Just wondering who here has a tough time being emotionally vulnerable? For me, this issue is the most blaring in my life right now. I have always been a very sensitive and deep feeling person, but I tend to shut down when I am around other people. It is almost like a psychological handicap, and effects my life to a huge degree.
As a young kid, I was pretty open and vulnerable and expressive. I was naturally a leader and people just seemed to be attracted to me. Up until I was about ten, I always was popular with the “normal kids” and also the “cool kids”, and I was the guy that other guys looked up to. I’m not saying this to brag, this is just how I was naturally.
Then, I had a few different experiences where I was kind of crucified and made to be the scapegoat, and faced a lot of social rejection. I’m not saying I didn’t put any of it on myself (I don’t believe that’s ever the case), but It caused me to just go completely inside of myself. I was not the same person. This actually happened a few times (for whatever reason- I always received lots of negative attention from the stereotypical “alpha males,” although I was kind of one myself) and after each time, I retreated more and more into myself.
For many years, I was able to create this sort of facade that would allow me to interact with people and function. I got perfect grades and was even captain of my high school football team, and went on to play in college. But my life became increasingly miserable, and I felt more and more fake. It became too much work and too draining to keep up an image of someone who I’m not. I never wanted to experience rejection again, so I never approached girls I was attracted to, and I never put myself out there. I just became a people pleaser and a nice guy, and let people walk on me. I wanted to be as neutral as possible to receive as little attention as possible. I made myself very small.
While I’m improving (and to the point where I can actually admit this), I rarely, if ever, show other people who I really am. I don’t let people walk on me and I don’t present a fake smiley facade, but I am pretty stoic, and I think I’ve learned to believe it is a sign of weakness to display emotions. I’ve been stuffing my emotions down since I was about ten, and since I am already an emotional person, it just made me feel chronically numb and depressed.
For the past 3-4 years, I have almost been completely alone. I’ve had some “friends,” but I’ve just felt like I am in my own world. I think I have benefitted from this in a lot of ways, as I’ve had a completely unique perspective by not being really part of any group or the culture we live in. Kind of like having an alien perspective, I did not feel apart of “the herd.” This has allowed me to become my own person. whereas if I just always got along with people and was able to express myself and relate, I might not have had the incentive the question the world I live in. So in that sense, I am grateful for the pain and isolation I’ve endured.
But the downside is I have just been on the periphery (I’ve always kind of been this way though), never letting anyone get close enough to me to establish a real relationship, never saying how I really feel, never speaking up when I should, never opening myself up to criticism by trying to be as neutral as possible, never polarizing anyone. While I’m starting to break out of this, it is still the most noticeable issue in my life right now.
Random side note- oddly, and I don’t know why (maybe this is true for everyone) I have the hardest time expressing myself around dominant men and women I think are attractive. I think this has to do with receiving so much rejection from this types of people as a kid.
Anyways, just wondering if anyone has felt this way and can relate, and wants to discuss.
It honestly makes your presence stronger-man or woman. It’s a sign of strength to believe in your personal experience so much that you act on it and make it known. That’s why people are condemned for it, because it is power. It’s THE power. It’s an untamable piece that we aren’t in control of. It moves through you as a signal for what to do with your self. Being cut off from that makes you easier to control. If someone doesn’t nurture your vulnerability, keep trying until you find a source of love for yourself. Don’t let others water you down because they’re afraid of your intensity, and make you afraid of your own tail. Pretending we aren’t vulnerable and need things from others actually cuts you off from receiving anything at all. You become numb and alienated and stop singing your song, which comforts all the people who fear we can’t all sing our songs in the same place at the same time without someone becoming king of the hill. Part of the alpha design is someone who has very particular tastes and refuses anything else. That is needy as fuck. Everyone is their own alpha. Sorry this is scrambled, I hope you can hear what I’m saying
Thanks for your response, Anjelica. It makes perfect sense. Especially this: “Don’t let others water you down because they’re afraid of your intensity.”
I think I’ve been afraid to show people my intensity because of how it had been received in the past, so I just tried to play it safe and stay luke warm.
I think as a kid, I “sang my song” very loudly. I was very polarizing, positively and negatively, which caused me to receive a lot of attention. Being introverted, I didn’t really like the attention too much, especially the negative attention.So I started to repress myself in order to not be seen, causing me to be depressed for many years.
