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Forums / Depression / Help. I don’t know who I am supposed to be and feel lost

Topic: Help. I don’t know who I am supposed to be and feel lost

  1. therising
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    22 November 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    One of the things I've found handy about looking at life from a mind/body/soul perspective is it allows you to become 'the observer'. When I speak of a soulful sense of self, it's not intended to sound all that woo woo. It's more so about offering a unique perspective that can be helpful with both mental health challenges and everyday ones.

    I've found to have a 3rd aspect of self is to have not just an observer but also a constructive dictator and your own personal guide and mentor you take with you wherever you go. For example, someone could trigger a thought in you which leads you to a degree of anxiety. With a snowball effect in the making, you can observe your mind and body getting each other worked up as they play off each other. Things can be getting completely out of control as you mentally start to calculate how intensely you're feeling your own nervous system. Suddenly you might hear within yourself 'Calm down, BREATHE! Everything will be okay. Just stop thinking and focus on your breathing'.

    Whether you choose to see this sense of self as 'soulful' or you choose to see it as 'the higher consciousness aspect of the human brain', the choice is yours. It doesn't matter what you choose, as long as you practice listening to it. The reason I like the romantic version of 'soulful' is because while the other 2 aspects are truly amazing, they aren't all that romantic in my opinion. Our body is muscle, fat, organs etc, contained within a big bag of chemical reactions, with all things working together energetically. Our mind is an energetic processor/calculator, referencing existing programs and assessing fight and flight situations, amongst other things. Whether all that energy or activity is not active enough, basically active or even hyperactive, you could say this 3rd aspect of self helps manage the activity. It may dictate/manage with 'Stop thinking so much and focus more on what you're doing', 'Get off the couch. You need to be more active than this' or 'You need to really push yourself to develop, through experience', it's definitely a challenging aspect of self at times.

    There are times where I think 'Gee, I'm boring to a degree, in my opinion'. Actually, what suddenly comes to mind right now is 'Become more interesting, to yourself'. The amount of times I say 'Not much' to people who ask 'So, what have you been up to?' I've lost count of. Can we be bored with our self and not recognise it? Apparently :)

    It's time to get up to stuff!

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    243 posts
    22 November 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    Thanks again for your advice, it doesn’t sound woo woo to me at all. I think I get into the problem where I start feeling certain things and I focus too much on it and it exacerbates the actual feeling to over blow it out of proportion then I struggle to manage it so what you say I think I need to practice.

    I found myself really focusing on these loneliness feeling a lot. It started halfway through last year and over time it’s just gotten worse and worse, I sort of struggle to manage it. Each day for example, I will work but in the back of my head I’m questioning why I feel this way and how I can’t find a way out.

    It goes through stages where it’s frustration and anxiety followed by feelings of depression and then just nothingness and lack of hope for myself.

    On the outside looking in it looks like I have it all worked out with my career and stuff like this but this one area of my life I feel completely lacking in, the search for a proper connection.

    I don’t want to focus so intensely on it like has been mentioned to me on here but I’m struggling how like let it go to an extent as I feel uncomfortable when I try to “let it come to me”. I’ve been conditioned to think I have to go out and get it.

    I try to pick up my guitar for example and play to focus energy elsewhere but it pops back into my head. Now it just feels like a permanent fixture in my mind I can’t escape from.

    I will definitely work hard on what you said in terms of trying to manage this stuff, I hope there is a way out of this

    Thanks again I appreciate it all

    Daniel

  3. therising
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    23 November 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    Would you say you have multiple challenges that feel like they're all rolled into one? Maybe it all comes back to 'Who am I?'. What do you think?

    I can relate to times where everything feels like it's rolled into one. I can have dozens of thoughts and opinions about what's 'wrong' with me, while trying to work out what's not right or clicking into place. The problem with that question 'What's wrong with me?' is it can trigger me to compile a list. It can become a depressing list, swinging me into a terrible mindset at times. Being sensitive to what's depressing, I have to manage working on coming out of such a state, otherwise I could easily stay in it long term. I've vowed never to return to long term depression if I can help it. Serious hard work at times, managing to not go back there. When you're sensitive to what's depressing, while this degree of sensitivity can help reveal a lot, it can also be deeply deeply challenging.

    The thing about a depressing list is while each challenge may actually be an individual or separate one, looking at how they all interact with each other or play off each other is also significant. For example, I could say 'I'm boring at times, I lack a healthy level of self-esteem under certain circumstances and I'm lonely and sometimes depressed'. With this list, I could instantly sum myself up, reaching the wrong conclusion. 1+1 has to=4, right? Gradually working myself out...

    • Am I bored with myself at times? Where is my interesting sense of self? Why does she feel non existent or virtually deceased at times? How can I resurrect her? What do I need to do? Do I need to become more fascinated with myself, becoming more invested in finding fascinating stuff? Will this lead me to have more fascinating conversations with others? Is this an opportunity for self development?
    • Why do I have low self-esteem under certain circumstances? What is 'self-esteem' anyway? What does it mean? Where do I get it from? Was I never actually given skills in developing greater self-esteem? 'The Six Pillars of Self-esteem', by Nathaniel Branden is real eye opener, a brilliant book
    • What is loneliness? How is being alone constructive? What am I meant to be doing while I'm in my own time? Am I meant to be developing on my own before sharing myself with another?
    • Am I naturally depressed because I have the ability to feel the depressing nature of my challenges or am I clinically/chemically depressed?

    Each is a puzzle piece of an overall picture.

    2 people found this helpful
  4. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    243 posts
    23 November 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising


    I think you have probably hit the nail on the head that it feels like there all rolled into one and comes back to being unsure of myself and who I am and how to act.


    I think I’m not great at articulating it properly so forgive the confusion but I think if I had to try break it down it would be like this


    -Feeling an intense loneliness and lack of hope in regards to finding a partner as I seem to be faltering continuously

    -As a result of the above I feel worthless and pathetic in who I am

    -Confused as to why I can’t seem to relax socially and be comfortable with not be an out and out extrovert to the point where I feel incredible pressure from things around me to try and force it

    -An intense sense of self consciousness socially and fear of judgement from which I believe to be more quiet, unassuming and more of a slow burn is fundamentally unattractive

    -Frustration and anger at myself for continuos self questioning because of things like social media, amount of friends I have or not have, relationship status etc


    All of the above leads me to feel deeply depressed and I have moved into a stage of feeling complete hopelessness and nothingness almost to a point where I can’t even figure it out and it just suffocated me.


