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I feel that I'm cured (mostly)
#1
I joined this forum about 15 months ago when I was at crossroads in my life.  At 30 years old I was trying to enter into a new career.  I had my first crush in almost 10 years and of course it didnt work out.  I had all these strong emotions swell up in me at once,  feelings of failure, desperation, worthlessness, fear, anxiety, you name it.

So why am I before you today feeling much better, essentially 'cured' compared to where I was even just a few days ago?

I stopped letting the social standards of society be a barometer of my self worth.

Never had a girlfriend by 30?  Society says you are a pathetic loser.

Still dont have a career settled by 30?  Society says you are a pathetic loser.

And I believed that.  And I let it eat away at me like a terrible disease.

About a week ago I went on a drive with one of my sisters and told her about what I was feeling.  I knew she lacked any real level of empathy (confirmed by her asking me today if I was "over my hissy fit", basically making light of and belittling my anguish) but I needed to express my feelings to someone, even if they were indifferent to my suffering.  I told her that I feel everyone thinks of me as a loser because I have not accomplished some things at my age that many people do by their early 20s. 

 She then told me,  'do you really think everyone thinks of you as a loser?'

Those simple words changed everything for me.  But not in the way you may think.  It made me think about myself from my OWN perspective, and not from the perspective of others.  So I stopped viewing myself through the lens of others, and instead viewed myself for the first time, perhaps ever, as who I truly am.

I didnt see a bad person.  I didnt see someone who manipulates, steals, lies, cheats, or cons others.  I didnt see someone resentful, lazy, angry, or hateful.  I saw someone who devotes enormous amounts of time to caring for his bed-ridden father who is paralyzed from the neck down, who takes his 76 year old grand mother shopping whenever she calls, who drives his sister around town to take care of business because shes afraid to do it alone.  I saw someone who enjoys putting to ease those around him, who is praised as easy to talk to.  I saw someone who has never given up on anybody, who has never held a grudge even when most would say he was entitled to do so, who loves every man as equal, even those who are generally looked down on by society simply because of their economic or social status.  I saw someone who didnt throw others under the bus even when most would say he was entitled to do so.  

 For the first time in my life I allowed myself to see my positive qualities, instead of constantly dwelling on my shortcomings.

For most of my adult life I hated myself.  I was convinced there was something wrong with me.  My failure with women was a big reason for this.  I thought, "if women show no interest in me, I must truly be garbage."  I allowed myself to think like that because I was measuring my worth by how others viewed me.  I allowed the lack of interest shown in me by women to be judge, jury, and executioner of who I was as an individual.  

At first I thought I was ugly and that was the reason for lack of interest despite evidence to the contrary.  Then I thought I didnt have big enough of a job despite evidence to the contrary.  Then I thought I was a boring, uninteresting person despite evidence to the contrary.

The real reason as to why women have not shown interest in me?  I dont care.  They have their reasons, and thats fine.  Now its much more important for me to be happy with who I have become and where I am going as a person then it is being a person that attracts women. 

 A really big mistake I made was feeling I had alot in common with women, which thus made me even more attracted to them, which made their lack of attention to me even more devastating.  The weird thing is,  I never felt sexually attracted to any woman I ever had a crush on.  I observed them first, admired their qualities (fluency of speech, kindness, etc) then I wanted them as a friend, and in marriage our friendship would be unbreakable, meaning if either of us moved somewhere, the other had to follow.  I was always more interested in the super close friendship a relationship with a girl provided, rather then the sex.  Because I always took great joy in making people feel happy, and marriage seemed like the best place I could do that.  I simply loved the idea of marriage - two people working closely together to better eachother and build a friendship stronger then they ever possibly could with anyone else.

But it seems having things in common with women is actually quite a turn off for them.  Being sensitive, caring, and loving is viewed as weak and feminine or as a way to try and exploit them.  That hurts because this is simply who I am to anybody, not just women.  It really does hurt when what you feel is one of the strong points of your personality is considered a huge weakness to the gender you thought would appreciate it the most.  No, I am not the pushover nice guy stereotype that asks others to make all the decisions or finds it impossible to tell someone no because he is desperately trying to be on somebody's good side.  Im not a people pleaser.  But I do enjoy making people feel at ease and comfortable.  

Why didnt I do this sooner?  Well, throughout my life I simply didnt have anybody really love or care for me besides my parents.  At a certain point in life I feel most people understand that their parents/family have an 'inborn' affection and love for them because they are, well, family.  Around this time I feel most people have someone show up in their lives who show them the same love and respect to them that their parents did.  But because its coming from an 'outside' source you trust it more as truly genuine, and you begin to feel that you are someone deserving of love.  I simply never had that person show up in my life.  It could have been a girlfriend, close friend, or even a boss.  Really anyone could have been that person to me.  However people were simply indifferent to me.

Because I was starved of emotional support for so long I developed a distrust of anyone who did eventually compliment me.  I felt anyone who said I was handsome or a good person were simply saying such things to make me feel better, and they didnt truly mean it.  Thus my emotional starvation continued for countless years.

So yeah, its hard to love yourself when nobody else loves you.  The saying goes that 'you must first love yourself before you can love others'.   Its like the people who say 'failure leads to success' but they themselves have never failed before.  Its easy to just say 'love yourself' when others have loved you first.  But believe me, when you have never been loved, learning to love yourself can feel like an impossibility.

So thats my story.  Thanks for this website and the support
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#2
I gotta say, I'm impressed you managed to shift the lens. Congrats! Smile
I am known as a walrus, but at the same time, it's tea time, so naturally, a fiddle is really a shoe in disguise as a pear.
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