July 10, 2013 at 7:33 pm #38372LeslieParticipant
I have a problem forming deep friendships and relationships because as soon as I feel like I have shown my weaknesses and flaws, I want to “run”. I do suffer from depression and anxiety, with my medication I can keep balanced, for the most part. My problem is, though, I put on a façade of being confident and have it all together. Once I have been “found out” that I am far from both those, I want to run, because I am damaged goods. I am in my early 50’s and NEVER had a best friend. I am too afraid of getting that close. If I do show flaws, I completely blame myself and think I am not liked and expect rejection, so… I run. I have tried to work on bettering myself, but it seems like every step forward, there are 2 steps back. I am not sure how to “fix” this and lead a happy life with close friends. I seem to sabotage relationships with both men and women, so I don’t have to be hurt. This has been a lifelong problem, so I know it’s going to be a process. Any suggestions on moving forward?July 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm #38374TeraParticipant
Hi Leslie. This is what I did and it helped me a great deal. It might not get you completely out of where you are at, but it might actually ease some of your concerns.
What I did was..
1. Make a list of everything wrong with me.
2. Look at each flaw 1 at a time.
3. Ask myself if anyone else had these same flaws and it turned out most humans including a few aliens have these same flaws
4. I took inventory of what I could actually change and what I couldn’t change I made peace with it.
5. I made a list of every positive quality about me.
Sometimes what you fear about yourself isn’t really as bad as you think once you drag it into the open. If you just keep it bottled instead of looking at it, you never really get a clear picture of it, and it lives on to scare you. Pay no attention the man behind the curtain.
Another thing for that voice in my head that probably says similar things to yours is doing, “The Work” by Byron Katie. It’s amazing how effective it is because sometime asking if it’s true will open a new dialogue.
Finally. Like you I work at making great friends all the time. In fact I have actually worked at it a lot this year. One thing that really helps is to put aside the need for friendship and just talk to people everywhere I go, and I mean everywhere I go. Practice practice practice…At the grocery store. At the gym, at the restaurant and wherever there are people. I am not trying to establish a deep connection nor am I fake with people, but just getting to know people and find out who they are.
Although this seems kind of shallow, you’re slowly letting go of fears of rejection while exposing your honest self more and more. Best of all, you don’t ever realize it!
You don’t have to do it all at once either. Just chip at bit by bit. Remember…crawl, walk, runJuly 11, 2013 at 12:34 am #38382KathyParticipant
Leslie, the things we think. I to am in my early 50’s and have lots of similar issues. I believe I’ll be the oldest person to ever grow up, and I’ll be happy with that. And Tera, yours was an amazing answer. I loved your list, thoughts, insights and suggestions. They were so on spot and helpful. I will absolutely take many of your suggestions and try. Thanks!July 11, 2013 at 7:22 am #38407MattParticipant
In addition to Tera’s thoughtful and pertinent words of wisdom, a few things came to heart as I read your words. I’m sorry that you feel damaged and isolated, I know how painful that can feel.
Sometimes when we create a veil or mask that we put on (“having it all together”) it drains our energy to maintain it. There are so many layers and conversions we have to do that the longer we stay engaged the more tired we feel. We are afraid that we are unlovable as we are, and so we try to create a version of our self that is lovable. This is flawed, because those of us who love others (I daresay most) find it far easier to love the crazy, chaotic, mess of a person than a veil. Said differently, we’re all messed up in one way or another, and our hearts (and yours of course) accept that as part of the learning process.
The truth is we are all born ignorant, and we all trip and fumble down the path as we attempt to find our tune. When you have the courage to own that, going deep with a person will no longer be as scary. Remember that they are the same as you, an imperfect, loving, hero or heroine with baggage and innovations.
One thing you may wish to consider is that sometimes we are self-critical. Our mind turns on us and begins to pick apart each little faux pas and misstep, and uses them like a whip on our tender skin. It becomes painful to endure, and we would rather be alone than be flogged by the critic inside when we try to connect. I’d like to speak to the critic for a moment, if you don’t mind.
Thank you for trying to care for Leslie, protecting her from the pain of the cold and unfeeling world around her long ago. You have been brave and strong to work so tirelessly to help her see what has been happening, and your service is appreciated by me and all who love like me. Its ok, safe and normal for you to let go, so Leslie can connect to more of the joy that is around her. While you protected her from the pain of shame and embarrassment, you’ve also been cutting off her happiness. If you let up a little, you’ll see just how beautiful Leslie is, and why its time for you to grow up into loving discernment. You are still important to her, and will always have a place inside, and now is a good time to relax and trust her. She’s ready and listening, you don’t need to be harsh to be heard. Thank you for listening, and I hope this finds you well.
MattJuly 11, 2013 at 9:42 am #38427TeraParticipant
Hi again Leslie,
This morning I had more time to think about your post and something specifically you touched on. You said that you are in your 50’s and never had a best friend. It almost sounds as if you are punishing yourself for not having achieved this. First off it’s never too late, and second it’s not something to feel down on yourself for even if you haven’t. As I reflect on my life, there are many things I feel I have missed out on, or couldn’t accomplish for which most other people seem to have so easily. That’s a recipe for depression if I ever heard of one.
If you look at yourself and think about what you have accomplished you’ll probably find that there are a lot of people who could only dream about doing what you can do. It may seem insignificant to you because it’s so mundane and familiar. I have a friend who never goes out except for work. When she comes home all she does is sits in a chair and knits. She laments that she doesn’t have much of a life, but when I see her work, I am in awe. She is so creative, and patiently churns out beautiful things while I am off fluttering about never really getting anything done. The truth is that I envy what she has made of herself and sometimes get down on myself for my impatience.
What I think it’s really about is I use my time developing my social skills whereas she uses hers to develop her artistry but it’s easy to forget that when all we see is what others have. So what I think I am saying is that we have all these silly social standards that govern what we are supposed to accomplish and when we are supposed to accomplish them. And when we don’t live up to them by a certain time or in a specific order, such as,” by the time I am 30 I should own a house, or have 2 kids, or my dream job etc…” we think we are failures. Imagine that!?
For that matter do we ever stop and think that there are too many of these standards to achieve them all? Even if we did, are they what we would really want or are they just established generic models of what we are supposed to want? By those standards I am a complete and total failure.