Hard time accepting myself


#1

I’m having a really hard time with self-acceptance. I’ve been called “weird” and sometimes even “creepy” by many people throughout my life, from many different cultural backgrounds. Today it happened again, when a coworker/friend said “You’re so weird”, in response to me attempting to demonstrate what I understand to be proper running technique by running in place. I guess it might have been weird, but it really got to me. It had been a while since someone last called me “weird” but that doesn’t I didn’t do anything weird in that time. Most people are polite.

Basically, I have a really hard time accepting that I’m still socially awkward even now at 28. I guess I enrolled in this course hoping that anxiety is what lies at the root of my awkwardness. I’m not sure how to accept my awkwardness. It’s a huge handicap that I feel severely limits my ability to make and maintain friendships, and makes it impossible to be attractive to women. How am I supposed to be ok with that?


#2

Could it be possible “weird” could simply be a term of endearment … pointing out your uniqueness ? They didn’t say “you’re so weird, I don’t like you” right? It could possibly be that when you come up in their conversations it might go like this " that Carlos is so weird … he cracks me up" … hey, think positive…embrace your weirdness :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#3

What positive is in being socially awkward?


#4

Hi Manufaktor,
What I was attempting to do in my reply to Carlos was to present another possibility. I believe those of us with SA obsess about a word or phrase … sometimes for hours, days, weeks … and in my case years that someone has said to us. We overthink it to the point of exhaustion which does nothing but keep us in the negative thinking stranglehold. My attempt was to suggest to Carlos that there was possibly another side of that word he was hung up on that wasn’t negative at all. I’ll bet the person that said that he was weird wouldn’t even remember saying it … and if they did, it was by no means meant to be hurtful. I think most people are wanting to be kind, caring, funny, considerate, etc … they really have no intention of making someone feel bad. It’s quite possible, and I’ll only speak for myself here, that my SA tends to blow things way out of proportion and I hold on to that negative impression. This then sets me on the path of anticipatory anxiety which leads to my old default behavior of avoidance, guilt and shame. So, to answer your question, there’s nothing positive about being socially awkward … but, did we not catch these irrational thoughts before they grew into something that, in our minds, was totally negative ? I thought the plan was to recognize irrational thoughts, work our way through them and come to a positive solution … in my case, that’s easier said than done, but I want so much to see things more positively … I want to stop being so overly sensitive to certain words or phrases … I want to know and believe other people certainly don’t want to, in any way, say something intentionally that would cause me hurt feelings. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said something that I took completely wrong and found out they had know idea that what they said made me uncomfortable. Like, well … just now … I read your response and thought to myself “uh oh … I think I made Manufaktor upset” … then the irrational thoughts began … “maybe I made the whole forum upset” … that certainly wasn’t my intention, that’s for sure. But I was over thinking it (again) …blowing things way out of proportion (again). Anyways, my whole goal is to attempt, every day, to catch negative thoughts, expose to myself just how irrational these thoughts are and replace them with as much positivity as I can possibly muster. I personally, am tired of constantly being in the emotional washing machine of Social anxiety … I have to try and break out of this cycle. It’s way too easy to continue living with SA … I’ve done it for most of my life … but, at what cost ? I know if I keep at it that, keep recognizing irrational thoughts, then I’ll be able to recognize my irrational behavior and live a more positive life. Does that make sense ?


#5

Makes perfect sense to me!


#6

It’s like I could have written it myself. I have the same kind of thinking. One thing that recently have helped me a lot when I have felt bad for something others have said is to try to see it from the other person’s viewpoint. Like if I had said it to him. What had I meant when I said it? Often I can then see that he didn’t mean anything bad with what he said.


#7

I’ve been called weird/creepy/ what have you many times before. Its never fun or reassuring to hear something like that; yet I still maintain what others project on to you reveals much more about them than it does about you, unless you’re intentionally harassing someone (which I highly doubt you or anyone reading this is attempting to do). When someone calls you "creepy’, what they’re really communicating is that they themselves are too shallow and socially stunted to try to understand someone who they feel are even slightly different from them. That isn’t a positive quality.

Being normal isn’t always great in the first place. Hiveminds, and the people in large numbers that create them, can be capable of terrible things, as long as they have popular support.

A way of looking at my anxiety that helps me is considering the power my anxiety gives to other people over me. This isn’t to say getting angry at myself for having anxiety is helpful (I.E avoiding the fighting paradox) - infact quite the opposite. Rather,thinking about the ways that my anxiety gives people the chance to step on gives me the urge to confront it and leads me to care less about their opinion.Why would I want to be considered “normal” to appease this persons opinion of me? I’d rather be true to myself.

Getting into punk rock and the punk rock ethos helped me on my (ongoing) journey to overcoming social anxiety, and the core of that to me is self-reliance and an open mind.

Best of luck


#8

Self-acceptance is a process that takes time, perhaps longer than some other “issues” that crop up because of social anxiety. Self-acceptance is what most people are learning over a lifetime, with or without social anxiety.

Dr. Richards discusses self-acceptance at many points throughout the series. Specifically in Session 23, he discusses self-acceptance in the handout “Acceptance is an Active Process”.

We’ve been in the habit of rejecting ourselves, having a tremendously bad self-image as a result of years of social anxiety and irrational thoughts, and perhaps a very negative, unsupportive past.

Then how do we work to move toward self-acceptance? First, through the therapy, as we change our thoughts and feelings, as anxiety changes and lessens, we do gain a growing self-confidence that should encourage more self-acceptance. But, for many of us, there still might be that core, central negative self image. And how to get at this, to change it so that our path leads to more self acceptance and greater, believed self-acceptance over time?

Here are some of the things Dr. Richards says in the series:
There is more of an emphasis on feeling this as you read it (Peace Zone). The message is not so important. The important thing is the feeling that we get. (Determined Slow Talk). It is when we accept that we make progress, this theme echoes all the way back to the Fighting Paradox. Hopefully you can see that acceptance of yourself brings you calmness, peace and power.

The point here that Dr. Richards makes repeatedly is that to get at this theme of self-acceptance, and to start believing it more and more, there is nothing more that we need to do than reinforce, repeat, listen and use our slow talk out loud to REALLY slow down and allow the messages of self-acceptance to sink in. Of course, this assumes, you are still doing the therapy, still applying rational thoughts to your day, still applying therapy principles. If you find you are rejecting yourself or have an inner voice of self-rejection, you address that, deal with that as you would an ANT - it may take longer, but it is no less an ANT than any other you’ve had. And getting that message of self-acceptance to sink in may take longer, but it involves nothing more complex than the repetition and over-reinforcement of this concept and then this feeling.

We don’t start with self-acceptance in Session 1. That would be unrealistic. At that point, naturally most of us aren’t in a positiion to imagine such a thing or even to know how much self-rejection we are putting on ourselves every second. But at some point in therapy, YES, you need to be aware of this, you need to address this and make this a daily part of your therapy time, to accept acceptance, as well as the other themes of the Peace Zone such as letting go of negative past events and feelings, dealing with perfectionistic tendencies, etc. These Peace Zone themes involve the same thing of determined slow talk - really slowing down, really repeating in a calm way the themes presented here. It will lead you in the right direction, towards self-acceptance.