    Overall I feel like I am a weak person because I can’t seem to get a grip of this and I don’t even know where to start because every move I make I question myself so practically I’m struggling.

  5. therising
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    24 November 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    Do you feel a need to look for guidance, from someone who you can see face to face who has the ability to support you and guide you through how you're feeling and thinking? Do you think that might make some difference in the way of making significant progress?

    It took me a good few decades or so to realise unless you're on the right path throughout the whole of life, through either sheer fluke/good fortune or a solid sense of direction, not a lot of people really show you how to navigate your way through the detours, the rough terrain and all that stuff. A lot of the time you have to look for these type of people, guides. They're people who can often relate through experience or people who are educated in understanding how we tick on a number of levels.

    If I was to show you my home library and ask you which shelf (or should that be shelves) you think reflects my years in depression, it wouldn't be hard to pick. The second you spot all the 'self help' books, you'd know :) I was always looking for some form of guidance. I was so lost. If I could rephrase 'self help' books to 'Can you relate to what I'm saying' books, from the author's perspective, there weren't a lot of books I could relate to on a seriously mind altering level. They may have altered my mind/perception a little but not enough to make a real difference. It was after having come out of depression that I discovered really mind altering stuff, offering an outside the square perspective. One of my all time favourites is 'Becoming Supernatural' by Joe Dispenza. He takes mind/body/spirit and approaches it from the angle of neuroplasticity/epigenetics/quantum physics. Sounds like a mouthful but it's a fairly easy read, written by a brilliant man. I have all his books. He's an incredibly insightful author.

    Every significant form of guidance becomes a stepping stone. When the question in life is 'What is my next step and how do I take it?', unless we suddenly come to know, guidance outside of our self becomes key. Guidance within our self, based on a lot of destructive or negative mental programs (belief systems) can simply get in the way of taking the next best step. Deleting such programs is also key. I believe we carry a set of keys/tools through life.

    One mental program I managed to delete, 'I am weak'. Installed in its place, 'I am lost'. The truth is we can be strong people with perceived weaknesses while we are lost. In finding direction, we can be reminded of our strengths :)

    2 people found this helpful
  6. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    243 posts
    24 November 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I think you bring up a another good point and I have got a psychologist I see but it is quite space out because of booking availability which helps clear the fog in my mind a bit but maybe not guide me.

    I was extremely anxious posting on this forum for example but I don’t regret it at all because it’s definitely had a positive impact and it’s comforting to talk to others who have their own experiences that I can gain advice from.

    I am lucky to have had parents who have guided me on a good path in terms of career, morals and how I should conduct myself and basically having the basics in order.

    Where I find I’m struggling is with the areas I’m having a battle with (social acceptance, finding a partner, finding who I am and being comfortable) I try to reach out to friends or something and it’s almost I’m a victim of looking like I have my stuff together and I’m sort of met with advice like “you’ve got everything you need, just be yourself”.

    I know I most things in order and I’m grateful for all that, but it’s a deep sense of self as you’ve described that I’ve always struggled with.

    I even feel bad or ashamed talking about it with people or on a forum like this where there are people who have endured far worse than myself in life and I have a big guilt for the way I feel. If you could peak inside my head and thoughts the common feeling is “what’s wrong with you, you have xyz but you feel like this and its pathetic”.

    I have often re-read your posts and am trying hard to take a lot of the advice you’ve provided in particular and I apologise if I have been an annoyance over the period we have chatted on here, I do greatly appreciate your patience and time.

    It’s really not understanding why I am like this that is one of the big struggles and I know deep down there’s something there in me that I can unlock but I feel like I lack courage and strength to bring it out, particularly socially.

    Was wondering also, you have mentioned you are more a shy type, in situations where you might have been social anxious in the past or afraid to bring yourself out how did you start to action this better?

    I almost do it in a way where I go to these birthdays or something to throw myself out there but I end up feeling depressed after because I feel like a failure for not engaging people or if I’m more quiet at these things, just feels like I’m failing at it.

    sorry again for the all over the place post

    Daniel

  7. therising
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    25 November 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    I believe we should never have to apologise for a significant challenge we struggle with just because it appears to be less important than someone else's challenge. To grade the pain or struggle of another as being 'less than', in our opinion, is technically degrading. Sufferance is sufferance no matter how you look at it. Sufferance is felt under a variety of circumstances.

    Daniel, in no way do I find your posts annoying, if anything I feel so frustrated for you that you can't quite put your finger on what that key is that will make the difference to you. I wish I could offer you that moment where you can say with absolute astonishment 'Oh my god, that's it! That's the reason for exactly why I think and feel the way I do'. Often, they're my favourite moments in life, where I'm left shocked by some sudden revelation which explains a certain mindset I've carried for years. I like to see my age as my stage in a way. It's like with yourself, you'd be at stage 25 to 26. 'What lessons are to be learned at this stage?' becomes the question. There's always something to be learned in life, at every stage. While life would be easier without challenges and lessons, it would soon become boring if there was nothing left to learn, no growth to feel.

    'You've got everything you need, just be yourself' may appear as common sense. I like to look at common sense from a different perspective. In my opinion, common sense is not so much about what seems logical, it's more about our common senses. The question could be 'How do I trigger a common natural sense, that others have switched on in themselves? It's there in me but it's not currently active'. Hope that makes sense. Most of us had a social common sense naturally switched on when we were little. We were naturally social little creatures who didn't put much thought into caring about how we looked, spoke or behaved. So, you know you have this in you. could be a matter of 'What switched it off?' There can be thousands of 'switch off' moments in life without us realising. Some can be subtle. You can mention something that naturally means the world to you and be met with an eye roll of judgement. When you feel the impact of that eye roll, it can switch you off. Over time, you can be conditioned out of being yourself, in favour of becoming careful. 'Be careful' becomes the internal dialogue. 'Don't say too much. Don't put yourself out there. Be careful'. Eventually, you become expert at being careful, guarded.

