How do I stop caring what others think?

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    Dear Lily:

    “hopefully I am making progress”- I know you are making progress!

    “My boss called and said that I could probably come back to work in about two weeks”- how exciting, later in May then. I hope so.

    “I have also used this free time pretty o.k”- it is important to you to make an okay use of your time, so keep making an okay use of your time. Notice I didn’t suggest that you make a perfect or excellent use of your time: an okay use of your time is good enough.

    “I have worked on my routine”- keep doing that, like the above, it builds your confidence in yourself.

    I can almost taste your fish on a bed of nettles with a slice of your home made bread: delicious!

    An herb sketchbook reads like a good idea.

    “I am still in the habit of trying to please others”- be selective as to who you are trying to please and how, and see to it that pleasing others does not harm you. Pleasing others selectively and wisely is not a bad thing.

    About your previously critical and … well, unloving mother now “I love you” to her messages and phone calls,  following her therapy, you wrote: “I say it back but I always feel a little awkward and uneasy.. uneasy and overwhelmed. How to reply back? Should I now say also positive things about her back? Do I have to write ‘I love you’ when it feels somewhat unnatural to me?”

    My answer: don’t write or tell her that you love her (do not reciprocate her “I love you-s). Instead, write her in a message or tell her on the phone that you appreciate her good intent in telling you that she loves you, but (choose your words on the following):  you prefer that she doesn’t because it makes you feel uncomfortable. And it makes you uncomfortable to say loving words in return. You can tell her that you wish you didn’t feel this way, but you do, and there is nothing you can do about how you feel.

    “She is a loving person”- then she will respond to you empathetically, not wanting to make you feel uncomfortable.

    “Tomorrow is my LAD”-  what is LAD?

    Your goals for tomorrow are to get a prescription from a doctor (what kind of prescription, if you want to share?), and to clear out a drawer- yes, the “life admin day” you mentioned earlier (calling regarding the two online purchases can be part of life admin day, do you think?), prepare an advertisement for a new roommate with your other roommate who is not moving, and writing a thank you note to a former mentor (how kind!).

    Your friend does sound very busy, way too busy if she fell asleep while undressing!

    And we do live in the same latitude. I live in the US, not a long drive south of Canada. Lots of rain here too.




    Dear anita,

    how are you?

    The past week was mixed for me. Some days I  was able to follow a routine. At 7:00 am I would wake up, then do Yoga (only 10-30 minutes), then draw for a bit, prepare lunch/eat lunch, draw some more, then go for a walk and journal while outside, sitting on a bench. I thought that I had finally figured it out, but then there were some days again when I didn’t get much done.

    Today I also got up (a bit after 7:00 am), did Yoga for 20 minutes, cleaned the flat, showered, cooked lunch. Now in the afternoon I want to draw more. Maybe go for a walk again later. So far, it was not too bad, even though I still got distracted by the internet.

    Often I feel like I don’t get enough done, that I should be more productive. I feel sometimes so useless, worse now that I don’t work.

    At least I have improved a bit, did Yoga, journaled, drew regularly for a few days. I am now almost finished with an old project that I started years ago. So I am learning and getting better. I am trying to tell myself that it is o.K. and that it is good enough to make an o.K. use of my time.

    It could still be worse. But I really want to overcome getting easily distracted by the internet. My therapist and I talked about it repeatedly, but it is hard to stick to the things discussed. For example, I should not look at my phone in the morning.Today I even woke up before 7:00 am,but then looking at the phone made me postpone the start of the day. What a bad start! I do not want that to happen again… So some rules I want to keep, that I also discussed with my therapist:

    1) Not look at the phone in the morning

    2) No internet while eating (Magazines are still allowed)

    3) No internet before noon

    Maybe writing this down here will help. So far, I wasn’t doing so good. But I have to try again.

    By the way the life admin day (LAD was supposed to mean life admin day) went well. I did almost all the things on my list, except writing a thank you note for my mentor. Maybe I should set another date for that.