But I think that in order to be happy, I have to be the person who I naturally am and who I was as a kid. Sounds obvious, I know. But there’s some fear involved in that, because I think I am naturally a very polarizing person and attention is drawn to me even though I don’t necessarily want it. Maybe everyone is that way deep down, I don’t know.
I notice that I am starting to feel more like I did as a little kid, the more vulnerable I can be. But I still have a ways to go.
Anyways, thanks for the reply!
I seem to make a lot of people feel very uncomfortable and/or irritated whenever I share my perspective. After years of trying to fit in, and failing horribly, I’ve come up with an explanation.
1. I have no patience for small talk and gossip. I invariably steer mundane everyday conversation towards either the deeply personal or the big profound mysteries of existence.
2. I will openly and cheerfully talk about my deepest fears and insecurities, point out my own ignorances, mistakes, inabilities and prejudices etc…
3. I appear very quiet and shy. I’m perfectly happy to dance all on my own, all night long without talking to a single person, but the next moment I can erupt into passionate discussion and not shut up for hours.
Combine all three and I think you have the perfect recipe for disarming, confusing and intimidating people who take themselves and social life too seriously. This makes some people very defensive, and others it makes outright aggressive. But the important thing to realise is that it’s their problem, not mine. A flower doesn’t feel bad for bearing its glory to the world, and neither should we.
Yeah I think part of my issue is not really that I’m not vulnerable, but I’m not “well-adjusted,” or maybe I chose not to be. I still can pick up on social cues and I know what social norms are, but it’s too painful to engage in small-talk and niceties.
Now that i think about it, most other people are not vulnerable around each other, but the average person definitely expresses more vulnerability than I was able to in the past. But they’re able to engage in superficial small-talk and social niceties because they’re programming was successful.
I think it’s people like us who’s responsibility it is to break through that culturally induced facade in other people. Authenticity is hugely important to me. I’d rather be stoic than be fake. I’d rather be authentic and vulnerable (in appropriate circumstances) than be stoic, but like I said there are fears involved.
I have gone through almost exactly the same kind of transformation, from popular open boy, to secluded pulled back gamergeek (my dad comitted suicide, I started to hide from the world behind the screen), to facade people-pleaser (getting into the working world) and now I’m in the same process as you and all I can say is; keep pushing your limit! Just put whatever you’re feeling out there, and if you’ve done something, stand by it, accept it, don’t try to hide it – it is what it is, you are who you are, it doesn’t define you, it almost never does – self-acceptance has paved the way for my mind to rest and my sociallife to unfold in depth I’d never experienced before – the new friendships I’ve gained after being honest and open I wouldn’t trade for anything, it’s worth whatever struggle you have to go through to get there and yes it can be hard, but just be yourself to the fullest and learn from those very true experiences that, that behaviour will provide! Sometimes you’ll get a pushback, sometimes you’ll get a pad on the back, it isn’t nessesarily about the reaction you get, but the lesson your consciousness learns – in my experience while I still do some retroperspective thoughts about situations, the lessons and insights almost comes automatically, and in the end thinking “I accept myself as I am in this current moment and I continue to develop toward the values that I cherish in this world” has given me the ability to move on and be more presents in the now, letting go of the controls and live life freely while continously learning :-)
Keep doing what you’re doing, you seem on the right path! Before you know it, you’ll realize that even the most dominant men and the most attractive women has concerns of their own and there is nothing in this universe that denies you the right to look any of them right in the eyes and say, this is me! I represent what I find to be good in this world! and whatever you hold of opinion about me, you’re just 1 in 8 billion and there’s no way you can truly know what I am so you don’t hold the ability to judge me…
All the best to you on your journey :-)
Yeah one of the reasons I posted this was because I thought a lot of people could relate to this scenario. Thanks for your response, I feel that I am going through the same process and making the same realizations.
I feel like I’m at a point where it feels worse to play it safe and hide my feelings and emotions than it does to express myself and do things that I’m scared to do and make myself vulnerable. Metaphorically, it’s like life had me backed up against the edge of a cliff and I have no choice but to jump and hope that I fly.
