Forum Replies Created
In the last paragraph of your last reply you asked me to “figure out what these quotes mean and what is helpful” for me to do next. (referring to the quotes you pasted in the reply from previous posts of yours and mine).
I know the movie. I haven’t watched it yet, but I know it’s soundtrack, which I really like. Now that you told me about how much the movie influenced you I will watch it. I have absolutely nothing against old movies and music. I actually prefer older music (and sometimes movies too). After I watch it I will write you what I think and what it made me feel.
During the last two weeks many things happened and I either didn’t have the time or I forgot to reply. But now I’m back.
“I want you to, take on your emotional learning journey as the leader: show me the way in this journey of yours. You figure out what these quotes mean and what is helpful for you to do next (not just to think, but to do).”
I would like to ask for a clarification. Do you want me to figure out what each of the quotes means in particular or all together as a whole?
Thank you for your reply, which was very clear and to the point, like always. You are a very wise and kind person. (the perfect combination)
Maybe you will say this is a stupid question, but I’m very serious about it: at my age (25) is it normal for me to feel bad for leaving my parents or it would rather be normal if I couldn’t wait to do it?
I’ve separated from my family a few times for longer periods (half a year and a year) and each time the first few days were hard and them I got used to my “new life” and I moved forward. I worked, I studied, I traveled and I managed by myself. But I was not able to fill that space with other things like a relationship or real friends. I was neither valued for my skills by others, like I had told you in previous posts, which altogether increase the number of reasons why I don’t have faith in the fact that things would be any different in the future.
My conclusion is similar to yours, but I would build some more onto it: I totally agree with your opinion, that I am afraid of separating from my childhood and entering adulthood, but I would say it’s mostly because I don’t feel I can compensate for the emptiness that will be left inside me. I feel like I lost faith in the world, in the way it works and in what it offers. I think that if I knew that I was able to find genuine people and if I knew I objectively represented value to the world, things would be much easier because I could see that I am leaving a “good place” (my home, my family), but I am going to another “good place” instead. And by “place” I don’t necessarily mean physical space. If I am not valued for who I am, for the way I think, behave and act, or for what I am good at, I really don’t know what else there is that I am missing and that I could be valued for.
Thank you for your patience. Many things have happened during the last two weeks and I didn’t feel like writing. But now I’m back.
I still have an archive screenshot of my earlier post, that I kept for revision. I looked over everything and here is my answer:
Things I wasn’t aware of before, but became aware as a result of our communication:
- I believe way too much in what movies tell us, and think accordingly.
- You told me that you thought I wasn’t losing myself or selling my soul if I open up myself more and try to do other things than the ones I liked so far. This helped me a lot. I remember that reading your reply made me feel so much better back then. You wrote me “We often enjoy what we are good at.” A person I respect a lot has also told me something similar recently. She said: “If you have a choice between what you like and what you’re good at, choose what you’re good at. When what you like is an occupation, you don’t like it anymore.” And I can say that I almost agree with this point of view, let’s say 86.47%, because there still are many people who love what they do, even if it’s their occupation.
- The bullies from school and the fact that I’ve never confronted them have had a great impact on the way I see myself and the way I react to things happening around me and with me.
- My parents haven’t managed to teach me to stand up for myself.
- Financial or professional success will not lead me to have a better experience of life.
Things I was aware of before, but got to be more aware as a result of our communication:
- I don’t love myself. I’ve always known this.
- I don’t trust myself/I don’t believe in myself.
- I really live too much in the past, and I am full of very strong regrets and “what if”s, which lead me nowhere.
- I need to be my own best friend, and act accordingly.
- I need to jump over unknown cracks in order to grow.
- I have been having the same problems over the past years, and this shows the fact that I still haven’t managed to solve them. I’m on the point of planning my moving to a different country and one of the first things I worry about is how others will like and accept me because I don’t see myself as being equal to others (meaning that I feel inferior). And deep down I feel that I would change myself only to be accepted, which I know is not ok.
