Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.
It’s insecurity that is always chasing you and standing in the way of your dreams.
I think we all have blocks between us and the best version of ourselves, whether it’s shyness, insecurity, anxiety, whether it’s a physical block, and the story of a person overcoming that block to their best self. It’s truly inspiring because I think all of us are engaged in that every day.
I spent a while trying to come up with a word to describe what this post is about for the title in order to keep with usual modus operandi of simple one word titles, but I really couldn’t think of or find one, so it’s two posts in a row with multiple word titles.
If you’re reading this, chances are you are familiar with the fact that I recently decided I was going to deactivate my Facebook account and take a break for awhile, and then enacted that deactivation just prior to posting this. I didn’t want to post about any of the reasons why on Facebook, but if you bothered to come here perhaps you are interested, and even if you aren’t, I consider this blog to be more for myself than for any of the very small number of people who read it. Truthfully there are a lot of reasons, but I am only going to talk about one of them, at least for this post. You’re probably not going to see the connection to Facebook at least at first… but maybe you will by the time I’m done trying to explain it, if we’re lucky.
I’ve never been what I would describe as a self-confident person. I would say that most if not all of the negative aspects of me probably derive from that fact. One of the most negative aspects of me, in my opinion, is that I am dreadfully terrible at meeting new people. The main reason for that is that I am terribly uncomfortable around people when I don’t know how they are going to react to me. And for some reason, I tend to believe that they are going to react negatively to me. I’m sure this is probably rooted in some childhood experience and is a behavior I’ve never managed to unlearn, but I would really like to. But more so, I want to reach a point where it doesn’t matter as much to me whether they like me or not. Not feeling that need to be validated (or really I guess not feeling the need to not be invalidated) would take the pressure off of me when dealing with people I don’t know. If I am dealing with just one new person, or just a few among a group of friends, I can handle it much better than I can when thrown into a large group of unknowns.
The problem mostly dissipates on the individual level as I get to know a person. I feel like I can safely assume that once I know someone really well, I don’t need to worry about that anymore. Although I can’t give voice to why I should be worrying about it in the first place… not being liked/validated by someone shouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. However, I often find myself moderating some of my thoughts around people who I know disagree with me about things because I have grown to like them, and I fear that they will not like me if I give voice to my contrary opinions. This is one of the key areas where I feel like Facebook has been problematic for me.
Additionally, I think that for someone such as myself who struggles with many social situations, Facebook can become kind of a social crutch. Although it might be more accurate to re-appropriate the immortal words of Mitch Hedberg and say that Facebook isn’t a crutch… “a crutch helps you walk, [Facebook] is like a step I didn’t see.” Facebook is all about the illusion of social connections and it makes you kind of sort of feel connected to people when you really aren’t. That’s problematic for me.
Even as I write this, part of me feels that I shouldn’t post it. Some part of my brain is telling me that I’m running the risk of being invalidated and that is something that should be avoided. But that is why I need to post this. Maybe someone will think it’s pathetic… I mean, hey, that’s cool, I actually think it’s kind of pathetic too. Who goes through as much of life as I have and is still this bad at interacting with people?
If/When (I assume I probably will, but I’m not committed to the proposition) I return to Facebook, I want for 2 things to be true. First, I don’t want it to be a social crutch any more, preventing me from obtaining and maintaining more real relationships. Second, I want to no longer fear receiving invalidation or hope for validation based on whatever I decide to post.
So hopefully this is the start of a path to becoming a better human being.