“it feels worse to play it safe and hide my feelings and emotions than it does to express myself and do things that I’m scared to do and make myself vulnerable” – This is exactly the way I feel! :-) I feel I let myself down if I don’t express myself honestly or steer away from a challenge, staying true to oneself and facing challenges head on is what makes me smile when I look in the mirror.. So many dreams I’ve had where I stand on a precipice and choose to jump only to start flying, so yeah it’s a perfect metaphor ;-)
I think we can all relate to the feeling of polarization that accompanies uncertainty. The pervasive doubt that stifles an action or intention after it is barely a thought in your mind. Like others here have said, you are certainly on the right track by acknowledging the problem. If you can be present enough to tell that it does happen, you can be present enough to tell when it happens. Feel the encroaching fear and take the leap anyways. Start small. I promise you, you will survive. Overtime it’ll be less and less frightening to “jump”. Also it is totally fine if you begin to find that who you’re becoming is different than you used to be. It’s evolution, baby! Keep growing, and take care!
Strength and Honor
Thanks. I notice that the things that I want and the things that I fear the most are one and the same. I guess it comes down to what is stronger: my fear or my desire? My fear of rejection by being vulnerable, or the freedom that comes with being able to be honest and express my emotions and desires and intentions?
Try and “fail”, I’d say. The more you do it and realize that you are okay after, the more comfortable you’ll be letting loose. Making an ass our of yourself or being socially awkward are unavoidable in life. No need to stress about being perfect or amazing all the time. You are perfectly imperfect, and the more you accept that, the freer you will be.
I’m noticing lately that when I “bomb” in a social situation and i own up to it ( with love for myself, an important step ), it builds a greater bond with the people I am interacting with. Greater even than whatever strange social maneuver I was attempting in the first place…Cause we’ve all been there and made fools out of ourselves. We love to see reflections of ourselves in others. A fool who knows himself to be the fool is wise.
Woah this is eerie, there are so many things I can relate to very closely. Even the timeline is very similar.
Other than the rejection thing (I’ve never feared it or cared much about it, if someone rejects you it’s their loss. Especially if it’s someone you like, because they just lost someone who likes them and you didn’t) and people-pleasing, it’s very close to the nature and events of my past existence.
Over the last two years I’ve regained my ability to let feelings flow and show, but honestly it hasn’t had much of a positive impact. What I see about it, and will assume applies to you too, is that there is a reason for this state of being that we found/find ourselves in. It’s not really only about fear of the feelings, or of others’ disapproval, but about a deep calling from within. Something that seems inherent to mentally hardened, partially introverted guys in particular. A lot of people would say it’s an issue of self-image, caused by traditional tropes and archetypes, but that’s far from the whole picture.
Some people just have a firm sense of standards for how a human being should be, and what the world should grant, and in the current age most people are doing everything to escape these aspects of reality. As a result, those who stay true feel depraved of true immersion and relatability with the world. Being conscious makes it hard to ignore that feeling that something just isn’t right.
This seems like a recurring theme with a lot of HEthens and other “seekers”. What specific things cause these things within us is hard to pinpoint, and I think it differs a lot between individuals. Letting the feelings flow and show is a step in the right direction, but a lot of people get stuck in that mode of being too, thinking they’ve “arrived” when they’re only partway there.
I for example don’t feel any problems expressing my feelings, but expressing the source of them is harrowing. Hell, I don’t even show myself what it is most of the time, and I don’t know how to.
If you could tell me a bit more about this situation, I think we could help each other, because I feel like we have comparable experiences with this stuff.
As for the side-note, it’s only natural. People you desire, fear or look up to make you more self-aware and careful. It’s an instinct. The people that could fuck you up, or grant you what you desire, are prioritized since interactions with them are more important than with random individuals that wouldn’t have much impact on you.
There’s a great thing about this, on the topic of your problem. If you start opening up a bit more to “less significant” people, or pets or whatever, you could maybe warm up and gain momentum and ease into a more expressive mode of existence.
Do you find that throughout your life, you’ve been kind of a magnet/scapegoat for the collective group around you? Like everyone projects their shit onto you, and then you convince yourself that it’s all just you since everyone’s blaming you. I don’t know why, but I always seemed to take on the role of being crucified in the past.
