Saturday, July 27, 2013

Imperfectly Me: Guarded

This is a non nail polish related post. Sometimes when I have life challenges pop up I like to share them with you all.

One of my biggest challenges in the past has been social interaction. I will be flat out honest. I lived in Orlando with zero friends from 2007-2011. Self esteem plays the major role into all of my challenges in life including friendships and social interaction.

When local bloggers started meeting up that was extremely anxiety provoking for me. Thankfully, over time I was able to move past that anxiety, and become more comfortable in social situations. I even was able to break off and form individual friendships with some bloggers! Awesome!

I'm good with individual friendships. One on one I feel comfortable with. I suck at group interaction...like really suck. I've always been this way since a child. I'm seriously a loner type. When my friends would get together as a group I'd feel like the outsider. I never really fit in with groups of people. I think it's because I'm guarded as a person. I feel very disconnected socially in group settings. I never let loose or feel like I can be myself.

The problem is even though I am accepted and liked by all the members in social group I still behave this way and feel this way. I honestly think it's because I find it hard to believe people like me and want to spend time with me. Again, self esteem. I had a get together with some bloggers I felt closest to for my birthday and I honestly was shocked that people wanted to celebrate MY birthday with ME. I couldn't just absorb those good feelings I had to question them? In turn, I felt disconnected and awkward, which I then hate myself for. Vicious cycle--here we go again!

This isn't anyone's problem but my own, and it's one I create for myself. I think a lot of this stems from my past behavior and a lot of severe emotional abuse. I used to be an open book to a lot of people and was betrayed many times. I used to get really close to people only to be disappointed by them. I also do not feel good about myself so it makes me wonder "if I don't like myself, how could someone else?" There is also the fact that growing up I was told repeatedly by some peers and and some adult figures that I was not good enough. I think these are a few reasons why I don't fully connect to people. I keep my distance to protect myself in some way. This is probably some psychological defense mechanism that I can't think of the term for.

While I'm trying to protect myself by behaving this way it doesn't serve me well. I even do this in the blog world online. I feel very much like a loner blogger. The truth is I don't know how else to behave? This has been my response to situations for years and years. It's natural and a very learned behavior.

The thing I'm learning is that while I'm able to do little fixes here and there in my life, I'm neglecting the major issue of my low self esteem. That is what really needs to be addresses and worked on as it is the true source of all my problems I believe. Don't worry folks, I'm in therapy. That's why I brought this up today because it was we talked about in our last session. I feel like sharing these thoughts and getting a response helps to put a lot of this in perspective and most of all not feel so freaking alone.

My therapist recommended the book The Six Pillars of Self- Esteem by Nathaniel Branden to help me start battling this nasty thing. I've already started and I'm shocked at how much my low self esteem has been reflected in my actions, choices, and how I've continuously been creating negative self fulfilling prophecies for myself. Yuck. It's good to recognize this though because I hadn't before. I'm hoping now I'll be able to recognize the behavior when it starts and re-direct it.

On-wards and upwards. Thanks for listening.

Happy Saturday!



30 comments:

  1. I can relate to this a bit. I moved a couple years ago with my (now) fiance and aside from work related stuff, I don't really have any friends. I'm always surprised by how well liked I am and sorta feel like I'm always embarrassing myself for some reason. I have been trying to break out of my shell a bit more and putting myself in social settings. It's just harder as an adult...

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  2. It's hard to break out of the cycles of negative self-esteem, something I struggle with. Even harder when loved ones do not understand the anxiety and cold sweats. Thinking of you today <3

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  3. Marisa (Polish Obsession)July 27, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    I can totally relate to feeling like an outsider in group settings also. Even though I get along with everyone in a group, I sometimes feel like I'm left out because I may not have all of the same things in common with them.
    I'm glad that this is something you're working on Stephanie.

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  4. It's surprising how things that happen or are told to us as children can effect who we are as adults. I can definitely relate to you on some level. I don't always do well in group social settings if I am not friends with most of the people there. I also sometimes wonder why people I think are really awesome would want to be friends with me. It helps me when I feel this way to think about it logically and say to myself that these people would not be my friend/hang out with me if they didn't want to. No one is forcing them to hang out with me or go to my birthday party so they want to be there. It's hard to see your own worth sometimes. But that's great that you are going to therapy and are working on it.

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  5. I understand this 1000 percent. I'm in a similar situation.

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  6. I completely understand what you mean. I still deal with hardcore social anxiety that prevents me from going out and socializing with other people, and I'm still trying to figure out the source of my anxiety. This was a very brave post to put up and I am so happy you decided to share this with your readers! I had so much fun with you when we met at The Makeup Show last year, I cannot wait to see you again. Sending you my love! xoxo

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  7. Hugs! Keep working at it, because you are special and have lots to offer!