    2 people found this helpful
  8. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    243 posts
    25 November 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    If I really think about it what causes my moments of deep depression and the loss of enjoyment of life I am experiencing and this feeling of being lost in myself I think it all ends up coming back to this loneliness I feel, then I feel like all this work I'm trying to put in doesn't matter because I fundamentally feel alone.

    For example, I like going for walks but this feels like it has become a chore because I spend the whole time thinking things like "I'm a loner because I do everything on my own, no one wants to see me". I will see couples walking together or even just friends and it makes it worse. I lack the motivation to do these things now because I feel ashamed being seen on my own, it reinforces that I am a loner.

    I believe I have had this since I was a kid/teenager as I never felt I fit in whilst from the outside it looks like I have a lot of friends, it's an internal feeling that I am not actually valued in friends circles. I have been trying to go out and expose myself to these situations as much as I can but I do not really get invited anywhere organise and I am not strong enough to go places on my own.

    I know it's a silly thing to be depressed about, the lack of finding a partner, but there's a huge pressure I feel to find someone because of family events (sisters wedding) coming up and having to field questions and because all my closest friends have partners and I have just been left in the lurch a bit.

    Another factor to it is that I have never in my life had any female express that they like me or are interested beyond a friend or have reciprocated when I have shown an interest. it is a demoralising feeling particularly when you see everyone around finding people, I'm left thinking gee I must be bad. I find myself now actually failing to connect with people in general because I get stuck in my head.

    I struggle to block the loneliness out of my mind and try re-phrase it or even just relax and let things run their course. Practically I am unsure how to navigate new environments or release myself from holding myself back and let who I think I know I am come out and just be comfortable for once in my own skin. With he dating thing I have exhausted so many options I am just beaten down.

    Everyday is like a tennis match in my head, one side saying just let things come to you and the other constantly reminding me of how lonely I feel and often by the end of the day the lonely side wins out I am devoid of any peace of mind.

  9. Hanna3
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    26 November 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    I'm wondering do you feel angry at the women who aren't attracted to you and pay attention to you? Deep down are you annoyed that they pay attention to these other men?

    I think you are envious of the alpha men who attract women more easily? You want to be more like them?

    If you have these feelings I think you would be very wise to see a counsellor/psychologist and talk through these feelings.

    My worry is that if these feelings aren't attended to, they may worsen. Feelings of rejection can morph into anger. This is worrying.

    Please do get some support from a qualified person. OK?

  10. Hanna3
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    3640 posts
    26 November 2021 in reply to Hanna3
    Sorry, I meant who DON'T pay attention to you.
  11. Daniel12
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    243 posts
    27 November 2021 in reply to Hanna3

    Hi Hanna

    I would not say I am angry at women at all to help honest. More so angry at myself for not being able to find answers to why I feel uncomfortable in my own skin and can’t workout who I am and what makes me desirable to anyone.

    You definitely make valid points, I think the example of this alpha male conundrum is that in my confusion and uncertainty in my own identity there are times where I think I need to be more like this even if it feels unnatural.

    Deep down I am not envious of those people, the struggle is being uncertain of myself and my identity and why that would be appealing to anyone.

    I guess I have grown up around this environment so in a way to be like them is to be “fun” - that is the thought that goes through my head. Do I necessarily want to be like them, no, but I don’t even know what makes me who I am.

    It doesn’t even make sense what I am saying but there in lies a lot of the issue. But in no way do I hold ill feelings toward women, the ill feelings are toward myself.

    Thanks

    Daniel

    1 person found this helpful
  12. therising
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    27 November 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    In a very different way, I can understand certain aspects of loneliness. This has helped me work out why I feel down at times even though I'm in a relationship. I think it's natural for some of us to deeply long for better knowing who we are. Sometimes we get to find, express and share who we are with a significant other. You can be in a relationship where your partner is so different from you to the point where they're not all that interested in a nature that's not similar to theirs (your own nature) or you may not be in a relationship at all and feel this longing to discover, express and share more of yourself. Either way you can't satisfy that longing. While we can develop our self and feel a connection to life and even love our self without a relationship, there are certain aspects of who we are that can only be brought out by a significant other (a certain knowledge, chemistry and energy). To feel the longing, this deep longing and not have anyone to ease this can be so challenging and even depressing at times.

    Yesterday, what came to mind was 'Every single person Daniel has tried to date has something in common, every single one of them'. I thought about it further and realised that it's what they have in common which stops the meetings or potential relationships from progressing further. This is like a flip in perspective; as opposed to what's 'wrong' with me, you're asking 'What do they all have in common?'. I wish I'd actually realised this perspective when I was younger and on the dating scene. Throughout these years I felt completely worthless, like a piece of garbage. I spent so much time wondering about what was wrong with me, why I was so weak, so stupid, so worthless. Hindsight's a wonderful thing when it comes to revelation but, of course, it doesn't help at the time. I know now, I wasn't weak, stupid or worthless. What the guys I dated all had in common was they were all narcissistic self serving a-holes. It's true. I had a type and that, unfortunately, was the type I dated. Yes, that begs the question 'What is wrong with women; why are they attracted to this type of guy?' I won't go into the psychology of why this was my type but I did manage to work it out. I recall my brother once asking me, based on his experience, 'Do all females have 'daddy issues'?' Another way of phrasing this is 'Are all fathers a-holes who shape their daughter's mind in some way?' Of course, not all fathers are a-holes, some are truly beautiful men :)

    2 people found this helpful
  13. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
    243 posts
    27 November 2021 in reply to therising
    Hi therising


    I definitely feel you’re on the money about this longing for a deeper connection with someone and the lack of it causing me to feel depressed. I would say I used to be relatively content doing things on my own or with not as many friends. I have definitely felt this increased longing for a connection I have never really felt with anyone or had anyone reciprocate.


    It is always at the forefront of my mind at the moment, part of my issue is whilst I want to let go and try let things come to me I actually struggle to see how this would happen “when I least expect it” as I feel pressured that I need to control it and “find” it. Don’t know if that makes sense.