I’m actually pretty good at feeling feelings when I’m alone. When I get around other people I tend to wall up, since it’s my experiences with other people that caused me trauma in the past. Not as much anymore though. I can at least enjoy my experiences with certain individuals now because I can be somewhat vulnerable and express myself. There was a period in time when I literally hated interacting with anyone.
I agree with you that there is something more to experiencing the world this way, if only it is to give you a deeper sense of yourself. My life has been a series of extremes, especially early on. As I got older, I started forcing myself to stay in the middle. While most people live their whole lives in the middle, never really experiencing any extremes, so they just get normal jobs and live normal lives based on the dictates of other people. Experiencing the extremes is how you snap out of the dream that most people are stuck in. So I think it has an overall positive purpose. I think it has given me the courage to now be able to do things that most well-adjusted, normal people could not do. It has also given me incite and perspective and the ability to see through all the games most normal, well-adjusted people are duped by, as I was never really a part of the culture I lived in.
As for telling me about my situation… I had a well-intentioned but weak father-figure who experienced a lot of bad trauma early in his life from his father, and I think this caused him to repress his masculine characteristics because he equated masculinity with his father. I am a naturally very masculine person, but those qualities were not cultivated in me, so I never really learned how to stand up for myself, be assertive, etc. I learned more about that stuff from my mom. But a women cannot substitute for a father. He’s also a psychiatrist, and I think he tries to numb people of pain because that’s what he did to himself. We talk, but our relationship is pretty strained.
I used to resent him SOO much, but recently it’s gotten better because I’m not as much a slave to his conditioned patterns.
There was a point in my life where I was so close to being completely beaten into submission, and something just felt completely wrong about it. And it seemed like everyone else just accepted it and was fine with it (because at least they had the outlet of being able to fit into the herd), but I felt extremely depressed for years. Isolated and alone in my perceptions and what I was seeing around me. There were always a few people who got bits and pieces, but for the most part I just felt alone. Things felt hopeless for a while. Still do sometimes. I think that goes along with the point you made about feeling that something just is not right.
I can certainly relate to the scapegoat thing. I was blamed for everything to the point where I almost became social pariah. I never gave in to it, except for the blame within the family.
I did take on the crucified role though, but in a different sense. I turned it into a strength, a tool. Leveraged it to a position of power and respect. And when you’re already demonised regardless of action, you can do anything. It doesn’t matter.
I’ve always felt things more when I’m alone so I always distracted myself. Books, video games and drugs kept me from drowning in frustration. I also had an episode of hating interactions, and I’ve also gotten better at expressing myself. But I still struggle with relating to normalcy, and not getting mad at the duped. And I still feel a staggering lack of excitement in life, even when I’m having great times.
I think people read too much into the parenting aspect. My dad was definitely a strong male figure, but old and worn out by intense highs and lows. And possibly too dad-ish, I’m his fifth kid.That could be why I’ve always been seen as too mature for my age. My mother was a real stoic carrying a lot of suppressed pain, but also very passive aggressive, and smothering. They were both very firm with things like common sense and decency. Things which, unfortunately, make you an outsider in modern society.
My family and friends are definitely the kind of people who just accept the hollowness and lack. They’re very zen, laidback, content. But most of them have had a fair amoubt of good stuff in life, and I’ve had very little. And it’s rare that I meet someone who isn’t just “fine with it”, or who gets it. But every now and then there’s a spark of understanding compassion.
There’s never been a shortage of compassion and affection from girls, but due to the lack of understanding and ability to relate, I’ve been very numb to it.
Life is action, but society is passive. It’s a flaw in the collective ego. It acts as a compressor to maintain the status quo. The deeper your urge and ability to do things and change things, the more discouraged and isolated you become. As a result, the weak-minded people are the only ones who get to follow their bliss.
“The deeper your urge and ability to do things and change things, the more discouraged and isolated you become.”
I definitely agree. Also, the more resistance you get from the collective ego. I think people who receive the most resistance are the ones who are meant to do the biggest things. It’s almost like it’s trying to beat you down because it sees you as a threat to its existence.
I’m starting to view all my trials, my years of depression and numbness, as tests. While vulnerability is still an issue for me, I am starting to feel like I can handle more than most people can, because I know what pain is.
