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Back to Center.

15 December 2014

I give up. I am pulling back from things I tried to force because I wanted to be popular and important. I like being popular. I like people respecting me and wanting to be around me. But none of that is good for me. Pursuing it is not good for my ego, and I don’t like the me I become when I do it. I don’t need to be spotlighted.

I struggle over and over with this. I feel like I’ve written this same post half a dozen times. That’s ok. I learn slowly, and it takes me time to understand what I’ve done wrong. Recently, I’ve been trying to have my opinion valued by people who don’t value other people’s opinions. I want them to consider my thoughts and experience, despite knowing that that’s not what they do.

I want to be important. But import rapidly becomes a negative quality in me. When I start struggling to make myself heard, I am struggling with my own sense of worth. I try to bolster it externally, by convincing others of it. As if their opinion of me could change how I feel about myself.

Sobriety is in large part a journey of serenity. I seek peace of mind first of all. But I’m easily confused. I can convince myself that I will achieve peace of mind by having people agree with me, and value my ideas. But external gratification is a phantom. Being validated is ephemeral. Finding serenity and peace can only be achieved by looking within.

I do not need to convince others of my value, of my opinion. Because I do not need to be right. I do not need to have influence. I am not important, and that’s a good thing. I need to return to my center. My peace is found in recognizing my limits, not striving against others, and doing the good that is available for me to do. And to do that, I need to remove myself from some places that I don’t belong.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 December 2014 17:32

    Such a tough one. I was just speaking with someone who had had a repeat episode of a long-running disagreement with a loved one, and was feeling hurt because it went the same way as it always went. My friend just wanted for her loved one to see things her way…. and I ached for her, because I so desperately want the same thing so often. But we don’t get that, usually ever. We can’t make anybody see it our way. And really, when you think about it, what a huge and ridiculous thing to want! Hey, will you please abandon all your own feelings and perceptions and adopt mine, instead?

    I think wanting others to respect our opinions/artwork/efforts is really the same – wanting to control others perceptions and feelings about us. I think there is a delicate balance to be maintained here, and it’s pretty tricky for someone prone to depression and feelings of worthlessness like I am. “I don’t need to have influence, importance, to be right” is a short step – for me – from “I am unimportant, I am useless, I am wrong.” I also believe that wanting to be loved and to have worth in the eyes of our family and loved ones is a natural and a good thing – it keeps us from being sociopaths, for one thing. I can’t go along with any philosophy that advocates throwing away entirely the desire to be seen as good people or that makes us self-flagellate for having normal human emotions.

    In other words, don’t be so hard on yourself, bro.

  2. psycgirl permalink
    15 December 2014 21:39

    Apologizing in advance for what is going to be a stupidly long comment. There is this concept from the anxiety literature called a “safety behavior” – basically a behavior that someone engages in in order to reduce their anxiety. For example, if someone feels anxious going to a party and that they won’t be able to engage conversation, they prepare practiced conversational bits ahead of time. But the problem with safety behaviors is that ultimately they tend to backfire and actually make the situation worse – so when someone has pre-prepared conversational bits at parties and can’t be flexible, they come across as socially awkward, eliciting the rejection they were worried about.

    Your post reminded me about safety behaviors because I think in your push sometimes to be popular, which I feel comfortable saying because you openly discuss and blog about it pretty often, you sometimes engage in behaviors that just end up pushing people away. You would likely find some spotlight all by yourself if you let go and just lived your life without getting caught up in what these certain people think. Personally, I do respect and want to be around you, but I find pushing-for-popularity Dr 24 harder to be around. I think what I am trying to say is I wish you lots of luck and peace letting this go – because I know how hard it is to change, but I also know that you are pretty awesome just as you are. You do interesting research, you’re dedicated, you’re a good friend, you’re an honest person and one knows where they stand with you. You share your opinions and most of the time you listen to other people (but not when you’re in popularity-seeking mode, in my experience).

    I also wanted to say, I apologize if I was one of the people who doesn’t listen. I know we really got into it last week and we’ve discussed it since then. I do try very hard to listen but sometimes I can have a blind spot, particularly if my own baggage is being pushed too.

    Spending so much time trying to convince others you have value makes me think you need to continue convincing yourself that YOU have value, just the way you are. I hope that my comment makes some sense and says how much I think you do have value, spotlight or no.

  3. Jeff permalink
    18 December 2014 19:24

    i know the desire to be recognized for doing something important but even if you are so amazing to be the best scientist in your field, mostly the people who are told this will say who the hell is that or that’s nice he does good work, no one, except those who already do, will say, I love that guy.

  4. Syd permalink
    20 December 2014 10:35

    I like what I hear in the rooms about not being responsible for what other people think of me. I have come a long way in not worrying so much about the opinions of others. Maybe it just comes with age.

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