    You make a very interesting point about people I have dated all having something in common. Forgive me if I misunderstand but from what can gather the flip in perspective you are talking about is looking at why they weren’t exactly right for me rather than blaming myself ?


    When I meditate on this further and think back to everyone I have dated recently, the types of people vary if I’m honest. I think lockdowns have caused this loneliness to worsen and coming out of lockdowns my mindset is I want to fine someone to share my life with but maybe I am coming across people whose desires are not aligned at this stage. I also would give anything to just be comfortable in my own skin as well.


    I don’t know if this has any significance and sorry if this example/anecdote is a bit much but I found myself last night in a situation where the opportunity arose to meet someone for basically something casual. In my confusion and loneliness I left to meet this person but upon driving I sort of had a moment where I thought back to everything I’ve been going through and self questioning and times I think “I’m not enough of an alpha”, “I’m boring” etc etc and I thought to myself I actually feel more unnatural and uncomfortable and just thought this is not who I believe I am and I basically turned the car around and went home. This sounds like a stupid event/example with not much significance and I am unsure what it means and whether it is somewhat progress.


    My father one day mentioned to me, this period is like I am driving through a fog, eventually the fog clears you just need to keep driving, maybe last night is a indicator it is starting to clear in my mind. Sorry for sharing a weird example/story but I just felt the need to get it off my chest.


    Thanks


    Daniel
  14. therising
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    27 November 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    I think it's the nature of a longing for it to grow. A good example of this would be perhaps a guy going through a 'mid life crisis'. The longing might begin in very small ways, barely noticeable. He might look out of the office window on the odd occasion, day dreaming about some place he'd like to go, overseas. Then he might find himself wondering what it would be like not to be stuck driving the family car he's sick of, while passing by car dealerships on the way to and from work each day. He might see a lot of people laughing, having a great time as he goes to get his coffee every day. He begins to wish he was one of those people, who could laugh more. The longing for adventure, for excitement and for joy begins to grow and grow until everyday life becomes almost intolerable. In fact, he may not know he's natural adventurer who's not adventuring, leaving him to wonder why he feels so down. Could it be this longing that grows in you is based on you beginning to discover you are naturally a great lover (who loves to love) who's not involved in loving anyone right now. When that fog clears, which your dad mentioned, maybe there will be no stopping you in regard to just how much you can love. Perhaps you are on the verge, surveying the land, getting your bearings.

    The event you mention is definitely not stupid at all. If anything, I think it's significant. You mention at one point you thought 'This is not who I believe I am'. On one hand you're right, from all that you've conveyed, you're not an alpha male. On the other hand, what kind of casual connections do you believe a sensitive male can make? There can be a lot of different types of intimate connections a sensitive guy can make that an alpha can't. While some alphas can be 'Wham bamm, thank you ma'am' types (self serving), a sensitive guy can be more sensational (able to sense better, where things are at and where they're going in a shared experience). He can have a real feel for the energy that's happening, what kind of energy it is, for example. So, while you may believe 'I'm not the sort of guy who can do this casual thing', you may just develop a different belief in the future that could dictate 'I'm a sensitive guy who loves to wonder about and share energetic sensations'. Not saying this is the way to go, just suggesting how beliefs/perspective can change. The facet of you which led you to consider meeting, to the point where you got in the car, is perhaps worth wondering about.

    :)

    3 people found this helpful
  15. Daniel12
    Daniel12 avatar
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    28 November 2021 in reply to therising
    Hi therising


    I think part of this feeling is definitely what you mentioned, I feel I am someone who is ready to connection with someone but I also have issues with regards to myself. Like I have this idea of who I am which I think is a more laidback, quieter individual at the start who grows more comfortable with each interaction or as the minutes pass. The struggle with what I would say is this identity crisis at the moment is because I continue to falter with regard to social events or dating I have led myself to think about it so much in a certain mindset that I thoroughly question myself to a point where I’ve become confused that I need to change this or I will not be accepted. Then my head becomes overrun with thought and it wears me down.


    I certainly understand where you are coming from about different perspectives can change things. I think the other night the feelings of loneliness I experience is what put me into the car and I was probably searching for some form of connection I feel I am missing through that type of interaction. Whilst I think had I have gone through with it I wouldn’t of had a major problem but I think the resulting feeling from it wouldn’t help my current state if that makes sense. I think what happened which is different to how I have felt recently is I had the thought “I am uncomfortable this isn’t me” and I stopped it whereas in the past I have tried to act different to what I would say is myself and I’ve had the same thought but it is followed by “you have to do this otherwise you won’t be accepted”. Not sure if that makes sense at all.


    Part of me wants to experience casual connections in some form like you mentioned it’s probably just finding out what type would suit me personally. I lack a large network of friends which gets me down as well. I looked at some mixed sport stuff recently and expressed interest to join but I am incredibly anxious about this and don’t believe I have it in me to not come across as weird.
    2 people found this helpful
  16. therising
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    29 November 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    I can relate to the thought 'I need to change this or I won't be accepted'. Eventually, it became 'Do I need to change this trait/behaviour or not, so as to accept myself?' Expanding upon that even further, 'Is there a new sense of self or an already existing sense of self I need to welcome or expand on in my life, while remaining true to myself?'

    You could look at joining the mixed sport as an opportunity to expand on who you naturally are. For example, if you can say 'It's in my nature to be adaptable, as I have evidence of this based on how I interact with my family and close friends', you could then ask 'Does this nature dictate that I develop my adaptability even further through certain challenges?' When it comes to social challenges, maybe the idea of 'fitting in' just doesn't float your boat because that's simply not you, someone who acts in an artificial sense. Maybe you could adapt to become someone who develops skills in putting others at ease. So the question then becomes 'How do I learn to put others at ease, so they don't feel uncomfortable around me?'

    I imagine there's a heck of a lot on the internet when it comes to developing skills in putting others at ease. You could wonder about how others manage to do this (what abilities they recommend working on), wonder about the psychology/thoughts and biology/chemistry behind social development, wonder about the natural aspects behind why it's so challenging and wonder about so much more and then research it all. May sound a bit weird to some but once I decide who I want to develop into or what aspect of myself I want to bring to life, I'll do my research. Nothing quite like research to open the mind. Throughout a research period a lot of stuff may naturally come into an open mind, from out of the blue.

