If you are lonely, unhappy with yourself, suffer from social anxiety, needy then this post is for you.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I do not claim to have all the answers. Your suffering may be entirely different from mine. I am just an ordinary man who used to suffer immensely and has managed to move passed that.
I used to suffer from a lot of depression. I suffered for 30 years (my whole life). I was always a bit of an outcast, different from other people. I always had trouble making friends. I had dependent relationships with women which have all led to failure, pain, and suffering.
I was an extremely needy individual. I depended the validation of others. On my own I was never happy. I needed that reinforcement to feel good. It seemed that chasing happiness was an endless struggle. I was very anxious, and believed that I had suffered from social anxiety (I had even gone on meds on a couple occasions).
I guess you can say that the majority of my depression was a result of the relationships (or lack thereof) I had with others. I wasn't content with myself and was afraid of being alone.
I tried very hard to fit in. I was made fun of for being "unique", for being strange, nerdy, etc. I was ashamed of who I was. I thought that I had to become something different or change before others could like me or accept me.
A majority of the pain would come from comparing myself to others, worrying too much about the future (this was a big one), trying to impress others, resisting my current emotional state, trying too hard, setting expectations too high for myself, not being "myself" in social situations (or trying to be something other than I who I was), looking for happiness.
Then one day I had a talk with one of my friends. He said something to me I'll never forget. He said, "Bro, your problem is that you've become outcome dependent. You have these high expectations and you've become depressed because you have set unrealistic goals." He also went on to say, "If you continually compare yourself to others you will forever be an unhappy man."
That day I would forever change. I no longer suffer, I love who I am, I am no longer needy.
There are a number of other realizations that I had a long the way, in fact a great number of them, but I could go on and on, so I will only discuss a couple of the big things that started the chain reaction…
- Stop comparing myself to others
- Be 100% authentic
Once I stopped comparing myself to others, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. It allowed me to focus on myself, my life had become simpler. As humans we make things much harder on ourself then we need to. I had given myself permission to be me. I had essentially lowered the bar. I had accepted who I was. Honesty is a key word here, I was honest with myself. I admitted to myself (honesty) that I wasn't a badass. Once I had accepted who I was, there was no longer a struggle or a sense of urgency to become something. Submission and acceptance are two important key words that describe this process.
Okay, so I was no longer comparing myself to others. In social situations, I had given myself permission to be myself. I had adopted the attitude that I would be myself, and fuck anybody who doesn't like me for who I am. It was a "take it or leave it" attitude. It sounds kind of silly, but I would tell myself, "I am a nerd" and I don't care what other people think of me (I would remind myself of this when I felt stifled). To "be yourself" sounds very cliché, sounds like a bunch of bullshit. I've heard it a million times before, but I had never realized how powerful it was, because I didn't know what it meant to "be myself."
The notion of "self" is a collection of the experiences in your lifetime. In other words, you are who you are because of what you have experienced. So who then can judge who you are? You had no say in the family you were born to, the place in which you were raised, and you have experienced what you have thus far and THAT CANNOT AND WILL NOT EVER CHANGE. In other words, you cannot change the past, you are "stuck" with you =)
So to "be yourself" means to express yourself. To express what you have experience, your interests that have developed as a result of your experience, and your views. This does not mean that everybody is going to like you! Once you accept that, life gets much easier.
That is all that I have for now. I am new to the boards here, I only wish to help or inspire others, and perhaps offer a bit of hope. Also, one thing I might add is that this process takes time. Change does not happen over night.. One must ACCEPT that. A sense of urgency to change will only add to the suffering.
Feel free to comment on anything that I've said here. I am willing to elaborate on anything that may not be clear. As I said before there is a LOT that I could write about (I could go on for ages).
Also, if any of this sounds even remotely familiar to any of you, I would highly suggest reading Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" ("The Power of Now" is more advanced in my opinion). Tolle talks about the ego (self). To dissolve suffering one must learn about the self, A New Earth is a good place to start.
Lastly, this is a very personal journey. Every body is different so no path is set in stone. Others can serve as guide posts, but ultimately it is up to you to make that journey, and it starts with knowing yourself. In fact, that is the path. Know yourself.