    About my mother: thinking about telling her that is pretty scary. I have not talked about it with her yet. My therapist said, that this would be a good occasion to practice telling people how I feel. But I also feel like my response to her was an o.K. solution. I thanked for her kind words, but didn’t say “I love you” in my message.

    Well, I am still running away from communicating openly. Why is it such a horror for me? Why do I have so much resistance? I have a very hard time telling others my uncomfortable feelings.

    Yet, I would prefer that others would communicate openly with me. It really seems that most people don’t do it.Even my tough colleague couldn’t tell my other colleague that she was not satisfied before talking to management.

    Maybe the world would be a better place, if people talked about their problems directly. But so far, I was not strong enough to do that too often.

    About my friend: she is indeed very busy. She wants to save money now and work full time, so she can work less next semester. At one hand I admire her hard work, on the other only hearing about it makes me feel stressed. Sometimes I get the feeling that she wants to do all at once. She works six days a week now, more than 40 hours per week I think. I worry a bit, hopefully she will take care of her health. But she knows best what she wants.

    I don’t know, if I should call her or reach out to her until she comes to me again (at the moment, I called about once a week)? One thing, I do not want to add to her stress, and on the other hand, I feel weird being always the one who calls first. And then I always get the feeling that I say the wrong things, maybe I am not supportive enough. To be honest, once it happened that she talked about herself and then I changed the subject to me, which I realized later and regretted. Maybe I am thinking way too much about all of this? Or maybe I am not a good friend? I have worried about this a lot lately. Hopefully I will be able to work again soon too, so I will have more distraction.

    I guess I am feeling lonely, but I should focus on the positive things. This week I even went to the river beach. It was a very nice day. I brought some potato salad I had made one day before, an apple and an egg. Then I sat down at the beach, ate my food and journaled for a while. And I watched the people around me. There were a lot of families, children climbing on a tree nearby and playing with the sand. Later I walked back on the shore and collected some river shells. It was a bit like a mini-holiday.

    It was a very nice and sunny day. Today it is raining again (but it’s good for the plants). I should be thankful to be safe and that I will be able to spend time drawing today.

    I hope you are well as well! You said you live close to Canada, somehow I imagined you living in California. Is it slowly becoming summer too where you live? Here I can hear the swallows now more often, so summer can’t be far.

    Have a nice day!



    Dear Lily:

    You demand perfection from yourself, set very rigid rules and expect perfect adherence to these rules, such as waking up at 7, and then being disappointed with yourself for waking up a bit after seven: “Today I also got up 9a bit after 7:00 am)”, and not getting distracted by the internet at all, and then being disappointed with yourself for getting distracted by the internet just a little: “I still got distracted by the internet”.

    “I am learning and getting better”- yes you are, and learn more to move away from setting rigid rules for yourself and expecting perfect adherence to the rules. For example, you can set a rule to wake up between 7 and 8, instead of rigidly at 7, and you can set a rule to get distracted by the internet an hour a day instead of not at all.

    What happened today is that you woke up before 7 am, “but then looking at the phone made me postpone the start of the day. What a bad start! I do not want that to happen again.. some rules I want to keep”-it  feels to you like a bad start but it’s not. At least, it doesn’t have to be a bad start if you tell yourself that it is okay to not adhere perfectly to rigid rules. Allow yourself to look at your phone for five or ten minutes in the morning. Don’t set rigid rules and you won’t have to adhere to rigid rules.

    Next I will quote your first two rules followed by my suggested adjustments, or examples of suggested adjustments:

    “1) Not look at the phone in the morning”- It is okay to look at the phone up to ten minutes in the morning.

    “2) No  internet while eating (Magazines are still allowed)”- It is okay to look at the internet when I am done eating for up to ten minutes.

    – good job on the LAD (Life Admin Day) front and regarding your communication with your mother, having “thanked for her kind words, but didn’t say ‘I love you'”- is a fine communication with her, polite and you didn’t betray yourself so to please her.

    “Well, I am still running away from communicating openly”- you are still being hard on yourself. Like I wrote above, you communicated fine with your mother. As long as you don’t betray yourself so to please another, you are doing well.

