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Sometimes, we let someone else's words take over our lives. If someone tells us our shirt is ugly, some of us would never wear it again. If someone tells us our teeth are crooked, some of us would never smile fully ever again. If someone tells us the way we spoke was weird, some of us would never speak again. We'd change and we'd hide to please them, because we want to fit in. But, fitting in is cliche and overrated. Be who you truly are, because that is originality. And originality will always work for you.

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I've found one of the nicest things about growing older is that you care less and less about what others think of you. At least that's what I'm finding.

You have just captured what "peer pressure" is all about - allowing the herd to dictate and decide who and what you should be - which means or interprets to be "fitting in" or "blending in." And Phil nailed it - the older you get the less you care about what others think. What you yourself thinks about you is all that matters. If you can find a place of contentment with who and what you are, then those who don't, won't, or can't accept that will just be SOL!

@freespeechfreelancer You have just captured what "peer pressure" is all about - allowing the herd to dictate and decide who and what you...

When does that start happening? That i stop caring i mean. I can't wait. No, really, i can't wait any longer

@Kumquat When does that start happening? That i stop caring i mean. I can't wait. No, really, i can't wait any longer

Even through high school it applied for me. I was always a "loner" and did not seek my approval or self worth from what others thought. But it really kicks in around your late 20's to early 30's. By my age, you are completely over the hill and there is no turning back. Of course, this is my personal opinion and someone else will probably tell you something different. The sooner you realize that with every person alive you get a differing opinion, the sooner you can realize you must live to please yourself first. If you live to please and suit others, then you will always be jumping through hoops and never meet up to all the expectations.

@freespeechfreelancer Even through high school it applied for me. I was always a "loner" and did not seek my approval or self worth from...

Well i may be my own biggest enemy here. I think the biggest problem is what i assume others think of me. I think my negative opinions about myself dictate this and so i'm always down on myself and hateful towards myself. I need to change my view of myself. Somehow.

@Kumquat Well i may be my own biggest enemy here. I think the biggest problem is what i assume others think of me. I think...

I don't know where my negative opinion of myself started. I think i was happy up through second grade. After that i moved with my family to another city and in third grade i made a friend and i was happy with having just the one friend. Then i switched schools again for fourth grade onward. I kind of made a friend there, but we didn't get along as well as the friend in third grade. I think in fourth grade is where i started noticing i didn't "fit in" and that really messed with my head. All the other kids were talking about how awesome these movies and video games were that i never heard of. Everyone was either more athletic, more charismatic, funnier or smarter than me, i was a loner and the plainest kid. i wasn't socially smart enough to either make myself fit in or truly not care. So from fourth grade through my junior year in that school i kind of hung out on the fringes of the social group of that "kind of friend" i made in fourth. No one really bullied me too badly. The kids poked fun at me a little bit when i was the easy target but i had no reason to assume they didn't like me, all i knew was that i didn't fit in. After that year which was my last at that school, by some miracle, someone who i had managed to share a few laughs with reconnected with me over Myspace. She invited me to go hang out with her social group and i made some real friends...i like to think. I was the only one with a car...but i guess i just wanted to fit in so bad i went along with it anyways and got along fairly well. So then i started school my senior year at the same school my friend from third grade went to. But by that time we had grown apart and i was too socially awkward to join into his social group so i became a real lone wolf at that school. It was like i didn't even exist, no one noticed me. Outside of school though i would spend as much time as i could with my new "friends" from the previous summer. I was still incredibly awkward and so i didn't talk much at all. Eventually that would end that "friendship". That lasted maybe three years but i couldn't seem to learn how to be "normal" so i wound up having a huge falling out with them because of my "abnormal" behavior. We were young and didn't figure out how to fix this issue. We never spoke again. It's now been about 5 or 6 years since then and i continually shut myself in when i'm not at work and can't for the life of me figure out how to overcome my social anxiety. I can't be around people in social situations without completely shutting down with anxiety. I can't seem to appear "normal" enough to not give off apparent "psychopathic" vibes (but this could be in my head) all i know is i can't carry on a conversation so i stand awkwardly and quietly. And say all the wrong things when i'm forced to talk.

I'm sorry this comment was more for myself than to garner any response. I guess i know now where i really started being odd and holding a negative view of myself. If anyone has any insight or anything to say about this, please go for it. I'm impressed if anyone reads it all though it's so long and angsty...

@Kumquat I don't know where my negative opinion of myself started. I think i was happy up through second grade. After that i...