    You could even research 'How to have a more open mind', one that's not closed around crippling beliefs. A word of caution with developing an open mind - be careful what others put into it while it's open. Choose what you welcome in. I try to practice opening my mind as much as possible. The challenge is to stop thinking and see what naturally comes in. Can be tough at times. My son, who experiences some social challenges asked me not long ago 'How do I look people in the eye when they're speaking to me?' What suddenly popped in was the strangest thing, 'When people are speaking, listen to them while looking at the 2 vertical lines above the bridge of their nose'. It works for him :)

    2 people found this helpful
  17. Daniel12
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    243 posts
    29 November 2021 in reply to therising
    Hi therising


    I think what you mention about stopping the thinking and see what naturally comes into my mind is probably one of the hardest challenges for me. I’m not really sure of how to combat it particularly when the thought pattern goes down a depressive route.


    I actually feel cognisant of the fact that a certain thought pattern can be destructive but what I have been finding difficult and I think it started during lockdowns is that I feel powerless in stopping it. It happens when I am in social situations and I lose focus and don’t feel present. It’s thought as I’ve mentioned like “this person thinks I’m weird”, it sounds stupid but it starts like that and then I feel trapped inside myself.


    Another thing that’s been really hard to manage and I’m not sure if you know any ways to combat it and forgive me if I’ve mentioned it but my thought pattern is like wildly sporadic. I feel all over the place and it’s exhausting me to the point where now I actually feel nothing throughout the day and am constantly fatigued.


    Perfect example is this girl I mentioned I dated, one moment I think she’s just not right it wasn’t anything about you personally or anything you did and then the very next moment I think it was 100% me, I stuffed up an opportunity and this then spirals out of control and leaves me with absolutely no hope of meeting someone.


    Im at a point now where I feel that devoid of feeling I actually genuinely believe that I have no redeeming features, like who would ever be interested in someone who has a mind like mine honestly, it’s just screwed I can’t even explain it
  18. therising
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    30 November 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    I find letting things naturally come to mind to be incredibly challenging, for sure. It can feel impossible to do at times. It takes a heck of a lot of practice. I've been practicing this for some years, relaxing my mind enough to not think up/force a solution, and I still have a lot of trouble on occasion. Up until yesterday, I was trying to mentally process my way through to a solution regarding an issue with my dad in trying to manage the way forward for him, with him being 86 and developing dementia. Current circumstances were causing me incredible stress and I just couldn't find my way out of the stress. The solution that eventually naturally came to mind was not the solution I wanted but, still, it's a solution. It's a constructive way forward that requires me to let go of stuff. From my own experience, I've found that what naturally comes to mind will often involve me having to let go of something. As long as I'm holding on, I can't move forward. How I wish I was like the character Tarzan, grabbing onto the next vine, letting go of the last while moving forward effortlessly and instinctively with great precision. But no, there I am at times stuck in a psychological mid swing, unable to let go. It's inevitable, eventually I have to let go of being suspended in a state of going nowhere. I can't tolerate going nowhere. It feels depressing and hopeless and I hate those feelings. I just can't stay there in them without them evolving into something worse.

    One of the toughest things about the lockdowns involved the amount of time we had to think and think and think. So much thinking to the point where it became mind altering. We had so much time to think about so much. We had so much time to think our way into certain belief patterns and so much time to think about 'What's wrong with me?'. Add to this the fact that social skills are practiced, we may have lost certain social skills while out of practice for so long, taking us back to square one. It's not our fault we're out of practice when we'd been prohibited from socialising, from practicing.

    The impact of our thoughts can lead to such physical experiences, including exhaustion. We can physically feel our thoughts. Strange when you think about it - you can feel your thoughts. Then you start to mentally process what you're feeling (your feelings), which can lead to more feeling and more thinking. It's like being stuck in a loop you can't get out of. Can send me a little 'loopy' at times :)

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  19. therising
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    30 November 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hey there Daniel

    Something just came to mind which I feel the need to ask. Do you find social situations rather boring at times? Could part of the issue you face involve how to manage developing or maintaining interest in boring/uninteresting conversations? Give you a few examples of where I'm coming from

    • People who don't know each other that well may typically engage in politics based conversations. For me, a lot of the time, it's like a yawn fest. It's like here we go again, talking about people who are running the country being frustrating, out of touch, blah, blah, blah. I'll typically go into my own head, in favor of imagining something more interesting. I typically don't speak because I've got nothing to add to the same old boring frustrating topics. Others may see me as having a problem with being 'out of touch' with politics but I'm happy to be out of touch with most of it. It brings me joy, to be so out of touch :)
    • 'So, what have you been up to?' typically triggers me to reflect on how uneventful my life can be at times. Nothing quite like the response 'Not much' to leave you feeling like you've just shut the conversation down and you're being judged for your uneventful life. Give me an opening conversation that goes a little like 'If you could wish for any super power, what would it be?' and bamm, I'm off an running with a selection, while being fascinated by other people's choices, within that conversation
    • People discussing what they have in common is another one which is hard to engage in. 'So, what did you think of Paris and Spain? Aren't they amazing places'. Then everyone around you begins to discuss their take on Paris and Spain. Before I went to Paris some years ago, there was no reference to what Paris meant to me. Just couldn't relate. It was like being left on the sidelines while others discussed their adventures. They were unintentionally side lining me. This one's a major challenge

    Wondering how you'd go with non typical social conversations such as 'What would be you're plan of action in the case of a zombie apocalypse?' or 'What do you think would happen if everyone lost their ability to speak for a day? How do imagine they'd communicate?'. Just a couple of outside the square topics of conversation. It's amazing how easily you can find those with a brilliant imagination when topics are far from boring or typical.

    Do you find yourself surrounded by uninteresting conversations which don't trigger you to come to life?

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  20. Daniel12
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    30 November 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I can relate to those type of scenarios and probably found myself in those exact situations before.

    I wouldn’t say I get bored, I’m not sure if what I’m about to say makes sense but I feel or sense people “switch off” when I’m talking and I get discouraged.