    Regarding your friend, “hopefully she will take care of her health”, and hopefully “she knows best what she wants”. What is for sure is that she is the one making the choices that she is making, that’s her freedom, to choose for herself. It is okay that you changed the subject to you on that phone call, nothing wrong with that. Conversations should not all be about her.

    You mentioned that you imagined I was living in California- well, I did live most of my adult life in Southern California. And then, I moved north. Have a nice afternoon yourself (it’s 4:29 pm where you are, I believe).



    Dear anita,

    thanks for your input. It is true that I can be very perfectionist. At the moment I have a lot of self doubt, feeling left behind in life. I get unhappy with myself, because I see others working so hard and then I don’t get anything done for several days. I want to grow up, take responsibility for my life and be mature. But I am working on improving, I should not forget that. The results can not come overnight.

    In the past year, I went to a helpful therapist and learned more about myself and understood myself better. I also worked more and became more financially stable. And I did not give up, when it was not easy at work with the new tasks and I was feeling overwhelmed. Now I am trying to work on my routine and getting a bit better at it. I am already working on it, so I should not beat myself up. Have more compassion with myself.

    The internet is a problem for me though. I get easily distracted by it, a habit that I have cultivated over years. The problem is, if I start with one hour, it will easily turn into five or more hours. So therefore I need some rules for it. Maybe I could limit the use of the websites that offer the main distraction for me. Not to visit them except in the evening, for one hour or so. Maybe that will work. Maybe that is less rigid.

    About my friend: you are right. She is smart enough to make her own decisions, she is also confident and a strong person. I need to let go. She seems to be doing o.K. She has her boyfriend, a job, her family and lots of friends and acquaintances. Maybe some distance can even be good.

    At the same time, I am also feeling a bit sad. “She does not need me”, this thought comes up. But I guess she is just very very  busy. At least I know that she is o.K.

    I think I should focus on working on myself, my studies, my routine and such. Maybe there will be a time, where I will not have so much time for these things. I am o.K.

    My afternoon on Sunday was nice by the way. I went out for a long walk. Suddenly it started to rain. There was hail and it was thundering. It was a bit scary, but I also felt alive. Then the sun came out while raining, it looked so beautiful.The world seemed as if it was newborn. There was steam coming from the ground and there was this earthy smell. I am glad to feel so connected to nature.

    Well, I hope you are well. Take care!




    Dear Lily:

    In your recent post you said all the right things to yourself, your thinking being excellent, leaving me with nothing to add. I like your description of the newborn world experience: a nice afternoon walk, rain starting, hail, thundering, feeling alive! Then the sun came out while it was still raining, stream from the ground, this earthy smell- connecting to nature really is a welcome break from overthinking. Overthinking and worrying and criticizing oneself and feeling guilty.. all these are like dying, while connecting to nature is being alive!



    Dear anita,

    thanks. Overall I am reasonable, but my extreme self doubt sometimes clouds my thinking.

    Yesterday I went to therapy and it was a bit of a difficult session for me. I was talking about my fears that my roommate could think that I am weird. Because there was a problem with the laundry machine and I overheard my roommates saying something like “who knows what weird things Lily did with the machine.” She said so laughingly, not maliciously. Also, I do not know the full context and overall my roommate is a very friendly and mature person. But my fears of being weird and of maybe being difficult and a bother got activated again.

    I started to worry about what weird things I do. Once I made a laundry detergent out of chestnuts. But I doubt that the chestnuts could have damaged the machine because they only get soaked in water and then the filtered water is poured into the washing machine. But I thought about everything, am I cooking too much? Are the clothes I wear too weird? Etc, etc.

    My therapist then said when talking about my family that under such circumstances it was difficult to learn about empathy. Then I asked her if she thinks that am lacking empathy? And she said yes. I was so shocked and even asked twice. She said I have a hard time understanding people.

    Well, I can see her point. Often when I feel insecure, I get so worried about being rejected or about what I could have done wrong, that I am not capable of seeing clearly. I often assume that people will think badly of me.