I certainly don't have all the answers, but this is one of the most heartfelt comments I have read in a long long time. I can relate and it connected with me hugely. These are the kinds of things I personally connect with - when someone shares and speaks from their heart and soul - not from a surface b.s. facade.
You are NOT abnormal or worthless. And clearly you are not a psychopath (unless you are plotting to hack a bunch of people in to pieces or go on a mass shooting spree). I am not a psychologist either, but it does sound like YOU are YOUR worst enemy in this case. I see you doing to yourself emotionally what many young people do to themselves physically. You are compulsively obsessing on what you perceive to be your flaws and negative points. There are young people who forever obsess about that ONE zit, the ears or nose that may be a little too big, the smaller breasts, the need to wear glasses, the wrong belly button, the crooked teeth, the imperfect smile, the being too short or too tall....................the list of physical "defects" goes on and on.
I see you doing the same thing emotionally and socially. Unless every person you have ever met has come right out and told you the things you "perceive" about yourself, then you have projected those things on and against your own image.
You appear to have a struggle with self esteem, and this can be worked on by reading good books addressing the issue. You can probably find some free stuff online by Googling "Improving self esteem."
What you need to stay busy doing is focusing on your strengths and positive points. What are you really good at? What do you love doing? What have you excelled in in school and done well in? Have you received any recognitions for anything you have done in school? What are your physical strong points? I know for certain by reading your comment that you are sharp, smart, articulate, sensitive, and have a very strong emotional base. You don't have to have lots (or any) of friends or be a socialite to have self worth and value. Just being YOU is valuable and deserving of worth.
Would love to continue this conversation if you would. Hang in there. Life is a series of peaks and valleys.

@freespeechfreelancer I certainly don't have all the answers, but this is one of the most heartfelt comments I have read in a long long...

I think What i worry about a lot in social situations is saying something to make someone dislike me or think i'm creepy or some kind of weirdo. I'm afraid of that because if someone gets this impression of me they are more likely to make my life harder for me; tease me, crack jokes at my expense, mock me, and so on. i've never been able to shake that off to well internally. I can play it off externally by laughing along with their jokes but every time something or someone embarasses me it goes as far as me not being able to sleep that night.
People have outright told my they are afraid of me or that i seem like the guy who will snap and shoot up the building (see my old post about quiet kids).
On the other hand, at work it took many years for people to get to know me well enough to not think those things but now they seem to like me well enough and they pay me compliments and are generally pretty friendly towards me. still i get this instinctual reaction around most of them that makes me nervous and blocks any thought processes i may have. As i've said i can't carry on a conversation and it's partly because of this and partly because i really have nothing to talk about. I'm afraid of asking people about themselves because i don't know what's too personal and what's socially acceptable.

I don't really know what i like to do. I've tried various hobbies and activities and nothing really stuck. I spend all my down time playing video games, watching tv, and occasionally reading a fictional novel. Whenever i've tried doing something different i'd get this incredibly anxious feeling in my stomache. I don't know what it is but i guess it's a feeling like i'm not accomplishing anyting or something to do with my perception of time passing by. I guess games, tv, and some books provide a safe escape for me.

Sometimes i'm completely ok with being alone but more often i really want to be comfortable around people and have real friends.

@Kumquat I think What i worry about a lot in social situations is saying something to make someone dislike me or think i'm...

I can tell you have no trouble "talking" at least in the printed form. We are carrying on a conversation just fine. You display intelligence and a self awareness. I actually converse better in writing than I do in person, and always have. I would much rather write my thoughts than speak them.
Personally, I was always an introvert growing up. I was extremely short for my age (under 5' until a senior) and then shot up the 2nd semester of my senior year. I tried wrestling my freshman year and only weighed 97 pounds! I am now 6'2", but still view myself as short because of all the humiliation and teasing I got for being short. I also wore glasses and was called every name associated with that - "four eyes, bottle cap lenses, blind bat, Mr. Magoo". And I have a last name that lended itself to even more ridicule and fun making - Harris. From that, I was called "hair ass, hairy, hair less" - just to mention the most obvious. I was never popular in school, and we moved very often while I was growing up. This makes it impossible to put down any roots or to make any lasting relationships. I went to 4 elementary schools and 5 high schools. To this day, I do not have one single friendship or long lasting relationship that resulted from all of my schooling.
As for talking in social settings - I learned that people are FOR you as long as you go with the flow so to speak. Most social interacting is very surface and superficial at best. It also seems that as long as you have things going for yourself, that others are more FOR you and willing to "hang around" with you. If you have money, booze, a car, drugs, or whatever a group is in to, then they enjoy being around you and benefiting from your good fortune. But let the chips turn, and many (if not most) of them disappear. There is an old saying that states "a friend is the one left standing beside you when everyone else has walked away." And that is something that I know very little about experientially.
I finally decided in my early 30's to stop guarding every word I say just to please whomever. I realized that most people around me say exactly what they wish to say, so why should it be any different for me? I see and hear things every day I am alive that I like and dislike, but that does not stop them from occurring. Whether I do or don't say anything, others will continue speaking their mind. The same is true of actions and behaviors by/of others - regardless of what I do or don't do, they will continue doing what they wish to do. I decided to just get in the mix. Maybe that fits the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach to life. I am not saying I wanted to "go along to get along," but rather I wanted to just start participating in the process rather than going to a corner and hiding.
You are as valuable as any other person alive. No one is better than you are, and your thoughts, words, and life are just as important as theirs. I am curious as to why you think people view you as "creepy" or a "weirdo." Do you give them cause to think or feel that way? Are you covered in piercings and wearing solid black every day? Do you intentionally seek to appear to be a zombie or ghoul? If not, then it would be hard to imagine anyone just assuming you are a monster with hideous qualities.
One suggestion I have to help with your own inner dealings is to start keeping a diary/journal. Maybe you already do, but it is a great release mechanism and very self revealing. I kept one for years until I felt I did not "need" it to get me through. But I still write many of my thoughts on pieces of paper and then put them in a running file on my computer.
I never got in to video games as a release. Growing up, we played the pin ball games. We got good enough that we could go to the video arcades and play as long as we wanted from just one quarter. Those were the days! I will never forget the loud pop the game would make when you won a free game. Reading is a great way to escape and you can project many of your own feelings and emotions in to the characters you are reading about. Movies can help us view the realities and complexities of life as well, but some times they portray things in a way that is beyond reality [i.e. sex scenes that are always passionate reckless abandon, relationships that are trouble or drama free, etc.].
Finally, another huge form of self therapy is to volunteer somewhere that you can HELP others who are less fortunate than yourself. There are countless missions, nursing homes, schools, hospitals, recovery centers, etc. that would love to have someone come in and read, visit with, and seek to comfort someone who is hurting or recovering. I have found that by putting your efforts and energies in to OTHERS, it takes the focus off of yourself and makes you realize you don't have it nearly as bad as you might have thought. Seeing someone smile just because you cared is priceless and it does wonders for the inner being.