And I think you won’t mind if I add something that I feel right now:
Last week a person I respected and loved passed away and he was not old. This, along with the possible changes that are about to take place in my life (moving away to a different country) have made me ask myself what really matters in life, and I think a lot about the fact that life is so short and things happen in the most unexpected moments and ways. We spend our precious time worrying and overthinking instead of enjoying the moments with our loved ones, and we inevitably always realize all this when it’s too late. Sometimes I feel extremely sad and I cry thinking about the future, thinking about the fact that one day I will lose my family, whom I love so much, (I’m terrified of the possibility that when I leave it will be the last time I see my grandmother, or even worse, my parents, as life shows us that we never know what tomorrow brings… I’m actually crying right now while writing this) and other times I feel optimistic about my future and I believe in myself. These states can alter in a matter of minutes.
I am aware of the fact that if things will go well it won’t be nearly as bad as I imagine because my life will move forward. I know that video chat exists, and it will enable me to stay in touch with everybody. I know that a relative of ours who has moved far away when he was young doesn’t regret his decision and we are always happy when we meet (once a year for a few days), I know that everybody has to life their own life and do what is best for them. I know that one day I will be the parent or grandparent of somebody which means that I have to build my own life, but all this is still very tough. I know I am not a weak person for having these feelings, even though it feels so, just a sensitive and emotional person, which I believe is ok, beautiful and natural.
I think I am not afraid of failing. I am afraid of change. I am actually afraid of advancing in life and moving on. Maybe this can be applied to my other problems too? I am afraid of believing in myself and becoming confident? I am afraid of hopping onto the train that I’ve been waiting for in the station because that would mean that I am never returning to that station? I feel that it’s all liked like in a chain. I’m afraid to leave the station because I am not sure that the next station will offer me something better, something that it’s worth leaving my actual status for. If this is indeed what lies behind my problems, what’s the solution? Is it as simple as “Just do it”? Ignoring all the pain involved and moving forward without looking back?
Life and living seem so very hard when you actually realize that no moment will ever repeat itself and we waste so much of our time.
Thank you for “listening” to me, Anita. It means a lot.
Anita, I apologise, but now that I think about it, I feel I exaggerated when I said that I felt the same kind of power. I replied too fast, without analyzing it. I didn’t intend to confuse you.
One situation I thought about was when I worked in a children’s playhouse and a child was too little to play in a particular game. When I told him that his father became angry and he started raising his voice at me, but I just told him that it’s not allowed and that’s it. He later came to appologise for his behaviour and thanked me for doing my job.
I felt proud for what I’d done, but it’s not really a big deal. It was rather about doing the right thing without being in any kind of danger, than standing up for myself, and it actually does not compare with my event with the bully. So the truth is that I haven’t had an experience equivalent to that one in which I won.
I am over 25 and even little kids who are the same kind of bullies are aggressive with me (and with others too) on the street. One time, around 5 years ago I was riding the bicycle and a child (I guess around 10 years old) wanted to hit me with a bag that he was holding. I was lucky for having had a fast reflex and bent down (thank God for the amazing way the human body behaves when in danger), otherwise I would have fallen off the bike and maybe even injured myself. I must have a look or a face that emits vulnerabilty to these people. Other times they just do that thing when they want to scare you by pretending they want to hit you with a fast move and, of course, I defend myself by reflex. Then they just laugh. What am I supposed to do? If I told them anything they would just beat me up. Last year I was walking with my parents in the center of the city and one boy was coming with the bicycle very fast facing us and when he was close he quickly turned in order to scare me and make us think he was going to hit me. I still can’t see any way out of these events.
So I don’t know how I can actually get into such a situation in which I can stand up for myself and win.
“You need an experience equivalent to asserting yourself with the bully who poured the drink on you years ago. You need to feel that kind of power, and you can’t feel it, and you can’t believe that you have that power, until you experience it in action.”
But I’ve already felt that kind of power, only very few times, maybe once or twice, when I felt I did the right thing and was able to stand up for something. But I think that it needs to become a pattern in order for a change to make place.
Same goes with people. I’ve found and met people who respected me and whom I felt good with, and who contacted me and wanted to meet me without me initiating it, but it’s still not a pattern. And all of them live in a different places, so I am not able to meet them regularly.
I believe what you said in the beginning, that change will happen through time if I don’t give up, and one day I will realize that I have changed. It’s just that I feel way behind others my age who haven’t had this social anxiety and social fear, and I’m often afraid that because of these I will never be able to fully reach the “normal” level. The truth is that I can do it with certain people, who respect me for who I am, but with others, with new people I still feel that I’m hiding myself and I’m afraid to show myself to them.