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  8. I can totally relate... And one of the biggest things that has helped for me is getting older. Now that I'm 40 and just don't give a crap what others thing and it is so liberating! You're awesome Steph! And just writing and sharing this post took a lot of guts so kudos to you.

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  9. I understand completely and am proud that you were able to share. I have the same feelings to the point where I only left my house for work for 2 years. Anything more than 2 people and I freak out emotionally.

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  10. Wow, you sound A LOT like me! I too, use to put all my faith in people, only to be let down, or back stabbed, so I'm really guarded when it comes to people. I'm also very similar in social situations, especially large groups, I tend to be quite anyway, the sit back and listen type, but a lot of the time it comes off as uninterested.


    It's funny how I realized this all in the last 4-5 years. Never realized I had a problem when I was younger. Good luck in your journey!

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  11. I'm going to have to check that book out. I definitely know how you feel to a T! I don't feel accepted by anyone and haven't had any actual friends that I can actually spend time with since 2010. I have a hard time believing that people actually like me, I actually feel like more people hate me than like me.To be honest I don't even feel really accepted by the group, which is why I tend to stay away from everyone at the past few meetings. I feel like I'm put up with because we're in the same group. Pretty sad huh?

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  12. Dear Steph, I wish you all the best and good luck with your therapy. I know there is a great person tucked away under that low self esteem and she is begging to be let out and show herself to the world - hopefully you'll get the tools you need to do so!

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  13. I'm the same way in social situations...one-on-one is much more comfortable, and group settings are exhausting and uncomfortable. One thing that helped me, and this solution is not for everyone, is that I adopted a dog. Dogs need walks and activity. People are drawn to dogs, so inevitably on every walk I would have a conversation with a random stranger. It also gives you an excuse to get out of the house and not be a hermit. There are meet-up groups for dog owners and all kinds of ways to get out and be with new people. And it's much less awkward because everyone has at least one thing in common already.

    I'm going to check out that book though! Good luck to you!

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  14. In person, unless I know you well I'm pretty shy. People mistake it for being stuck up. I only have 3 very close friends. my 2 cousins and husband. My husband is the same as me. We are kind of the black sheep of our families,we both get so uncomfortable in group settings.

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  15. I think thispost is so honest and brave! <> You have a fantastic blog and you should be so proud!

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  16. Thanks for commenting. It is harder as an adult. It was easier as kids to make friends I think!

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  17. Thank you :).

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  18. I know exactly what you mean, Marisa. My interests are eclectic, just because I like one thing doesn't mean I'm into something related to it. I find that hard when mixing with people because I can't relate to everyone. I like to feel connected with people and when that isn't there it's very hard to stay present in conversation or feel part of the group. Thank you for commenting.

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  19. Thank you for commenting. I know that I have a very skewed way of viewing myself that prevents me from accepting that people like me and want to be around me. I have feeling it will take a long time to repair that, but I'm willing.

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  20. Thank you. I hope things work out well for you!

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  21. I would of never guessed! It's weird a challenge because sometimes you can't pinpoint the source, but something is there. I loved hanging out with you at TMS last year! I can't wait to see you again too. Thank you for commenting! :)

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  22. Thank you <3

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  23. Thank you. I do notice with age the less I care about other people and the more willing I am to accept myself. I'm still in that battle mode...battling the old negative thoughts with the new positive ones. It's not easy!

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  24. I understand that. I remember times just going a mile or more beyond my "comfort zone" was terrifying. Anxiety is so consuming. I'm sorry you experience dthat.

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  25. I think some of it is part of our personalities and some of it is a response to being hurt in the past. I will never be a social butterfly or an outgoing person, that's not me. I don't want to be that...too much socializing is overwhelming for me. Then there is the other side where I'm intentionally (unconsciously or consciously) putting a barrier in between me and other people. That's what I need to figure out!

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  26. Thank you so much <3

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  27. Thank you for commenting! A lot of people in my apartment complex walk dogs and socialize, so you're totally right there. Fortuneteller, I'm more of a cat person (no offense!), and being busy and in a small apartment I don't think a dog would be good fit. That being said though, I do volunteer at the SPCA and that connection with other volunteers and potential adoptees is something I look forward to every week I volunteer. That has really been a life changer for me, so I can relate!

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  28. That's always my worry, is I'm sure I come off as aloof and uninterested in group settings. I'm really just frazzles me and it's overwhelming. Friendships are hard for me to make because I really like to make deep loyal connections with people. I don't really do..surface friendships. I make friends for life and those are few and far between.

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  29. Thank you <3

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  30. Oh, well you get that same interaction just in a different way. No offense taken, I like cats too, I just happened to adopt a dog instead of another cat.

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