    I am still a little shocked and confused though. Later she asked again, that I seemed a bit shocked when she said that and about what I would consider the definition of empathy. At that moment, I was a bit unclear and couldn’t give a proper definition. But she also said that she believes that I can be capable of empathy, but often my view of people is clouded and sometimes I don’t understand their motives (if I understood correctly).

    Also she said that in my relationship with K none of us had much empathy for the other. In my case she believed that I was interested in being empathetic, but in his case maybe not. She explained that it could be also because of different cultural background, not because he is in any way a bad person (but in the past she also said that he behaved egoistical and probably wanted to control me). In the west it is more important to look inwards, while other cultures have different values.This also got me thinking again, because the memory of this relationship still stings and I still think of him at times and don’t understand everything that happened. But o.K. at least I learned something from that experience and want to handle things differently next time.

    Anyways, the empathy thing was so shocking, because I believed that I was empathetic. And I think that I am capable of feeling for others and listening to them. And I can often see different sides to the problem, I can see the good in people and I can also be empathetic when someone doesn’t behave perfectly. And I want the best for others and not to hurt them (at least that is my intention).

    But I guess as soon as I feel self doubt, I misunderstand a lot of things. I assume that people dislike me, that nobody can love me and that they will reject me.

    The therapy session was very emotional. At the end my therapist seemed like she almost started to cry and said that I am a wonderful person. She also said that she wanted to give me hope and that I had already made progress.

    My feelings about all that are confusing. A bit of sadness, disappointment in myself and doubts. A bit of wanting to ask my therapist more about it. A bit of thinking: but no, I AM empathetic. But I guess it is better to learn, self-reflect and understand myself better.

    In other news, my contract got paused for another month. As the company offers classes for grown ups, the reopening will likely be slow. It was disappointing, especially because they first said that I could possibly come back to work soon.

    They also sent only a quick Email, instead of calling. It was more formal than before. But that was probably my bad, because last time I sent back the signed pause-contract one month later, so yes, they probably felt that I did not take them seriously and that’s why. Yes, my bad. This time I sent it back more quickly. Sigh. It makes me feel uncomfortable.

    At the same time I felt a bit angry. They probably meant well when they told me that I can come back soon, but still…

    I have looked out for other jobs and found one I want to apply to. Today I want to start writing it. Who knows how long all of this will last. Who knows if they maybe will release me in the end. And the old job at the reception of the company is not perfectly suited for me: it is very stressful, with lots of people calling, people coming and asking questions, while you are still at the same time have to do other office work. I am not the best suited for contact with lots of people, answering lots of questions. Often I was very insecure. It was a good training and I have learned a lot, but it also was very stressful. It gives a lot of opportunity for making mistakes and worrying and feeling guilty.

    Well, maybe I will get the job back. There are positives too. The payment is well enough, the people that work there are decent and in the end of the day good people and I felt accepted. But it will not be a bad idea to look out for other options. It will make me feel better and more in control of my own life. Less dependent on the fate of the company.

    I will only look for jobs that either are paid well enough or give me an opportunity to learn new things.

    Also, I will visit my family for a week or two. Now I have the time and it will be a good thing to get away for a while and to have more human contact. I can also write applications and paint at my parents house. And I can go for walks to the forest and cook for my family. Maybe I will make a very fancy strawberry gateau or torte…

    There I will also have the opportunity to connect to nature. You are right, it will give me a break from overthinking. I need to integrate such activities that give me a deeper connection with myself into my everyday life. Dancing, nature walks, cooking and such things. Today I plan also to go for a walk. Are you also going on a walk today?


    Dear Lily:

    Yes, I do intend to take a walk today, it is part of my daily routine. Like you I love forests and I live in a forest. As a matter of fact I moved here because it is a forest.