For example here is how I see things how: if I were at an event, let’s say a smaller party, and I saw a girl that I liked, I would have absolutely no idea what to say to her. I would just shake and I would not even be able to talk clearly. And even if we have a 5 minute conversation, she would leave me afterwards and go to other boys who are more “interesting and fun”.
I remember one time 4 years ago when I was at a student party and I saw a girl that I liked and as nobody knew me there, I decided to go against my fears and go dance with her. We did dance a little, then she told me she was going outside and will come back, and she never came back. I just kept looking for her like a child. And then I found out that afterwards she danced with 3 other guys all of whom she kissed while dancing. And, honestly, this is something I have never done and I don’t regard to as an achievement or anything like that, but I kept wondering why she had left me there and why she had kissed all other boys and not me.
This was my only experience of this kind, and as you can imagine, it didn’t encourage me to believe I was attractive.
I keep asking myself whether the problem is with me, or rather with me almost always having been in the wrong places with the wrong people.
Thank you for the fast reply, Anita.
Yes, I totally agree that I am trapped in a distorted thinking like the one you mentioned. But I have no idea how to get out of it. How do you change a thinking pattern when what you see around you doesn’t reflect the one that you want to believe?
I didn’t make myself clear enough. When I mentioned that “She didn’t see my invitations as dates because I didn’t behave that way with her” I actually meant to say that I didn’t want her to be my girlfriend, but a friend. I wrote the parentheses in case you were going to say that maybe she rejected me because she had thought I wanted a relationship.
If I had liked her that way I think I would have let her know.
And regarding the conversation, I read everywhere that people like talking about themselves, so that’s why I thought that people would like me more if I would be interested in them.
As I’ve said earlier, I don’t want to force anything. But I feel very lost, like I were left behind, and I have no idea where to begin.
I don’t know about my parents having been bullied, but I know that they have always been the kind of people who never hit back, no matter what. So, as you had said, they couldn’t teach me that.
The factors that you wrote that my troubles stem from and their results are all very well outlined. I couldn’t have written it better myself, and I really appreciate your detailed insight. It means a lot that I can feel that you care.
I am aware of the fact that money and success don’t necessarily bring happiness, but I still feel they would help me feel independent socially, because I wouldn’t be afraid of saying no or standing up for myself to people who don’t treat me right, as I would feel that I don’t need anything from them. But, while I am not a financially and professionally successful person, I do depend on them, because people are the ones who can offer me opportunities. I’ve looked back on chat that I’ve had 7 years ago with a friend of mine and it made me sad because I noticed that I told her my problems back them and they were exactly the same as now: I’ve always tried to impress people in order to be accepted (without any results), I haven’t had any confidence in myself, I had no idea how to approach girls, and I kept facing rejection.
I’m trying to be the friend I wish I had, but for others, not for myself. I’m trying to behave and talk to people the way I wish my best friend would do to me, but they don’t seem to need that from me. Everybody seems well off without me, and this doesn’t encourage me in my pursuit of finding new friends, because it all makes me feel like I’m forcing things, and a real friendship cannot be forced; it must work naturally. I recently tried becoming friends with a girl I’ve known for a long time. Our families are very good friends, and we are almost the same age. We’ve talked sometimes but we were never friends. I visited her a few times, I gave her a gift on her birthday and I invited her over to watch a movie or out in the city to just talk (I am sure she didn’t see my invitations as dates because I didn’t behave that way with her). I’ve never said anything stupid or offensive to her, and I actually always tried to have interesting conversations with her, and I even opened up to her about myself a few times, but not too much, because I tried to make the conversations about her, not about me. She never really wanted to visit or never initiated any meeting, and whenever she said that she was busy and she would call me the next day, she never did. After a while I heard that she temporarily moved to her parents’ home because she felt very lonely in her apartment and wanted to be around people. This came down as something very odd to me because I’ve always tried to be her friend and for her it seems like it nothing. So I eventually gave up on her too, because at that point I really began feeling like I was forcing it, which I didn’t want. We still talk when we see each other and we chat, but I’m always the first; if I don’t do it, she never does it either.
Being my own best friend is something that I agree with, and I consider it a major part of loving myself. Jumping over cracks, not being afraid of the unknown, trying again and again until I make it, these all sound great, they really do, but I still don’t understand what they imply practically.