And yeah I get what you mean about people who are just fine with how everything is. “So quick to take to grain, like some old mule.”
It’s like they’re biggest dreams are having a nice, safe, secure white collar job that provides them with money to buy entertainment and food. That literally is slavery to me though, just in a slightly different disguise than past forms. I don’t know how other people don’t see it, and better yet view it as the pinnacle of human achievement- to just be some interchangeable functionary in a vast machinery.
Without any role models around telling me there was another way, I became weary and my life felt meaningless, because I thought that the white collar, domesticated slave existence was as good as it gets. I couldn’t articulate this to myself at the time, obviously, but I think that was partly what caused me so much misery and why school felt meaningless to me.
I don’t know how this relates to my vulnerability issues, but somehow it does. It’s like the guys who feel this way, who are very few and far between, never really feel that they are apart of society. And the collective ego is always trying to beat them into submission because they are a threat to its survival just by their mere existence, and it makes us guarded and kind of distanced from the rest of society because the ego works through the unconscious masses.
Yeah they try to hold you down because they fear how you’d like to open the doors they do not care for. They don’t want to open the door, but they don’t want someone else to get through the door and see something they can’t.
Most people don’t really want to understand things, but rather just be convinced that what they believe is true. Even the people who are the most addicted to their comfort zone know that going outside of it is the way of power, so they want to keep others in a comfort zone as well so they can slack off and not fall behind. It’s the most pathetic thing about humans.
The followers of isms are just that, people who don’t want to partake in the game of life, yet want to somehow remain in the race. So they lay traps for everyone else.
I also view the struggles of life as trials by fire. I know I can handle more than most, and people even tell me so all the time. No pain, no gain, it’s the essence of life. A lot of people may at first seem very successful or admirable when they chase their own tails, but in the long run it becomes evident who’s the master and who’s the fool. This world is for underdogs.
I honestly don’t understand why people try so hard to seek out vulnerability though. It’s just that, vulnerability. It can do more harm than good if you’re misguided or surrounded by ignorance.
The normal state of mental and emotional performance, is to me what the white collar is to you (and to me).
Role models are good to have, and I’ve had some that weren’t awful, but in the end it comes down to awareness and will power. Plenty of people are surrounded by good role models, but it’s wasted on them. Plenty of people have made it from the bottom to the top without a single good role model. The shoes don’t make the runner. Influences are mere boosts, not a major part of a person’s success or character.
I never felt like a part of society, but never had any desire to be either. The masses are blind mostly by choice. They fear the forces of existence. I think we all do, at least I do very much, but the difference is that we don’t focus on hiding from it. We don’t go crazy when we’re not constantly distracted.
Most of all I guess it’s about handling oneself. I think that’s what people really fear more than anything else, their own true presence.
When the abyss stares back at you, stare it down.
I don’t think I’m seeking out vulnerability. I just feel drawn towards being more honest and open in my communication, and worrying less about how it’s going to be perceived and interpreted by other people. My stoicism and distancing from people, even the mindless masses, is stifling me.
Most of the time it seems, the idea that our big worries are about people’s interpretation of our expressions, is an illusion. When you surpass that worry, you’ll usually find that all along there was a bigger worry which is all about self-awareness. That the worry about the outside reception was a minor issue, and living up to the calling of one’s soul is the real harrowing aspect of life.
Authenticity is a tricky thing. Going for immediate authenticity often makes you a shadow of your full self, and in the long run may cut you off from it a lot more and make you feel detached from all that is really you. And trying to be less distanced just or the sake of less distance, is often inauthentic as a lot of us are just meant to be more solitary.
“When I was young, I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered… and when others would tease me, I didn’t run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized.”
Almost brings a tear to my eye how much I can relate to that. Except for that as a little kid, I did have a very strong sense of myself. But I lost it as I got older, to the point where I just become a shell of my former self.
How can you say these things and find the idea that we focus more on feelings to be laughable in the masculine archetype thread? I don’t understand how those wires don’t cross in your perspective. The source of your problems and the solution is found within the knowledge of feeling it. The toughest thing one can do is feel their whole self without shying away from the intensity both negative and positive. It is a very refined skill. I understand not wanting to feel stuck in some sort of powerless feeling for the sake of feeling “aunthentic”, but if you keep going towards your center of authenticity that stage passes if you’ve been brave enough to see it through. You have to hit bottom to rebound, and while the waves grow in intensity on the way down they do on the way up too. That might seem bipolar or too messy but life is an evolution, destruction and creation.