    If I respond to each example you have raised it would be like this


    - I would agree with you that I also sort of tune out of these conversations like politics. I have opinions which but it’s probably not a topic of conversation I enjoy and I’d rather take a backseat

    - The feelings you described about the “what have you been up to” I can relate to but this feeds into what I said above about feeling people tune out while I talk. For example, when I was at that birthday a couple weeks ago I was speaking to one of my friends sisters friends and had asked the usual “what do you do” and I followed up with things like “how long have you been doing this” and “what made you choose that”, then I was asked the same question and probably after 5 seconds of me answering I could see her just completely tune out and start focusing elsewhere, I wasn’t sure whether to keep speaking or not and I felt extremely anxious. This has happened an extraordinary amount of times and therefore I conclude I am not engaging as a person, I’m boring and not an attractive person to talk to and why would anyone want to

    -The last example I experience as well and I usually sit back and listen and if I can interject I will try. I do feel uncomfortable just listening as I think people are judging me as “quiet” and it just makes me anxious. Then if I have a genuine question to ask about the certain topic the same thing as above happens, it’s either ignored or the other person seems like they are thinking “why are you talking”


    In addition to this, I’ve been called “quiet” by my friends cousins but it’s almost said as an insult. To give some context, I only partially know these people so when I have been out with them naturally I am more in the mindset of listen first and where I can speak I will. Not sure what your take is on something like that I know it is stupid.


    I feel like there is something fundamentally wrong with being more laidback and not as extroverted and that it is fundamentally an unattractive quality. I have a birthday this Saturday again where I will be around people I don’t know and I just feel I really have nothing to offer as a person Because to be like my natural self is obviously a turn off.

  21. therising
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    1 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    Could it be people are misinterpreting what they're sensing when they're around you. This leads me to think of my 21yo niece who is one of the most soulfully beautiful highly intelligent natural people you could ever meet. She is so incredibly shy in social situations. She's painfully shy; you can almost feel her discomfort. Some will judge her as 'incredibly shy' and will acknowledge that engaging her in conversation involves a considerate thoughtful approach. Such people are careful and at times won't push her because they know how incredibly challenging it is for her. On the other hand, I have an aunt who can't help but judge her as 'rude' and 'boring'. She's far from rude, being one of the most thoughtful, considerate and polite people I know. She's far from boring if you really know her. My aunt's misinterpretation is not my nieces fault, it's technically a fault in my aunt, the fault of misinterpretation (aka jumping to conclusions/ignoring all the facts).

    In recalling a conversation with my niece, I suggested to her she's 'a natural' or 'a sensitive' (able to easily sense/get a feel for things). As one, she remains herself under most circumstances while knowing she's judged for it. She can naturally get a feel for boring conversations and won't engage in them if she can help it. She's not arrogant, she simply can't engage in what she senses as uninteresting. She can naturally get a sense of what is worth listening to. She naturally has a brilliant imagination you can easily trigger through conversation. If you don't trigger it, it's like all you're doing is talking to her, they're just words and nothing more, requiring basic responses.Her sense of humor is triggered through her imagination.

    Not sure whether this will work Saturday but what if you were to really push your imagination to the limits, really exercise it. Instead of imagining what people are thinking of you, imagine stuff so outside the square you can't help but smile. Someone speaks of politicians and you imagine all politicians appearing as gorillas or giraffes, for example, with human voices. Someone asks you what you do for a living and you imagine yourself in some superman type outfit, with your underwear on the outside of your tights, as you carry out your daily work. So, every conversation you engage in, you engage in it with a smile. No one has to know what you're imagining. I suppose it's a bit like the old public speaking trick, imagining everyone in their underwear.

    2 people found this helpful
  22. Daniel12
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    1 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    I empathise with your niece if she is being called or misinterpreted as rude or anything to that effect as I can imagine this would happen to me too. I would have to admit that I can be shy which contributes to the “quiet” label but it is within large groups that are unfamiliar or when I am first meeting a few people. It feels as though this is not normal whilst the logical part of me suggests otherwise. Now that you have mentioned it I can relate to what you say by not having certain parts to me triggered in conversation as it does feel at times people are talking at me not with me.

    If I self assess myself, I actually deep down don’t believe I am lacking in conversational skills, my strength in this area is 1-on-1 it’s never been in a group. It is just got to a point where I feel very beat down by comments like “he’s quiet” and the tone it’s said it like I’m a weirdo because I am not some clown that’s the loudest one in the room.

    I don’t know what you think and I have mentioned it a couple times but a large issue to is I actually see people actively tune out while I’m talking or even stop listening and continue/join a conversation elsewhere. Then I’m left in a position where I’m almost like mid sentence and I’m thinking in my head “they are definitely not listening” and I have to stop talking otherwise I probably look stupid. When this happens enough times I have now developed the belief that I’m fundamentally an uninteresting person to talk to. In addition to this, to be not as loud by nature is wrong and to just be down to earth is not exciting enough to attract someone.

    I will try this Saturday and see what I can do. I don’t hold out much hope for myself if I’m honest and I am in two minds about going because I really don’t want to get inside my head again. I’m also not keen on being labelled quiet like it’s a massive character flaw and immediately judged as weird because I’m not some in your face character.

    I believe and friends have described me like this that I am down to earth, initially introverted but not shy it’s more once I break the ice and am comfortable my personality starts to show, it’s more I probably need the other person to “show up” to the conversation but there’s times in the past I have carried conversations but that’s where I’m constantly judging myself as uninteresting to the other person.

    It feels like the way is wrong and not attractive, most of that probably makes no sense so sorry if it’s a confusing ramble.

  23. therising
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    2 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    I think we can be left to doubt our social abilities while not giving any thought to other people's inability to respond to social cues. What I mean is our quietness can be a cue for another to throw us a line but they don't know how to. Or if someone can sense the conversation is dwindling out or becoming uninteresting, in their opinion, this can be a cue for them to ramp it up or take it in some other direction but, again, they may not know how to.

    What comes to mind is 'acting'. All the actors show up for an evening on stage. They all have lines. Based on this, the whole 2 hours or so just flows. The end of each line is the cue for the next line for another actor. Now, imagine the whole play was improvised. Unless these actors are all sensational at improv, there are going to be a lot of awkward pauses. So...