    * Regarding your roommate’s comment: “who knows what weird things Lily did with the machine”, she may have been referring to the home made laundry detergent you prepared and used doing laundry. I never heard of it being done before, so even though I wouldn’t use the word weird in this context, I would say that it is unusual, simply because I never heard it being done before you mentioned it. I would think that it may harm the laundry and even the machine if the soap wasn’t produced and tested by a company that has been producing laundry soap for a long time. I’d say, if it is a communal laundry machine, it is socially responsible to use the machine responsibly, in the usual way it is designed to be used. If I was you, I would make a mental note of it, and before you initiate a similar act, stop and think before you follow through with it.

    Remember, Lily, that it is okay to make mistakes, no need to beat yourself up for it, simply make a mental note of it and correct in the future.

    One more thing on the topic of you worrying that someone is thinking that you are weird- so what if someone is thinking that you are weird- what is the harm to you if someone thinks that you are weird? I want you to not be afraid of thoughts, not your own and not someone else’s. Thoughts are not dangerous!

    I figure you don’t want to be treated badly by someone following that person thinking that you are weird, and you don’t want a potential employer not hiring you because he or she thinks that you are weird, but the fact that you were hired before and that you do live with roommates is clear indication that you are not.. excessively weird. Also, other people are weird too. We are all Weird at one time  or another. It’s not a problem, really, to be unusual or weird at times- it will be quite weird if someone is ..  never weird, or not weird for a whole day!

    * Regarding your therapist saying that you are not empathetic (“I asked her if she thinks that I am lacking empathy? And she said yes”). First thing that comes to my mind on this topic is that your therapist is not always right and she has bad days too, like everyone else…Sometimes she is .. weird too! The fact that “At the end my therapist seemed like she almost started to cry”, leads me to think that maybe she had a difficult day and her thinking may have been affected. Nonetheless I looked up Empathy in Wikipedia and it says there that “Empathy definitions encompass a broad range of emotional states, including caring for other people and having a desire to help them… Having empathy can include having the understanding that there are many factors that go into decision making and cognitive thought process.. Understanding this allows a person to have empathy for individuals who sometimes make illogical decisions”- I would say that you have a lot of empathy when it comes to what I just quoted, lots and lots. Like you wrote yourself: “I can also be empathetic when someone doesn’t behave perfectly. And I want the best for others and not to hurt them”.

    I  would say, you have too much empathy for others when it comes to understanding another person’s behavior, so much so that you tolerated offensive behavior and so, I would like you to have less empathy for others, and more, way more empathy for yourself!

    I think that your therapist had a bad day and her thinking was affected, too bad. I wish she performed better as your therapist on that day. (Empathy is a complex concept, and no  one is perfectly empathetic, so she is right about you not being empathetic at times, in one way or another, to this or that person.. but that’s true for everyone).

    * I hope you do find a new job or that your old job will be reinstated soon.





    Dear anita,

    how nice it must be to live in a forest! Hopefully some day I can also live closer to nature. At the moment I go for my walks on a small path by a brook and on a graveyard. There are also lots of trees and plants and it usually calm there. But today there were also a few people out, must be the weather.

    Regarding the laundry: I doubt that the detergent destroyed the machine. Firstly, there was already a problem with it before I moved in. Even though it was new, it was sometimes leaking. Secondly: on the internet it says that it not damaging and even less aggressive than normal detergent. I found a report from people using it for four years and they had no problems. The chestnuts get soaked in water overnight, then I use a filter to pour the water in. So no small pieces get in. Thirdly, I have not used this detergent in months (at least since January). I always forgot to soak the chestnuts in time, then I ended up using my normal detergent. So I only used it a number of times.

    However, I can understand that such experiments can seem weird to others. And that they could think that it is damaging. I am often doing things such as foraging herbs and mushrooms, using baking soda for cleaning and such things. It is probably best to reduce my efforts in the community rooms. If we fight over this, it would only cause me stress. Of course, I also do not want to destroy the community property with some experiment. So it will probably better to clean in a more common way and not overdo the cleaning efforts.

    So far, they have not said anything to me about the laundry. I only overheard a snippet of the conversation, when they were in the hallway next to my room. So I do not know anything about what happened, I also don’t know the context, so it shouldn’t be any of my business until they approach me.

