February 5, 2014 at 7:16 pm #50393JessaParticipant
I have a barrier that’s getting in the way of so many of my relationships, especially making new friends. I can’t talk about myself. Especially with people I really care about, or like a lot and would like for them to appreciate me too. Something just breaks down inside me. Even when I have things I’d like to share in the moment- thoughts, opinions, likes/dislikes, whatever, I can’t get them out. I often get into conversations and relationships where the other person just soaks up my attention and doesn’t bother to pursue me or ask me about how things are going. But even when they do, I don’t share much. It’s painful because even though I’m an excellent listener, I know people won’t get to know me if I can’t express myself to them. I’ve always been a bit shy, and I’m a survivor of abuse. I know my hesitation is related to fear of rejection and my own self-worth. Sometimes I think of something to say, then put myself down for it before the words even have a chance to leave my mouth. “That’s dumb”, “Don’t disagree”, and “Nobody cares” are some common thoughts that stop me. I’m aware of how it happens and where it comes from. I just don’t know how to change it, even though I long so much to share and connect. I adore learning new things about people, and even though I have a hard time trusting, others often trust me easily. When they open up, I feel like I’m discovering a hidden gem, like the pearl inside and oyster. People’s souls are so valuable. I just want to show mine and have it valued too.February 5, 2014 at 10:14 pm #50411Annie PParticipant
Hi Jessa !
Thank you for sharing that. It reminds me so much of myself a year ago. I had been in emotionally abusive relationships for most of my life and had exactly the same problem opening up. I thought too much before I said things. I thought that, when I did say something, it had to be “just right” or or nobody would have any interest. After therapy and learning to be honest with myself about what I was feeling in every moment, I was able to gain self acceptance. Which led to confidence, which then led to communicating with people for ME and from MY heart – not out of the need for validation.
STAY IN THE MOMENT. Focus on what moves YOU in every moment and begin to share those things as they come., I used to “plan” my sentences carefully before I said them – I was anxious about the NEXT moment instead of feeling and expressing the present – in all its beautiful simplicity.
For example today, I went to breakfast with someone I used to feel intimidated by due to my lack of sophistication -( I didnt think I had anything worthy of his interest to share). But today, I really enjoyed MY experience. I was genuinely happy and thankful that I was there. So….here is what I simply said: “thank you so much for taking me here. I actually love breakfast, but rarely have the time to enjoy it.” “There is nothing like good coffee in the morning” …. “I was so impressed by your project -and was wondering – what was your biggest challenge?”….and so on.
Basically, it may sound boring to an outsider, but we had a good conversation because I said what was genuinely on my mind and didnt worry once about what I was going to say – I expressed what I was feeling in THAT moment – and it felt great. It felt real. That small step will open doors for deeper conversations when the time is right for you. But “BE YOURSELF” . “LOVE YOURSELF”. You have so much to give and you are just as worthy. Trust yourself. You are important. You are beautiful. Communicate from a thankful and generous heart full of wonder at the gifts you can receive and share in every moment.
I wish you all the best – you can do this! You deserve to feel free:)
AnnieFebruary 6, 2014 at 6:14 pm #50464JessaParticipant
Thanks for your reply, Annie! I really appreciate the example you shared, because that’s exactly the kind of thing I might keep to myself. I get caught up in worry over whether what I say will be amusing or interesting to the other person, and don’t just let myself be in the moment. Maybe I should spend more time focusing on what I enjoy and am grateful about in that person and the conversation, and that will make it easier. I guess it will just take some practice. When I do have moments like that though, I also sort of brush it off quickly and assume that whatever I said really had little value or impact for the other person. Any other ideas on how I can get out of my own way are appreciated!February 7, 2014 at 10:56 am #50508Annie PParticipant
What helped me the most is to pay attention and rediscover the things I really enjoyed without any influence from anyone else. From music, to books, to hobbies, to clothes, to taking walks, and even what I liked to eat and drink….I asked myself: “If noone was here right now to approve or disapprove, what are all the little things that make up my personality and happiness?” “What else would I likd to learn more about?”
The moment I stopped looking around me and started looking inside me, I began to value myself. And, with practice, that creates self self confidence. Before you know it, you will become very comfortable with just being yourself.
Mistakes and things you would like to work on are all a part of that too. What I came to finally realize was that I am not perfect, will never be perfect and dont really need to try. Noone else is – and, we never seem to look down on others for their mistakes – it almost makes them seem more beautiful. You, like me and most everyone else, will continue to do the BEST we can with what we know at the time. Experience is a great teacher – so embrace every experience, mistake and celebrate them all – no two people have the exact same gifts and challenges. You ARE special. And by truly embracing each moment and the way YOU feel the most COMFORTABLE in each moment is what truly touches others around you. Communicate from the inside out! (Not from the the outside influence in 😉 )
There is a great book you can get on line called: “Healing Relationships From the Inside Out”. The advice applies to us as individuals and explains alot about finding and embracing our own identities.
You will be just fine – dont beat yourself up when you fall – smile and thank God for another lesson.
I hope that helps a little more – Take care!
-AnnieFebruary 7, 2014 at 10:57 am #50509deeParticipant
Great advice from Annie. I grew up in an alcoholic home and learned early on to not complain, not ‘rock the boat’ and before I knew it, I became a caretaker and never wanted the focus to be on me….and then found myself wondering later in life why I felt so lost and unloved and worn out from overextending myself in every single relationship!
Another thing I’ve begun doing, during meditation, is some positive self-talk. I befriend myself, and wrap my arms around myself (literally!) and quietly give myself genuine and very real compliments. ‘You did so good on that project at work today,’ ‘I think you are a really good yoga teacher,’ ‘You are a very resilient woman, it’s no wonder your friends look up to you.’ I also sometimes practice loving my body, part by part, instead of focusing on a bulge here or a wrinkle there. After a few moments of this, I usually have tears streaming down my face but I truly believe it’s important to be your own BFF! If YOU love YOU, it becomes less important whether or not everyone else in the world does.