I am not as thin or as weak as I used to be when I was little. My former girlfriend (2 years ago) actually said that she really liked the way I looked, which was a very pleasant surprise to me. And I still exercise frequently. But I think that all these things that happened early in my school years have stayed with me, and the added more recent experiences have made me lose faith in the world. The proved me that the way I see the world is not right, and this only leaves me clueless because I don’t know how to see the world the way it really is.
I’ve heard a lot of stories about people who have showed their talents and willingness and they were therefore noticed and appreciated, which lead them to advance, and I thought that would happen to me too. But no. From almost all my experiences (with only a few exceptions), people who were clearly less qualified, willing or caring got to advance while I stayed in the same place, watching them, unnoticed.
To be honest, I often feel the need to just hug somebody, apart from my parents. That’s a different kind of hug. And the thought that there isn’t anybody who would hug me (I’m not even imagining more) makes me feel very sad, because it only strengthens the feeling that I’m not wanted or needed. I’ve actually realized at some point these days that I forgot how it feels to be kissed or touched by a girl in a romantic way (something that so many people talk about being so simple and normal to get), and I almost cried. I think that deep down I can feel that I deserve it, and that’s why I feel this way, but if I look at things logically, the only conclusion that I get to is that it’s my fault, and I don’t deserve it, because if I did, I would have it.
In the last 2 paragraphs I just poured my heart out, and wrote what I feel at this moment. I don’t always feel this way, but this is something recurrent, so I think that these are the thoughts and feelings that lie deep inside me.
Thank you for your reply, Anita, and thank you for taking the time to help me. I’m not planning on giving up, even when I am in my lowest moments, because the only logical step is still to move forward, because it’s my only chance.
Yes, I told them recently while being very down and crying, about my fears, about my lack of self-confidence etc. and they were surprised and said that I shouldn’t feel less than others because I have no reason to. I also told them how I envy people and they said they believe I could do anything I want, much more than others, and that they think others are envious of me for how much I’ve accomplished in my life, and how good I am at things.
I didn’t tell them that I wished they had taught me to be tougher and to stand up for myself more, because I feel it would not help with anything. I cannot change any of the past now, so I don’t see where the point of it would be except for creating conflict, which I see no reason for.
They’ve had a lot of stress during the past with problems and people and now they are in a state where even little things can change their mood, and I’ve noticed that my father prefers to get rid of problems quickly instead of talking about them thoroughly and going to their roots. I don’t want to make it sound bad, they care about me and they try to help me whenever I have a problem, but I sometimes feel that it’s better if I don’t tell them certain things because it would do more harm than good, and doing harm is in nobody’s interest.
I’m aware of the fact that my parents are not perfect, of course. I may tend to bring out only their good side, but whenever something comes to my mind that is bad or less good I promise I will mention it.
I’ve been thinking more after re-reading what I wrote to you and I have to add something else: my parents have jobs that are valued by society. They are very nice and helpful people and many people like and respect them, but I think it’s very possible that all those people would not have the same respect for them if they didn’t have these jobs. So the fact that they are valued for the way they are and not for their achievements is actually not true. They are valued for who they are by close friends and family, just like I am.
And now my answer to your request for the to elaborate on “my family has always valued high jobs and they’ve always talked highly about people who had important positions”: I meant that if the subject of our dinner chat was a friend of theirs or a son/daughter of somebody we know, who has gotten a high status job they would have talked about them with words of praise, saying how smart and diligent they were for getting there, talking about how good a life they must have in the future, and honestly I think the same way. I respect people who have managed to find their way in life righteously and are happy, but it also makes me feel very sad and empty because I haven’t, and I feel like a failure for not having been able to achieve things that other people who are even younger than me have easily achieved. I consider myself smart, but whenever I hear about or see these people I feel stupid for not finding a way like they had. I feel inferior to them and this makes me talk to them like they were some kind of chosen ones who know the secrets of the world.
I am very aware of the fact that what I talk about is pure envy, because ever since I remember, I’ve always had in mind the image that I will become a successful person, I will find my way, I will move away to a great place, I will achieve high things, I will be an example for others, I will be respected and wanted (meaning that people will want to hang out with me), and the reality is that after I graduated from college none of these have become true and I became very disappointed, asking myself when or where I have made the mistakes that caused me to leave that path. And this resulted in me becoming full of sadness and envy when I hear about people my age or younger being successful and advancing. I know that being envious is not healthy, but it has become my natural reaction to these things, and I would very much like to get rid of it. I’m actually very happy for those who did it without cheating or doing anything illegal because they really deserve it, but then I remind myself that I deserve it too.