    About thoughts: yes, I still worry way too much about other people’s thoughts or sometimes my own. I wish I can reach someday the point of not worrying about thoughts! And it is also o:k. to be weird or different. And actually I like doing these “weird” things, like foraging, wearing colorful clothes, listening to all kinds of music from around the world… And I want to do more of those things that interest me without shame (as long as they do no harm of course). I like those things, so I should embrace myself with my interests and feel proud of it.

    About my therapist: You are right, a therapist can also be wrong She is only human too. I am not sure if she is wrong or if I just misunderstood something though. the next time I see her, I will talk about that topic again and question her about what she meant.

    I also think that you and my therapist have different ways of thinking. She is using “positive psychology”. Her world view is very positive and she shows a lot of empathy for people. I am not sure if I am explaining this correctly. She seems very tolerant, has books from authors from different cultures in her room. But at the same time, she can also point out if somebody has behaved arrogantly towards me. Overall I respect her opinion and feel that she is able to help me. Most of the time I feel understood by her. She seems to really care.

    But one thing… sometimes the thought came up: I wonder if she ever experienced what it is like to be bullied or abused? I hope this doesn’t sound arrogant. Surely she will have her own hardships, but I don’t know, sometimes I wonder if she can really relate? Of course I don’t know anything about her life and it is more professional this way I think. I hope this doesn’t sound arrogant.

    Yesterday I told her about things that had irritated me during the past days. The paused contract, also the thing with my roommates. There was more I told her. The tap of the laundry broke recently. The landlords asked always to turn it back after washing. When I wanted to use it, it didn’t work, it couldn’t be closed anymore. I told my roommate about it, and she already knew. The other roommate had already told her. She said that I must have closed the tap too tightly, as she used the laundry machine after I used it. They did not accuse me or anything and even said that it could have happened to anyone. The tap is old and the janitor already did something to it before But still it bothered me a bit that it automatically was decided that I closed it too tightly. I have not done anything out of the ordinary to the tap, just used it.

    Then also my roommate seemed a bit too happy when I told that I will visit my parents for a week or more and she had already asked before if I will visit them soon. This worried me a bit if I was a bother.

    O.K., I will admit that worrying about such things is petty of me. While I told those things to my therapist, she made an angry face (at least I perceived it that way) and took notes. I guess that those things are why she thought I lacked empathy.

    I do not know if empathy is the right word. I can understand that my roommate is probably just happy to have more space for herself and that living closely can sometimes be difficult (like my therapist said).

    What I do wrong: I think about small things like this way too much. I often take things way too personally. Most likely others do not think so much about me. Maybe I could have more empathy for their situation. Maybe it is a bit self-centered of me to think that others worry so much about me.

    Maybe sometimes I have empathy, when somebody tells me about their life experience. And I have the strong wish to be there for and understand others.On other occasions I probably could have more empathy. For example the girl that ignored me. Maybe she just had a bad day and I should not take it personally.

    What I definitely should do less: trying to understand others motives by using my imagination. I sometimes have too much of it. If possible, I can ask them directly. Then I will be able to understand the situation better. Or if this is not possible, I should remind myself that I sometimes misinterpret situations and make a big problem out of nothing. Better then to somehow calm my thoughts down and distract myself.

    And like you said, sometimes people are just not empathetic. I should not ask perfection of myself.

    I will talk about this session with my therapist next time I see her, so I can understand better.

    Thank you for the time you took to read and respond. Sorry that it was so much today! I felt the urge to respond and clarify more.





    Dear Lily:

    “Regarding the laundry: I doubt that the detergent destroyed the machine”- I wasn’t aware from reading your previous post earlier that the laundry machine was destroyed! I was making a point in general, when using public/ communal property, ex., a laundry machine, a dish washer, a kitchen oven- to use these machines in the usual, accepted way. I bet the home made soap you prepared was fine and dandy, it’s just that .. like you said, it is not a good idea to experiment when it comes to using public/ communal property.

    “It is probably best to reduce my efforts in the community rooms”- I am not sure I understand what you mean by this.