    You can show up to an evening event/party where only a few key players are great at improv. The rest are not so expert. When looking back, how many people did you come across at gatherings who were really good at improvising? Some may have been good at the lead in to the scene you find yourself in but, beyond the lead in, that was pretty much it.

    Someone who's good at social improvising will reach into a person and pull out an aspect of that person. What now comes to mind is - while I could ask you 'What do you do for a living?', I may actually instead choose to ask you 'If you could imagine being anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?'. You might imagine a desert island or perhaps a commune in Tibet, playing guitar. Triggering your imagination, I haven't just brought out the visionary in you, I've also triggered the adventurer. It's the visionary and adventurer who will speak to me. 'What songs would you play, while in the place you imagine?' would then bring out the musician in you. We are multifaceted creatures who don't necessarily want to talk about what we do for a living. Typically, someone who's great at social events will lead you to talk about what you like, love or are passionate about and then they might use your responses to tell you how they relate to that. For example 'I can relate to your vision of that commune. I've lived in a few myself. You have to experience this, they are amazing' and then they might add greater detail to the conversation, such as talking about the quirky people they met. Back and forward the conversation goes between the 2 of you :)

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  24. Daniel12
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    2 December 2021 in reply to therising
    Hi therising


    I think you make great points and it’s something I will try this approach even though I may not have the ability to do this. If I really think about it though, particularly if I am one on one with someone say over a coffee I believe I have good conversation skills and typically my approach is to use what the other person says to either ask a follow up question to go further, relate it back to something I have experienced with regard to the context we are speaking or try to inject some humour in some form.

    Some of the problems I’m having now is and I’m confused about it all and would appreciate your opinion is that given I would say I’m a quieter person and probably more mellow is this unattractive to women for example. I don’t believe I lack layers for lack of a better term I’ve just never been someone who works the room for example I’m more having smaller conversations in the background.

    I have said it before but I’m really confused that to be a more quiet, mature, laidback and just down to earth person and not a loud/larger than life character is uninteresting. It’s really hindering me because half of me believes it is ok and I have a lot of things I can talk about but because I’m not like the life of the party then I’m not someone a potential date would think is fun enough or whatever.

    I feel very all over the place with this stuff and it’s a constant battle to just accept what I am. I feel strange as well like I have more confidence but also don’t at the same time because of more dating experience etc.

    I’m also very worried that Saturday might be a disaster where I get stuck in my head again and I’ll spiral the next day thinking how pathetic the way I am is. I’m on edge about going but I will go because to just be there is something I guess. Sometimes I also feel pressure at these things because I want to meet someone so subconsciously I’m putting pressure on myself to go out of my way to try rather than see what happens. I’m not sure if that makes sense and I am struggle to manage that because of loneliness feelings and a bit of lack of hope.


    Sorry again if a lot of the points I make seem to be all over the shop I’m just fighting a battle where I want to accept myself but I’m still confused because I can’t seem to meet someone who would suggest the way I am is ok
  25. therising
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    3 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    In my opinion, it's easy to be attracted to quiet people while I enjoy getting to know them. I'm more inclined to get along with a quiet person than someone who's overpowering. By the way, in no way do I believe your challenges are all over the shop when it comes to working things out. Being multifaceted, I think it's natural for us to deal with multiple facets of our self, all at once on some occasions.

    I once heard someone mention how incredibly powerful imagination can be. Of course, imagination only works if it holds elements of logic and we can relate to what we're being led to imagine. I'm definitely not going to be able to presently imagine myself as a 20yo old male Olympic champion figure skater. I'm past 20, I'm not male and I have no interest in figure skating. What you could lead me to imagine is myself as a relaxed public speaker, speaking to a crowd of thousands. I should add, I am terrified of public speaking. For me even to speak in a room full of 10 strangers who are hanging on my every word as I read from a speech would lead me to shake while listening to my heart beat pulsing through into my head. If you could lead me to imagine I have the ability to speak to thousands and actually enjoy it, if you could really trigger my imagination (my ability to visualise), you'd have me convinced. Of course, putting it into practice is another part of the challenge. I think the first part of most challenges involves our ability to easily imagine the process and the outcome. If we can't imagine anything other than failing, then failing is typically the outcome because that's where our brain takes us. All sounds simplistic but it's not. It can be far from simplistic, the process of altering perception.

    Through repeated experience, certain neural pathways are created in the brain. As Joe Dispenza (a brilliant author) puts it - if you imagine your thoughts are like riding a sled in the snow and you take the same path over and over again, your thoughts begin to take the path of least resistance, that path etched into the snow (your brain). It becomes about creating new pathways. Of course, we have to imagine we have the ability to create new ones. Neuroplasticity is an interesting field of research.

    A new pathway may begin with 'There's nothing wrong with me enjoying kicking back, being the observant strong and silent type' or it could be 'I'm going to learn to work a room and actually grow to love it and thrive on it'. Imagine that :)

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  26. Daniel12
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    3 December 2021 in reply to therising
    Hi therising


    I think there’s definitely merit in what you mention about the way you perceive/imagine things. I think I have definitely developed the narrative in my mind that to be the more quiet laid back character I am is wrong. It’s almost a default position for me to take and it largely gets triggered by pressure to find a partner because as the different people I meet/date continues to really go nowhere it almost reinforces it on my mind.


    I have really tried to clear my mind recently and try look at stuff like this objectively and I think none of the people I have dated really would have a bad word to say about me as a person I think it’s a matter of just not being the right fit. I think I need to stop taking it out on myself because it’s an exhausting process. Maybe I can use the way you described to imagine myself as a way of restructuring the way I think about it.


    I can admit myself that with regards to the whole dating thing I may have impatience to a degree and maybe it’s because of my culture there’s pressure to get this sorted and I would like to find someone whilst still young. Sometimes I look at it and I just feel whilst I have been putting myself out there and meeting people whether it’s from online apps or whatever it’s frustrating that none of these seem to stick. I begin to search for answers as what’s the issue I am putting out there when logically it’s just probably not the right fit.