And secondly: No. My parents never talked highly about nor they respected people who achieved things illegally or immorally. This is how I was also raised, but it’s been happening more and more often that I regret being so moral and righteous. I know I shouldn’t, but it stops me from imposing myself and from standing up for myself in different situations. My parents have never raised their voice against somebody except for situations when their reasons were very strong. And I am just like that. I’ve never shouted at anybody, I’ve never faced or took revenge on anybody who had hurt me in any way, and I’ve made my first official complaint to a company against an employee who didn’t treat my right for the first time when I was 25, and I actually thought about it a lot before sending the e-mail (I was too afraid to afraid and anxious to call because I thought I would not be able to think clearly when I tell them my reasons). I regret the fact that I’m not more “manly” because it would help me in my every day life. So here it is, one bad side of my parents, not raising me to be a tougher person But I also need to add something else here: It’s not only my parents who raised me like that. In the country I live in customer service is not something that people care about much, so even if the driver of a bus is rude to the customer without any reason, the customer will be afraid to say anything, they will just bow their heads and stay silent because if they raise their voice, if they are not a really smart and tough person, the driver will win the conflict and will kick them out of the bus. The complaint I had made was against such a bus driver because he was very rude to me for telling him that he had made a mistake with my reservation, and I made the complaint only after I got off the bus at the destination because if I did it earlier he would have not taken me anywhere and the people from the company would have stuck with him. So growing up in a place where I didn’t feel entitled to be treated nicely by people was also a very strong factor which added up to my sensitiveness, my anxiety and my fears.
I think what you meant to ask me is to explain how the two contradict each other. You have made a good point by putting the two paragraphs next to each other as they are indeed opposed.
Honestly, I have no idea how to explain it, but I’ll just write down my thoughts hoping that they help find the issue.
In my family, I feel accepted and loved no matter what choices I make or how I spend my days. Of course, my family has always valued high jobs and they’ve always talked highly about people who had important positions, but I think this can be found in mostly every family. Even though it wasn’t a condition, I’ve been thinking that maybe indirectly all these things have made me want to be part of that category of people who are important and successful. In the outside world I’ve always felt that achievements mean so much more to people than the kind of person one is. You can be an amazing writer, but if you don’t become successful, you will never be regarded to as an amazing one. You will be perceived as a writer who wasn’t good enough to make it. And it’s not only the way other people perceive you, it’s also the way you perceive yourself.
I’ve realized the fact that so many people who are regarded to as “important” have actually been involved in illegal things, and have done some bad things in order to achieve their success, which is something that I don’t like and respect. I couldn’t imagine myself pushing others down or hurting them in any way purposefully in order to get what I want. But I kind of notice that this becomes a more and more acceptable trend that I can simply not take part in. Nowadays, it’s normal to get a job not because you are good at it, but because you know somebody, which is very sad.
So, I think that even though I believe I am a moral, smart person with many abilities and talents, I feel that I will not be valued based on these things by people, but rather based on what I’ve done, and how high I have climbed on the ladder of success and achievements. I feel that most people will not be interested in me (partners included) if I don’t have something to show. Therefore, I believe that I started viewing my own value based on my achievements because I want to feel accepted by the world, and that’s the way the world will accept me.
On the other hand, of course, I’m trying not to look at or judge other people this way, because I think it’s wrong, especially given the situation in the world and the way so many people reach success, but at the same time, I’m aware that this will not make me be perceived differently.
I’m the kind of person who usually doesn’t care about people’s opinion, but recently I’ve been more and more anxious and afraid about my future, including jobs, place to live, relationships, network, etc., and all these depend on many other people, not only on me. So, in other words, I feel that I depend on people, so I need to be accepted and respected by them in order to advance in life.
This is the best answer that I’ve managed to come up with. Again, if I contradict myself or talk nonsense, it’s because this is how I feel my mind actually is now: confused, filled, pressured, my thoughts contradicting each other, worried, and afraid.
First of all, Happy Easter!