    “I only overheard snippet.. don’t know the context”- it is wonderful that you don’t do what many others do (and I did it quite often) which is to make assumptions with no evidence and jump to conclusions. Your thinking is reasonable!

    I am glad to read that you “like doing these ‘weird’ things, like foraging, wearing colorful clothes.. I want to do more of those things that interest me without shame”!

    Regarding your therapist, you wrote: “next time I see her, I will.. question her about what she meant”- excellent, this is your reasonable thinking again. You are not making unchecked assumptions about what she meant. Instead you will check with her, you will gather evidence (the answer that she will give you).

    And: “Overall I respect her opinion and feel that she is able to help me. Most of the time I feel understood by her. She seems to really care”- all these things that you wrote her read true to me. Long ago, while communicating with you, I thought to myself that her good work with you is evident in your progress!

    “I wonder if she ever experienced what it is like to be bullied or abused?”- hardly anyone, if anyone, goes through life not experiencing being bullied or otherwise abused. You can ask her this question, it’s a fair question to ask one’s therapist, seems to me.

    You worrying about the tap of the laundry and about your therapist looking angry, these are very similar worries to worries you had in the past, probably no basis in reality to these worries. Like you wrote, you didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to the tap. It probably broke because of a lot of use over time. Regarding your therapist’s changing facial expression: you fear people being angry at you, so you were quick to perceive her expression as anger. She probably wasn’t, probably had a serious thought on her mind, that’s all.

    Regarding your roommate seeming to feel happy about you visiting your family- maybe she was, everyone likes to have alone time once in a while, even when it comes to people one likes very much!

    “I often take things way too personally.. a bit self-centered of me”-  when you think, for example, that a person is angry at you, and it is not true, then you don’t get to find out who the  person really is angry at, or if the person is angry at all. In other words, when you look at a person but keep seeing what you fear; you don’t get to see the person you are looking at.

    “trying to understand others’ motives.. I can ask them directly. Then I will be able to understand the situation better. Or if this is not possible, I should remind myself that I sometimes misinterpret situations and make a big problem  out of nothing. Better then to somehow calm my thoughts down and distract myself”- so very well said, I couldn’t have stated it better.

    You are welcome, Lily, hope you are having a good night!





    Dear anita,

    how are you? Now I am at my parents place. I did spend the last days mainly outdoors going for long walks with my mother or brother. It makes me feel a little bit calmer to be around people. Before, I was physically feeling the loneliness. But I do still feel lonely from time to time. Hopefully I can get back to work soon, so that my everyday life returns to a bit more normalcy.

    Regarding the previous post: the laundry was not destroyed, I probably used the wrong word or was a bit dramatic. I asked my roommate about it, it is all o.K. This is just not the best laundry machine I guess. Also, I took your words a bit too personally, I am sorry. It is prabably my biggest flaw. To always take things personally, to assume that others think badly of me, to feel guilty for everything. The fear of not being accepted or being disliked or blamed is immense!

    You quoted me: ““It is probably best to reduce my efforts in the community rooms”- I am not sure I understand what you mean by this. ”

    I just meant, better not go too crazy with the cleaning stuff. Better no experiments or aggressive cleanings. Better stick to the weekly plan and normal methods.

    When you said it’s good that I don’t make assumptions: I have to confess that I mainly repeated my therapists words, trying to remind myself. I myself still make assumptions, when overhearing  a snipped of a conversation or sometimes even just a laugh. The fear of “they are talking about me” or “they don’t like me” is very big and overwhelming.

    To cope, I am trying to fill my day with more useful tasks and I should also remind myself that I have a tendency t come to this kind of conclusions. I would like to become a person that is not judgemental and open minded and doesn’t make assumptions. Those things are very important values to me, but I am not there yet.

    Yes, I am looking forward to talking to my therapist again. Then I can ask again, to understand her better. For example, I could ask her about her (seemingly) angry facial expression. Then I could see if my impression was right or not (if she still remembers by then). Then I can understand things better.