Nuances, Anjelica. There are nuances, contexts, degrees of things.
Annnd, you’re making a straw man.
When it comes to the “crossing wires”, first of all I’m saying society/people in general are way too obsessed with feelings. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t individuals or types of people who need more feeling. Furthermore, the obsession with feelings is not the sensitivity itself, but the tendency to let feelings draw conclusions or form beliefs or propel action.
Feeling the problem is only part of a solution if you apply actual solution abilities (logic, intuition, objectivity, etc.) and don’t let the feelings run the show.
Feel the whole self is the toughest thing one can do? Say that after you’ve been in war, or prison, or slavery. It’s a pretty tough thing, but far from the toughest.
This exaggerated focus on feelings is not authentically human, it’s a very fragmented existence. There are times and places or different approaches. Resistance, acceptance, submission, brute force; they’re all parts of the human experience, especially on the inside I would say. Embracing it all is authenticity.
You have a good point, but feeling is only a part of it. And it’s not the main one.
You have to actually perform, mentally and physically, at very high levels. It’s exhausting, and it’s dangerous. Getting killed or injured, losing your land or your people being taken, is what makes it tough.
You know, actual danger, actual damage and stress. It’s equally taxing on psychopaths, aspies, macho apes, and others who don’t feel much.
I don’t have to say it, but I like to. It doesn’t mean competition or defiance. It’s an invitation.
Touché is not a call to animosity. Competition is a small fragment of the art. It’s fun, invigorating, constructive, it’s useful. All kinds of sparring are. Only a fool is in it just to win.
Why do you assume the worst of me?
And no, we’re not saying the same thing. But we do have common points.
Solution abilities require feeling too. Finding your way instinctually, whether through logic, objectivity etc. all require that you check in with your conscience about what is actual reality. I think what what makes sense is indicated always by a feeling state. When I talk about feelings I’m not just talking about the magnitude of what things mean to us. I’m talking about a way of being guided that runs through your body, rather than your mind. When people use only logic without checking their conscience then choices can be made which are stupid. I think the conscience speaks completely in feelings.
And yes, those examples are more urgent than being depressed in bed or a family drama but I don’t think that the intensity is always so different depending on your consciousness and how far you are willing to accept what the meaning of the event is. When we allow ourselves to feel what things mean, the subtle nuances grow in our recognition. You point out the horrors of the subtle world all the time on the forum. Other people see those things as no big deal, because they don’t feel what things mean.
You say solution abilities require feelings, as you’re communicating through a device whose main purpose is solutions. An inanimate object, made out of plastic and metal, heartlessly and mirthlessly solving things most people could not, in a split second.
Stupid choices can be made in a million ways. With or without logic. With or without emotion.
Conscience cannot be purely emotional, its purpose and source is, but the process itself draws almost entirely on logic. Most of our conscience comes from social cues and conventions, coloured by religion and politics.
Another great piece of evidence is how most of us think killing is wrong, but can find hundreds of specific justifications or even incentives.
What do you mean when you say accepting the meaning of an event?
I’m not so sure I feel what things mean. My perception of those “horrors” is simply emotion and logic, I rarely read into any potential meaning beyond personal reason. What would such meaning be?
I don’t know if horrors like mine or yours or mike’s even exist to the typical person, or if ours are even that similar. Assuming that personal things apply to everyone or a great number of people is unwise, especially for strange ones like us.
Been there and done that on the female side of things. What I can tell you is, that you cannot shut yourself out of this world. You are missing what it is to actually be alive. Love. Not so much the love of another human being, but the love of yourself. When you truly love you, every single flaw, there is nothing you can’t do. When you truly love you, all aspects of you, you will then attract the right person/people to you. God/Source gave us all this. But search yourself for you. Learn to love and accept yourself and the whole of the world will open to you in a way you never imagined. It will be exceptionally hard to find that right person without loving you first too. It takes time and meditation. When you get that true sense of self love, you will walk around with a silly grin on your face, things will start making more and more sense. The Bible and love are amazing together, the cosmos as a whole are as well. You can then begin to see how it all fits perfectly together. Be blessed. You need only take what has been promised to you by God. Be blessed, seek and you will find.
