Daily OM: Lesson #9 – How Others See You

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Welcome back to my Year of Writing to Uncover the Authentic Self. It’s been a while since I’ve dived into these, but I do want to keep going. It will obviously take longer than a year, since I was supposed to be answering these prompts each week.

Oops.

This week is a bit of a deep dive for me because this is something that I think about probably more than I should. Mostly because it is really hard for me to figure out how other people see me. I have a very difficult time reading people. Put that together with my natural awkwardness, social anxiety, and school-girl shyness that I never really grew out of, and I just don’t usually do well around other people. Still, I managed to find a group of wonderful people through getting involved in community theatre and those people became my friends. It was blissful for a while.

And then the pandemic happened.

The pandemic ruined a lot of things for a lot of people, but one of the things it did for me was both make me more anxious around people in general and make me feel distanced from people that I know and love. I have always had a hard time believing that people like me in the first place – I almost always assume that people don’t like me for whatever reason (my brain comes up with several possibilities because my brain is mean). That feeling has only grown in the past few years.

The other thing that gets me all the time is that even when I know that the people in question (a.k.a. my friends) like me, I always feel like they mean more to me than I ever would to them. Part of that is my fault – I don’t devote the time to trying to maintain the friendships as much as a should or would like to. I blame the aforementioned anxiety/shyness/etc. but that is all just an excuse.

So instead I end up in a vicious circle of feeling distanced from those I think of as my friends, to feeling uncomfortable because too much time has passed, to trying to reach out or socialize, to not wanting to reach out, to feeling more distance, repeat, repeat, repeat. It’s not fun, but I don’t know exactly what to do about it.

So how do people see me? The honest answer is that I have no idea.



Categories: Daily OM

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3 replies

  1. I’m sorry to hear about some of the challenges you’re facing, and it sounds like you and I share a lot of common issues. I’ve struggled with a lot of these things. I found that reading about anxiety helped a lot, I recommend Judson Brewer’s Book Unwinding Anxiety. Also learning about spectrum disorders, even though I’m not technically on the spectrum, has helped me to be a lot more accepting of my own preferences and strengths. I will say that the pandemic helped me make peace with the fact that being away from people does make me happy, and I appreciated not feeling pressured to socialize. Thanks for sharing.

    • I enjoy being away from people too, way more than I enjoy being around people these days. What’s frustrating are the people who make you feel guilty for it, some intentionally, some not. I shouldn’t worry about that, but I can’t help it sometimes. Thanks for the book recommendation – I will check that out.

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