@freespeechfreelancer I can tell you have no trouble "talking" at least in the printed form. We are carrying on a conversation just fine...

There's no way i would talk to anyone i know in person about these things and expect them to want to listen to it. I have no other topics of discussion.
I have been thinking about finding volunteer work. I figure it would give me conversation points.
I still get the feeling that people think i'm creepy because i've been told on multiple occasions that my quiet nature is offputting.
I need to try and get out of my comfort zone more although it's really tough because of my instinctive reactions. As soon as i get out in public i feel like a fish out of water and i want to be invisible. No matter how much i think at home about how i'm going to try and talk to people i just shut down when i'm out and around the people i really want to talk to. I need to learn how to bring up topics of discussion in a way that doesn't seem abrupt or like it's an interview i guess. I don't know how to converse with people in a smooth flowing way at all. Usually people ask questions that lead to more questions, right? Whenever i ask something and they respond i can't think of something else to say other than "oh" or "cool". Then at some point making some sort of plans to "hang out" is supposed to come into play. At what point is that expected? And how i'm expected to offer an invite, I don't know. I get invites every once in a while but i instinctively decline because i'm really used to screwing something up in a really embarassing way. It seems to happen much more frequently than not when i'm actively out of my comfort zone. Things don't play out well for me. I get that it takes practice, but these embarassing memories really plague my mind and they just keep stacking up. It's hard for me to get out and when i do i embarass myself. It's always something like i accidentally hurt someone or i say something inappropriate or unwittingly push someone's boundaries too far. I can't control it, something goes wrong unless i'm really lucky. But i need to keep trying....

@Kumquat There's no way i would talk to anyone i know in person about these things and expect them to want to listen to it...

You are proving to be out of my realm of expertise. I have given you pretty much the most and best of what I can offer or suggest. You seem to be in a place of fairly deep despair, and I am not blaming you for it, but do know it is not healthy for you.
I can offer to be a friend and somewhat of a confidant. If you care to go in to a private message mode or even an email foremat, let me know. And in this setting, it is the same as talking to someone "in person" - because anyone caring to read this is in on what you are saying and/or feeling. I only say this to show that you can and are saying what you are to others. It may not be exactly the same as talking it out verbally, but you are communicating it at least.
Hope is a wonderful thing, and yes, never stop trying.

@freespeechfreelancer You are proving to be out of my realm of expertise. I have given you pretty much the most and best of what I can...

I appreciate what you're doing here, i'm sorry i didn't think to show a bit of appreciation a little earlier. The things you've said here are pretty helpful, i just need to find my way through this. I really do appreciate you taking you're time here

@Kumquat I appreciate what you're doing here, i'm sorry i didn't think to show a bit of appreciation a little earlier. The...

Whatever I can do, will be glad to. I have a big heart and a bigger ear! I have been to the bottom of the bottom and could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will share anything I can with you, and if just being a good listener helps, then I am there. I will talk with you about anything you care to discuss or share. Hang in there.

there's good in it, too

like when someone says your shirt looks nice
so you wear it frequently

or that you have nice gums wary smilie
so you smile more often

or that you have a smooth voice
so you decide to be less wary of speaking out

likewise
one can find good peer pressure

It's a nice thought, all I'd say to that is that you should always respect criticism when sincere, even if it offends you. Arguing over it IS still respecting it. Et cetera.

That's true. Luckily, I learned that at a young age.

The Dali Lama said; Compassion, hold it close to your heart, what we're taught that is important, may require a viewpoint outside the common consensus of contemporized definitions of self importance...Therefore be of good cheer, the cruelty of words are exactly that! Opinions, there's millions of them what's someone else's compared to another?

People are followers for the most part. We are so much happier when we don't carry the burden of living up to what/who others think we should be.

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