    My fear is given I’m more quiet in nature and I’m not someone who would approach someone from across the room due to anxiousness and it’s just out of character that I may not meet someone because I don’t go out of my way to find it. I know you can’t predict the future it’s just seeing everyone around me sort of just meet people randomly I’m just disheartened because it seems like these random meetings are such a remote possibility for someone like me because I’ve never really had this happen, so as a result pressure on myself to seek it out just builds and builds.


    I feel a bit on my own in this as well because everyone around me has met someone and it’s a bit like what am I doing wrong or how am I going to find someone when I’m basically on my own


    I’d like to try use what you mentioned in terms of imagining things in a different light to help my mindset and my help me personally and socially I guess pressure is really getting to me because I know it’s silly to say but I feel I’m missing the boat a bit.
    1 person found this helpful
  27. therising
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    3 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    My daughter has spoken before about her interest in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It's a fascinating look into the theory of personality types. I thought this topic might be of interest to you as it manages to help put together different traits which go toward better defining both our strengths and areas that require some work.

    Was looking at YouTube today and managed to reach a conclusion about where I fit in when it comes to the MBTI. By the way, I don't set out to define myself specifically, I simply like to wonder. I asked my daughter 'In your opinion, am I an INFJ?'. 'Absolutely' was her response. I'm an Introvert, INtuitive, a Feeler and Judgemental. When I ran through the strengths, I thought 'That's so me'. When I ran through the areas that challenge me, I thought 'That is so me'. By the way, the judgemental aspect is more so about judging through analysis or calculation, rather than opinion. If I judge an intensely critical and highly degrading person to be depressing, I'll reach the conclusion they're depressing, unless they can convince me otherwise.

    It's interesting how our greatest abilities can also relate to our greatest challenges

    The strengths of an INFJ:

    Sensitive to the needs of others
    Reserved
    Highly creative and artistic
    Focused on the future
    Values close, deep relationships
    Enjoys thinking about the meaning of life
    Idealistic

    The challenging side:

    Can be overly sensitive
    Sometimes difficult to get to know
    Can have overly high expectations
    Stubborn
    Dislikes confrontation

    I think figuring out why these challenges exist, how they came into being, is handy in the way of self mastery. For example, it may be difficult to get to know such a person perhaps because they're highly sensitive to feeling the full impact of betrayal or rejection and have felt it several times in the past. They don't want to feel it again so they tread carefully. Perhaps redefining and/or better understanding betrayal or rejection may help with overcoming this challenging aspect. Another down side to this personality type - Being judgemental, they may judge themself harshly and, while being an introvert, get stuck in their own head when it comes to such judgement.

    I think if we can relate to who we are in some way (even if it's through the Myers-Briggs theory), it can mean going out into the world with a strong sense of our strengths and our challenges. We can know why we're ticking the way we are under the circumstances we face.

    :)

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  28. Daniel12
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    4 December 2021 in reply to therising
    Hi therising


    Thanks for explaining that to me, it very interesting and I have seen it before but never really understood it so thank you.
    I think majority of those traits you just outlined for the strengths and challenges I can relate to a lot.


    It definitely feels like it would be hard to get to know me particularly upon first meeting. Whilst I would say I’m an open person and I like to talk the more reserved and anxious side of me holds me back. The judgemental side is definitely geared toward myself and pressure I place on myself. It’s funny I think I have high expectations but it’s almost 90% geared toward myself, with regards to other people I think I get let down when people I know or want to get to know don’t display basic morals that are sort of conditioned to me. I would say this was an issue but I think it’s turned into less about others and more judging myself to a point where it’s really scrutinising every move I make which I’d like to thank lockdowns for for worsening that problem.


    Whilst I’m still very confused as to where I’m at, I feel like I’m starting to get the picture of what I am. What I would like is to just be able to accept it when I am in social situations and use it as a strength not be anxious to be comfortable/natural in myself.


    I have this birthday tonight and I really don’t want another repeat of people tuning out while I talk and me almost looking for it and getting disheartened and then the tape of thoughts play through my mind all night to the point where when I’m on the way home I fall into a depression because I have an inability to meet people or not be weird.


    I guess just wanting to go and being there is a step in the right direction, I just get really anxious about getting stuck inside my head and being judged for not being the life of the party. Hopefully I won’t panic and capitulate again
    1 person found this helpful
  29. therising
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    5 December 2021 in reply to Daniel12

    Hi Daniel

    How did the party go? I hope things were a little different this time, even if 'different' involves you noticing stuff you never noticed before. Maybe you still felt awkward yet had some revelation you've never had before or met someone who opened your mind in some wonderful way. I hope so. Progress can feel so painstakingly slow at times. Progress at a snails pace can kind of feel hopeless at times, yet it still remains progress nonetheless.

    :)

    2 people found this helpful
  30. Daniel12
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    5 December 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    The birthday went ok, I tried to mix with people as best I could and made an effort not to get trapped in my head or try force things out of myself that are unnatural which I have consistently done in the past.

    Sounds a bit silly but I sort of approached it with the mantra of knowing that yes I am more laidback and reserved but this shouldn’t be a drawback.

    I was able to talk to different people in my own style and I guess it felt like a small amount of progress in the sense that I felt more like myself and stayed more natural and I can’t remember too many times I thought I was coming across weird. Inevitably there were a few occasions where I thought about it but I just seemed to rationalise it better just thinking I’m a down to earth bloke and laidback I don’t need to force anything.

    I guess it showed me in a small way I can talk to people but in my own style which should be fine I guess.

    I didn’t really get a chance to speak to anyone or meet anyone in terms of females other than the friends I knew there which is a bit disheartening because feels like another wasted opportunity but I didn’t really have much opportunity to.

    I can definitely relate to what you mean when you say progress can feel painstakingly slow, this is how it feels with my search for a partner. I have been going on dates and stuff through online apps and things like that but I don’t seem to be the type where I happen to talk to someone like at something last night and it goes from there.

    This could just be luck because despite all the anxiety and stuff like that I get socially I definitely open myself up and try to put myself in situations even if I worry about it in advance. Just feels like it’s really stagnant at the moment in that area and I don’t really know what I should do about or whether what I am doing by exposing myself out socially is even just a good start.

    Thanks and hope your weekend is going well

    Daniel

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