Monday, August 21, 2023

Inhibitions

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about my inhibitions (including my core of shame/embarrassment as mentioned in the previous entry).

I think these feelings hold me back in a lot of different areas. It's not limited to just being creatively stifled. It also impacts pretty much every social event in my life, including but not limited to my willingness to reach out/talk to other people, share things about my life, or make myself the center of attention in even the smallest way. This also includes how I feel about myself even after doing these things  (spoiler alert: not good).

It causes me to overthink everything I say, and to hold back. This is the overcorrection popping up again. I went from always speaking without thinking, to rarely speaking at all.

I think it goes beyond fear of making mistakes. I think I could live with making mistakes and learning from them. That part isn't so bad.

Instead, I feel like I'm annoying, a generally worthless and/or useless person with nothing much to add. When I do feel like adding something, it's selfish and not very helpful to other people. Every time I say anything, it's essentially just an opportunity for me to make a fool of myself and further prove to people that I am not that great or interesting of a person.

There are times I don't feel like this.

When I take my ADD meds, especially after not taking them for a while, I feel my inhibitions lower slightly. I feel more forthcoming with the things I say, and although I am still worried about coming across as annoying, it feels less like an earth-shattering concern and more like my desire to speak and share things overpowers my desire to disappear and not be perceived.

Other than that, it's rare for me not to feel very sensitive about talking to other people and being part of social groups.

I think the core of all of this, of feeling shame/embarrassment in general, is essentially just 'caring what other people think about me'. But it's not just like, random people on the street I'm worried about (usually). It's like my friends and the people that I care about. Shouldn't I be worried to some extent about what they think of me?

I actually think the actual core of all of this, is feeling this way about myself (that I'm annoying, unlikeable, worthless, etc.) and that I will find confirmation of other people feeling this way. It's like there's already a suspicion I have of being seen this way by other people, and therefore I am always looking for it.

I've had friends come to me for advice on this very thing before. I always tell them, "Other people are more concerned with themselves than they are about you." But I don't know why I can't believe that myself. I know logically that is true. But I can't believe it.

I feel safest and most secure when I'm talking to no one, or perhaps only the people who I am closest with. But I know that isn't healthy. I want to become comfortable being around more people.

I suppose the real goal I should be aiming for is: "how to stop giving a fuck". I don't know how to do this. But there has to be a way.

I can start, I guess, by understanding the problem a little better. I think it's developing, behind the scenes, based on what I wrote last:

  • When I was very young, I used to be very annoying, have no filter, and almost took pride in being this way (attention-seeking??)
  • It became clear to me that being this way was not ideal, and many people called me annoying to my face, even though I would brush it off as no big deal (and eventually wore it as a badge of honor???)
  • "Being annoying / obnoxious" got translated (to myself) as "being myself/who I really am" and I learned, "Do not be yourself, because to be yourself is to be annoying and obnoxious."
  • Even though I have (mostly?) stopped being so annoying and obnoxious, I feel very "on my guard" most of the time, lest my "real self" comes out and proves to everyone my secret side of being a super obnoxious and annoying person.

So what does this mean?

When I was a teenager/young adult I struggled a lot with "black and white" thinking. I felt I could only be 'one way' or 'the complete opposite way'.

I kind of felt like I had overcome that as I got older.

But maybe I internalized it more than I realized. Again, I need to develop some kind of balance, a sort of gray area. A realization that I could be myself and not be annoying.

I'm still not really sure how to do that, but maybe understanding this is the first step?

 

Saturday, August 19, 2023

My first weblog <3

At least once a year nostalgia hits me hard, but this time it's different.

I used to always keep a blog. Re-reading them later in the future has given me the unique opportunity to review my old thoughts and feelings and sometimes even learn from them. Even reviewing the same content each year as I get older offers me unique insights.

I've finished reading some old writings of mine and thinking about them. This time, I've learned the following:

  1. When I was very young, I had no concept of shame or embarassment about absolutely anything - especially social situations. At most, I was shy, but I didn't 'hold back' in any sense, even though I probably should have. I was loud, and I always said what I was thinking. I was fearless and I looked forward to experiencing the unknown.
  2. As I've gotten older, shame and embarrassment have become the core of my existence. It is what I feel most of the time in social situations. Fear of the unknown, on a lot of different levels, holds me back from being myself. I think I overcorrected my behavior, letting these negative feelings become the norm.
  3. These fears are holding me back from being myself in a social sense and also holding me back from being creative (or expressing myself) on any possible level, something I used to love and look forward to doing.
  4. If the way I've changed is an overcorrection, then there must be a way to re-correct - to achieve balance. As I get older, I should worry less about what others think about me - not more. The only way I can think to achieve this is to somehow get in touch with who I was back then, and try to figure out how to harness some of that energy in a controlled and balanced way.

I very much went my own way as a child and preteen because I didn't exactly have anyone or anything to go with. When I finally got the chance to experience life alongside others, I let myself get too lost in other people - another overcorrection perhaps.

I missed having a space of my own to mess around in. I hope I can make a healthy habit of introspection. Sure, I could have blogged in a cold, lifeless Google Doc, but the aesthetics and the attachment I have to even a shadow of this old platform is a good motivator.