    You are right, I am not seeing the people that I am talking to for who they are, when my fear of them being angry at me takes over. For good or bad. Hopefully I can overcome this sometime and just be me and let others be.





    Dear Lily:

    I am fine, thank you. I hope you continue to enjoy being outdoors, going for walks and that you return to work soon. I understand you taking things personally, it is a common human tendency. I still have to evaluate situations and figure out what input to take personally and what to not take personally. It is difficult to not take things personally when we have a self critic that is too.. active and negative (ex., “they are talking about me”, “they don’t like me”).

    “I would like to become a person that is not judgmental and open minded and doesn’t make assumptions. Those things are very important values to me”- you made significant progress in this regard to these values already, keep working at it, keep progressing, gently and patiently.

    I understand your explanation regarding reducing your effort in the community rooms and it makes sense to me. Asking your therapist about what you perceived to be her angry facial expressions is a good idea. But like you suggested, when you ask her, she may not be aware of what facial expressions she made so long ago. Better ask during a session, right then and there.

    “You are right, I am not seeing the people that I am talking to for who they are, when my fear  of them being angry at me takes over”- all of  us cannot see clearly when we are very fearful and very angry.

    Good to read from you, enjoy the rest of your visit.



    Dear Lily:

    I hope you are well, Lily. How are you???



    Dear anita,

    I just wanted to write to you and then I saw that you had posted yesterday. Thank you for asking, I am fine. And how are you doing?

    In June I visited my family, then I went back to my place. Later my mother came up north to the sea, so I went to meet her there. Sadly she has broken her leg while there. Because of that I am now at my parents place again. My father had planned to go to a work related seminar this week, so my mother asked me to come for help. Even though my father decided not to go, here I am.

    Today was a productive day and I am happy, because during the times I was at my place, I felt unproductive. This morning I went for a walk to the forest. It was such a beautiful morning. For a while I sat by a brook to write in my diary. Later I even saw a common kingfisher. Then, I saw a big stone in the middle of the river. I waded through the water to get there. Then I sat at the stone, letting my feet cool in the water. In moments like these, I feel the most alive and in tune with myself.

    Sometimes I think that I want to live at the countryside and even move back to the east again. The life in the city seems so stressful.

    After I came home, I cooked food for everyone. Then, I showed my brother how to clean the bathroom. I am happy that we get along so well and wish we could live closer together. Later I decided to clean the kitchen. And I was reminded that my mother is almost a hoarder. She keeps old wax from used candles or has a whole shelf of plastic bags… I was amused and poked a bit fun at her. The best thing was a box of old icecream sticks and toothpicks (used, I think). And I asked her: “What do you need that for?” She said she could use it to burn in a bonfire. I was laughing with her and she said when I asked about her things “You never know what you could use that for!”

    It feels good to get something done, but tommorrow I also want to get some drawings done…

    Yes, I was in a bit of a rut. At the moment I am also feeling a bit anxious. Lately different men approached me. But I did say no to all of them. But because of that, my loneliness became more clear to me and I was wishing to find a partner, yet unable to make a change. Also, I got some paranoid thoughts because of those men. And a second thing is that a woman from the last dormitory wrote to me. It increased my anxiety more. The fear that people think badly of me came back. I am so glad that I do not live there anymore. I am thankful for my current roommates, that accept me as I am.

    Hope you have a good Sunday!


    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Lily.

    Dear Lily:

    I was able to read just a bit of your post, glad you are okay, maybe better than okay. I am looking forward to read it thoroughly and reply to you tomorrow morning, in about 13 hours from now.



    Dear Lily:

    Good to read your update and your wonderful time in nature, in the forest, the river, these moments when you “feel the most alive and in tune” with yourself. Maybe living at the country side is something to consider, later on, if not currently.

    I hope your mother’s leg heals sooner than later. It is interesting to read about her hoarding of used candles was, plastic bags, ice cream sticks and toothpicks, used perhaps. She told you that you “never know what you could use that for!”. How did she break her leg, I wonder (?)

    The men who approached you and you said “no to all of them”- what did they specifically ask you, to which you answered no?


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