And now my new reply:
Yes. The “all or nothing”/”black and white” thinking apply to me in many situations.
“That bitterness blinds you to positive experiences, causing you to minimize and even forget those positive experiences.” – Yes, I can recognize this happening to me a lot of times. Often, when something bad happens I forget about all the good. But I’m always trying to change this pattern and to appreciate everything I have and have had, which is actually a lot.
I’ve been often thinking that maybe the problem lies within me and I’m just trying to blame things on everybody and everything else, and I am only lazy and afraid, but if I dig deeper I still get to the conclusion that, of course, I have my own part of the problem, but not all of it. And even if I feel sometimes lazy and afraid, if I look back at my past years I have proven that I’m not. I have done things and have achieved goals that many other people would be afraid to pursue, and I’m proud of it.
But I’ve also noticed that I see myself through my achievements, meaning that I value myself by what I have done (or not), and not by who I am. Whenever I feel that I’ve had a productive day I feel I deserve happiness, but when I feel I haven’t done anything “useful” I immediately feel that I don’t. My self-worth comes from my achievements and not from my self. And thinking about it more has also made me realize that this is how I look at and value many other people, which I believe is wrong and I’m trying to change. I’ve also asked myself whether this comes form my parents, but I don’t think so. They always encouraged me to try to achieve high goals and get far in life, but it was never an obligation or a condition. I just have a constant feeling that I need to achieve very high things in order to be content with myself, to feel that I’ve done things right.
In the next reply I will continue with my story, with the high-school and college years.
The point you made is interesting indeed. And, although I don’t feel so, you may be right. I’ve noticed that I’ve always had a tendency to exaggerate about things, using words like “never” where I am not supposed to, especially during moments or periods when I’m really down.
And regarding how it feels to be loved, I think it’s in the little things. The simple fact that someone is interested about my well-being, the fact that someone wants to spend time with me, talk with me, do something together with me, these are things that make me feel respected and loved for who I am.
And what I actually feel is the lack of these things with peers. If I don’t call, they don’t call, if I don’t text, they don’t text for weeks. If someone texts me asking how I am, if they want to meet with me, or if they invite me somewhere, I am often surprised (in a good way) thinking “wow, someone wants to hang out with me”. But it happens rarely and seeing how often it happens with others makes me feel sad.
Writing all these makes me doubt what I had written before, and it makes me ask myself whether I am exaggerating with all this or not. What do you think? Do I actually have a great life and an average social life and I am just not able to see it? Am I not seeing the forest from the trees? Am I so preoccupied with comparing myself to others and chasing ideals that I am not able to notice and cherish what I have? I usually have these thoughts whenever I see somebody doing worse than me. Now I have them thinking about what I had written.
And if you remember, I wrote that I stopped writing my “story” when I got to the age of 14. After that, in high school and university I managed to meet some people that I got on well with and whom I felt respected by, but they are only a few and they all live in different parts of the world now, on different continents, far from me, so I am not able to meet them in person.
“any idea how you forgot such a significant experience as being loved?” – I wrote the text and I edited it afterwards. It seems like I forgot to add that part back because after I send you the reply I thought it contained this information too. Mistakes happen 🙂
And I don’t need time to think about your question: I don’t feel that the world outside my home is hostile and dangerous. I never have. I don’t feel that my only place is here with my family. As far as I remember, my parents have always encouraged me to make friends and to have experiences. I have had opportunities to travel the world for longer times and my parents have encouraged me to do it, and they also supported me financially. They’ve always tried to offer me the opportunities that they hadn’t had when they were my age and I am grateful to them for that. Now, on the other hand, every time I was on the point of doing something or going somewhere, of course, there was the usual “be careful”, “the dog might bite”, “you could be scammed”, etc., and sometimes they even told me that something I wanted to do was dangerous, but it didn’t affect me, as I still did it, because I felt I was right, and I was happy about my decision. I’ve lived for months in different parts of the world and I had no problems adapting. In some places that I liked I would have wanted to stay and move there, but it wasn’t legally possible or it didn’t work out. I’m still trying to find ways to do it, as I wrote in my first post that I deleted.
I’m sorry if I deviate from the subject or if I leave anything out, but as you can imagine, there’s a lot to think about and analyze and it’s very easy to lose my thoughts. Thank you for understanding.