spectrum, against a great deal of other internal obstacles. I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you push through your barriers and challenge your limits like you never had before, I see the risk of you going to full arrogant asshole on the spectrum as pretty low. But I see the risk of the focus on tempering and balance at the point where you are now making it much more difficult to actually progress as fairly high. That's the last thing I guess I would get out there as an observation and opinion to consider I suppose.

I think you are a very mindful and self reflective person, which should give you a significant leg up in trying to solve this problem overall. I know you'll solve this through sheer force of will and experience and not luck but I'll wish you the best of luck anyway Big Grin

Thank you for the enjoyable discussion Selene Big Grin
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#8
^ Hoping that your openness remark is not you being sarcastic, it would mean that a least a little progress was achieved. 

I apologize for coming off rude there for a moment. I was merely pointing out that completely pushing those feelings aside would end up being as detrimental for social interactions as overthinking is. This wouldn't be used as an obstacle, just being pedantic... 
Anyway, you're completely right, I haven't been able to push myself enough to reach some middle ground, very unlikely that I'll just find myself in the other extreme. First balance and then stability, that's the goal. 

Very enjoyable indeed, thank you! 
(I'm currently trying to push down some barriers so luck is very welcome)
[Image: tumblr_nijo7fZHBz1qg20oho1_500.gif]
"Being young and dipped in folly, I fell in love with melancholy"
-Edgar A. Poe
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#9
(12-28-2016, 02:58 AM)MisterLonely Wrote: I'm very much the same when it comes to face to face conversation, I'll stumble over my words and sentences, I forget what I was going to say, and can't come up with even the simpelest words... I just get incoherent and feel like I do everything wrong at that point. It takes me a very long time before I get to the point where I can just converse thoughtlessly and fluently.

The only thing that truly helps is practice, and even with lots of it still not everything will go as I want it to, having people I trust around also helps to some extend.

Well, it's better to look awkward and uncomfortable than limited and slow. In real life I hardly ever speak, the most I can do is think of something witty to say and watch people trying to figure out what I meant, when I feel comfortable enough with the people around. At other situations I'm very very quiet, hardly ever comment on subjects and when someone blatantly asks me to share an opinion I either avoid it or just pretend I don't know what to say (hurts me to the core), and then people think I'm as dumb as a door - it'll be a problem when I'm forced to socialize in a professional environment, I already know.

Interactions will never go exactly like you want/plan them to because you also rely on the other person and that part is out of your control, but sometimes people's reaction on that awkwardness makes it even more interesting trying to talk to them. I hope you'll be able to feel less anxious, Mister.
[Image: tumblr_nijo7fZHBz1qg20oho1_500.gif]
"Being young and dipped in folly, I fell in love with melancholy"
-Edgar A. Poe
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#10
(12-28-2016, 09:57 PM)DarkSelene Wrote: ^ Hoping that your openness remark is not you being sarcastic, it would mean that a least a little progress was achieved. 

I apologize for coming off rude there for a moment. I was merely pointing out that completely pushing those feelings aside would end up being as detrimental for social interactions as overthinking is. This wouldn't be used as an obstacle, just being pedantic... 
Anyway, you're completely right, I haven't been able to push myself enough to reach some middle ground, very unlikely that I'll just find myself in the other extreme. First balance and then stability, that's the goal. 

Very enjoyable indeed, thank you! 
(I'm currently trying to push down some barriers so luck is very welcome)

No sarcasm at all Selene Smile more me just dating myself a bit in amusement at the happy contradiction of discussing a lack of openness with someone being so incredibly open Smile

No apology necessary, what part was rude? I assure you I don't own a fainting couch Toungue In fact, I was impressed that you defend your positions and states of mind when you feel they are being misrepresented, especially when someone is just trouncing around in your thoughts and problems. Also, by the fact that you let that part of yourself be open for an outside perspective, some people go through their whole lives without being able to do that, the "unspoiled echo chambers of right and virtue" lol. Wink

In terms of the spectrum, I suppose I am of the mind that sometimes you honestly have to be an unapologetic asshole to protect the people closest to you and yourself, to set clear barriers and eject harmful people from your life. To lay out exactly how you expect to be treated and accept nothing less no matter how that makes you look. The balances I am more concerned about are: when to fight and when to concede I am wrong, how to keep having to be hard out of situations it doesn't belong and out of the lives of the people I care about, the real and very tangible effects of my actions on others, especially when they are depending on me. The degree to which I should show empathy and give support or lead and push by example. When and how to reciprocate caring shown towards me and or how to recognize it and appreciate it when it's there. How to tell the difference between someone acting with agency or through circumstance. I suppose with that kind of focus is hard for me to find the mental energy or to think or worry excessively over every reaction or opinion someone can have to what I might have to say. I know this is somewhat tangential to our discussion but I don't think its entirely unrelated if we are discussing approaches Smile 

Thanks again for the great chat Selene, I'm quite confident you have everything you need to knock this problem down along with those walls Smile

Cheers Big Grin
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