A date with a coworker felt like a bright spot in 2020 (and maybe it was)?

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    Dear Anita,

    Thank you yet again for your reply…

    Yes, I too fear the loneliness that comes from living in a large city. The isolation and compartmentalization that comes with a life there is scary. I lived near DC for a bit before taking a job in Appalachia, so at least I had the benefit of culture and whatnot there–even though I was a full-time grad student at the time. That was a part of the appeal of taking this job here; however, I believe the poor socioeconomics of this area and the pandemic meant that I never saw this as “home.” (Even though my counselor encouraged me to put down roots and perhaps make this my home.) I will locate a counselor when I get settled there and work to find activities that boost my social skills.

    And, no, I won’t stay here for her. The love interest, friendship, or whatever this was and is, it’s unattainable and unsustainable and detrimental in the long run. I did FaceTime her briefly this afternoon, and while she was excited for me, I could sense the friendship I desired had passed. While she knows that she can count on me, there is nothing there for anything more foundational. And that’s okay. The time we shared helped with the loneliness and isolation, and the relationship–whatever it was–provided me an outlet to be open and vulnerable–even if it was not reciprocated.

    Thank you for the two mindfulness points. Yes, I will work on holding onto them and practicing them. I did well with not overreacting to perceived rejection(s) with the coworker. Not so much in my own head and heart but I never verbalized them to her (other to say that I had hoped for more but understood why it could not be.) She mentioned a few times that she appreciated that I gave her space when many of her friends did not. However, I need to do better with accepting these perceived rejections and not hyper analyzing or fixating on them. The same with the inferiority/superiority mindset. As you said, these are likely due to my “very lonely childhood and life of social isolation at home.” I simply have to get a handle on this or at least learn to accept it and cope.

    I came across this quote by Jake Woodard on Instagram tonight: “Some of our deepest core beliefs were created because of the childhood trauma we experienced. The relationships that we manifest are often a reflection of our unresolved pain. By leaning into our wounds, with the other broken template that we carry.”


    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Ry.

    Dear Ryan:

    When you move to a big city, try perhaps (?) a taproom for socialization in the afternoons, 1-3 times a week- not a bar, mind you, but an outdoor sitting taproom that serves three drinks only: ciders, beer and wine, one that is open at 2 pm, or 4 pm. In moderation, responsibly, alcohol does wonders when it comes to socializing.

    Regarding the quote about core beliefs- our basic, deep rooted core beliefs are all formed in childhood. Some call  our childhood our Formative Years: our brains are formed there, including core beliefs about who we are and who other people are.




    Dear Ryan,

    although this relationship hasn’t worked out the way you hoped for, I think it’s actually not a bad thing that it happened, because as you say yourself, you could be open and vulnerable, without slipping into the old defense mechanisms. This shows you’ve grown and aren’t the same man who has 2 failed marriages behind him. I say this in response to these words of yours: “there remain the issues that have led me to be twice-divorced, where I have yet to have an intimate, long-term relationship, in my 45-years of life. I certainly have a lot of work to continue to do.”

    You don’t necessarily have so much work to do any more, neither you’re the same man you were before. Yes, there are still things to work on but you’re much more aware now and have the help needed. You’ll get there, for sure.

    “I also need to work on my self-worth after working much of the past 10-years on my self-esteem.”

    Actually, I think self-worth and self-esteem are one and the same, whereas self-confidence is a slightly more superficial thing, in that people may have self-confidence (due to their skills and accomplishments), but deep down, they may still feel unworthy. A typical example is an athlete who’s built his self-confidence around performance and winning. When they have an injury and cannot perform any more, they may become depressed because they based their worth on some outer thing – excellence in sports – and without it, they feel worthless.

    The sense of worth is at the core of our being, it’s something that should be there simply because we exist. In childhood, if the message we’ve received from our parents was that they don’t appreciate us that much, they’re not happy to have us, that we aren’t that important to them – that’s how our self-worth gets damaged.

    Based on my own experience, I believe that my mother criticizing me damaged my self-confidence, but her expressing that she didn’t want to have me (because she was afraid to have children, she felt incapable of being a mother) was what actually caused my lack of self-worth. When the child feels unwanted, this is how the wound happens. Interestingly, I wasn’t aware of my lack of self-worth until much later in life, I was only aware of my lack of self-confidence.

    Anyway, now that you know what to work on, it doesn’t necessarily need to take a long time to heal it. You may start valuing and appreciating yourself already now, not because your outer achievements, but just because you’re valuable and worthy. We all are. This is how the sense of inferiority/superiority gets resolved too. You lose the need to compare yourself with others, you focus on your own life and growth, without looking what others are doing.

    I wish you a happy new chapter in life, and keep us posted how you’re doing…

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by TeaK.

    How are you, Ryan?


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