I, too, often HATE becoming vulnerable to others. This must stem from being a people-pleaser. I am finding that most of my worries regard my fear to be.. well.. rejected. I am insecure. Very much so, & definitely more so at this point in my life. I think most of us are. I believe when I become OK with myself, I will then be able to easily share myself with others, completely, non-apologetically. I guess all the hype is right.. we really do need to love ourselves first after all. That way, we don’t NEED others to for us. We don’t need to worry about receiving GRATIFICATION from anyone else. Once you know yourself and are secure with who you are, then that will be enough.
“Once you know yourself and are secure with who you are, then that will be enough. “
Yeah I guess at that point your sense of self is more dominant than other people’s perception of you, so you can act based on your own sense of self rather than living up to other people’s judgments of you.
I feel like I’ve made an art of confronting vulnerability, so I have some more things to comment. The vulnerable aspects of us all are pieces that have been uncultivated by love. The reason we are afraid to expose them is because we see these as reasons that love isn’t for us. So we settle for fake love, conditional upon the traditional mask of of fake equanimity that is cold and stoic and creates an illusion of safety for us in the community. Going all the way into our shadow is the way to transcend it, but you don’t have to expose it to others to confront it fully. You can start by confronting it privately. If you can bare the density of your own unmet needs for love then you can move forward, hopefully to go on and expose those things to others and make them brave enough to share too. Everyone’s boundaries are different and I wouldn’t suggest exposing yourself to everyone, but believing that there are people to receive you appropriately is a step towards finding them.
However, the weight of our individual vulnerability is more than one person should ever have to carry. Feeling it authentically often drives us to reach out because we have to. And if you get people one on one they are usually more capable of nurturing you than they appear to be in a group. A lot of good work can be done if you just look for who is in a similar consciousness as you and reveal your self.
“The vulnerable aspects of us all are pieces that have been uncultivated by love. The reason we are afraid to expose them is because we see these as reasons that love isn’t for us. “
I don’t understand what you’re saying here. Could you try to explain it in a different way?
I do get what you mean about the social masks we put up to get validation from the community. To a large extent, I think I’ve stopped wearing a social mask. This has actually gotten me more negative attention than positive, but it still feels more authentic and better than the validation I’d get from trying to live up to social standards.
And that last part about believing there are people to receive my vulnerability hits home. I have believed for a long time that there was literally no one. That if I was to present myself as I actually am, I would just get mocked or laughed at or whatever by anyone and everyone.
I think this partially has to do with the fact that anytime I’ve tried to express emotions around my parents, they think I’m crazy or dysfunctional and need to be medicated, and that something is “wrong” with me. So I just shut everything off with them. And I think not having that family outlet had been a big problem.
So basically, I’ve kind of been living in this no man’s land- the fake social mask requires too much energy to uphold, yet allowing myself to be myself puts me at risk of being rejected, misunderstood, laughed at or mocked. So I’ve just avoided relationships with people, and kind of maintained this zen-like stoicism.
This could be interpreted in a cynical way, but I feel like in order to really start living, you can’t be afraid of being hated.
It’s not cynical. It’s very pure to keep your self-image within your power regardless of how alienated you may be.
What I mean is that the vulnerable pieces are hidden because they go unembraced by the people around us. So we start to believe that they don’t deserve to be embraced, cared for, or tended to with sensitivity. The word sensitivity itself is frowned upon, as if it is some sort of defect as opposed to the instinct for truth and connection that it is.
It has as much to do with the mother figure as the father. We are completely in our mother’s power in the most formative years of our life. They decide which cries are answered, and because we depend on them for survival we equate what goes uncared for with what pieces of reality are acceptable to acknowledge. When we perceive things in our inner reality that authorities in our external world don’t validate, we have to eliminate those things from our definiton of reality to gain acceptance from our families and friends. But this is actually the least friendly or parental thing you could is deny the reality of a person. It’s really sad. But it’s also clear to me how to heal and prevent it so I don’t feel as stuck anymore. Like Ellie said I think writing is a great way to contact the inner world that get stifled. I’ve had relationships with people where we just exchanged all that complicated self-exploration in writing and it helped me grow a lot.
This is so true. Especially in typical male culture. I was just playing basketball with some guys yesterday, and I noticed how much I lock myself up and try not to express my emotions around them. It’s around these types of people that I feel most insecure, and around these types of people that sensitivity is most demonized. It’s around these types of people that I grew up.
It’s not just parents who cause these issues either. It’s also the culture. In my case, it’s probably the culture I grew up in, and life experiences as a youth, more than my parents influence, that “caused” (I know I have the power to change, and I am doing so) me to not want to express vulnerability around other people.
The combination of being born as an extremely sensitive and inwardly focused person, combined with my natural disposition towards competition and typically “masculine” outward pursuits, led to all the complications I’ve had. In our culture, it’s tough to fit into both worlds. It’s either one or the other. Most people are lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to fit into one or the other.
It’s weird, I go back and forth on the role my parents have had in my previous lack of ability to express myself and my power around others. I think that part of the reason why as a kid I was sensitive, expressive, and masculine simultaneously is because I had good parents who fostered these dualing qualities and allowed them to grow naturally. The issue is that if you are like this, once you enter into the cultural world, you are going to have problems.
Looking back on my life, I see how it all seems to synchronistically fit together. It’s like the perfect storm of conditions were created to give me these painful experiences, which for many years emotionally (and physically) stunted my growth and maturation and isolated me from the rest of the world, but now are causing me to grow and expand at accelerated rates. I bet everyone on HE can relate.
Read this entire post and you sound like the kind of person who would be great to have real conversations with. Couldn’t agree more on the bit about authenticity and a bunch of other stuff you said! I have some thoughts if you are interested. In my personal experience (I’ll keep this short) a huge part of my growth was getting rid of the idealized version of my parents and seeing them for who they really were. For me, seeing the truth allowed me to start accepting my self. I’m not saying you have bad parents or that I know the truth of your situation. But I find it curious in one post you say you can’t express yourself to your parents and they make you feel crazy/wrong and then say that they were good parents who cultivated positive traits when you were young. Its possible that questioning your believes about your parents could be beneficial.
Hey thanks for your reply. I definitely do see my parents in a less idealized way than I used to. Until recently, I could only see their negative qualities. And then suddenly I’m able to see all these positive qualities that I had been overlooking before, and now I actually feel kind of guilty and sad at how I’d been treating them for the past few years. Like my dad is one of the kindest people I have ever met. But I used to just see his flaws and weaknesses, and somehow could not see how kind he is.
And my mom definitely raised strong children, and is a strong lady herself. They both really did sacrifice a lot for me. And yes, they are still flawed, and still conditioned in a lot of ways. But they are good people. I used to resent them because a lot of their conditioned patterns were also in me. But as I get over those things, I have more understanding and compassion for them, as opposed to animosity.
And I think the reason why I have struggled so much over the years is because I refused to be broken by my culture. Instead of just being a happy slave, I was a miserable one. But if I wasn’t miserable, I wouldn’t have ever know that anything was wrong and would have never started to question the culture around me.
Hey. No problem. You sound like the kind of person i always find myself wishing there were more of in the world. Brave, self aware and honest, among many other positive things.
It’s very interesting reading your perspective because I agree with so much of what you say but we come to different conclusions.
I used to only see the positives in my parents and held them as a standard for how people should be. They were not however, which is when i went through a stage of anger towards them and i only saw their negative traits. Later on, I was able to accept them for who they really were. I started to accept the fact that they weren’t the parents I wanted/needed/deserved but they were well intentioned and human. My experience sounds like the opposite of yours. When I was able to accept and stop blaming my parents for my faults and negative experience of life I was able to take accountability for myself.
Side note: i like the way you are able to express the positive side effects your painful upbringing gave you. Whether true or not I believe that my suffering (depression for 10+ years) has given me the opportunity to see things most can not.
You’ve been pretty thorough in explaining your beliefs about society so I don’t want you to re-explain. I am curious why you believe society is so much too blame for your experience and not another factor?
What would your life have been like if before/during/after the traumatic and painful experiences in your childhood that were responsible for you creating a facade, completely understandably so, you didn’t feel crazy/wrong for being your authentic self?