I just put a few pieces, from different people that don’t talk, together. It would allow me to do something awesome.something I’ve wanted to do.but it’s scarry.and requires several things, that I have in my power to accomplish. It would probably be good for me.
Tonight I spent a little time at the local eagles club. They have great specials and I know a few people who hang out there most weeks. Tonight there were a bunch not there but I went with another friend but it was a great time because I’ve only been there 3 times but I knew a large group. In my post about learning to socialize I said go to the coffee shops, and of coarse I am saying hangout in coffee shops, pubs, bars, wherever you can sit with just a glass of water and not get hassled to leave because your not spending money. I did drop a few dollars on 50 cent tacos for my friend and I plus a few beers a piece. but it is great running into people you know. Now there are several things that went into this exchange from tonight, a few people I know from college 5 years ago. the friend I went there with and wife, one from a new years party two years ago who hangs out all the time at a place I volunteer at at least once if not three times a week from which there were a few others there. I had a great time, talking about mutual hobbies / volunteer work over cheap tacos and beers. That is what socializing is all about bringing together several of the tools to combat loneliness, What a great realization. Especially after that week.
There is an internet meme that floats around every once in a while about how crying doesn’t mean you are not strong but instead it means how you have been strong for too long. I’ve struggled with depression. I’ve been in therapy for years to learn how to manage it. But I still struggle. Sometimes a lot. I’m on meds, but the meds only take the edge off. They are not like flipping a switch where suddenly hey I never feel depressed again. The years of therapy have given me tools to use to help to fight the depression, tools to keep me moving when I am depressed and but sometimes I still just need to separate myself from everybody and just hide for a bit.
So this post started because I’ve gone through another depressive state. it was a little over two weeks in length. I want to blame some specific stuff that may be talked about in another post but it didn’t matter that I have the tools that I have. I was tired of using them. I needed a break from the social life I’m building. So that is what I did. I got addicted to a TV show on crackle.com binged on it. spent too much time playing browser games and barely had the energy and time to follow through on a few job postings and interviews, some of which probably had to do with a horrible diet.
The other day I was with a friend who was approaching this stage herself, and it really struck me. I never would have thought of her as being somebody who needed to do that. She has always appeared to the be a person who could endlessly socialize. She later told me that it happens to her every once in awhile and she just needs to find a corner to hide in and paint her toe nails or read some poetry. She has been dealing with this a lot longer than I have and can recognize it better than I can so she appears to be able to curb it before it gets to the point of disappearing for a week.
It’s not that the knowledge doesn’t help it’s that this is another tool that needs to be thought about and used. A person, every person needs alone time. I suddenly don’t know why this feels like a new idea to me. I ques it is just the relationship between the ideas of I’ve tried everything I can think of and I’m just going to choose a few unhealthy activities to get me through. The problem for me is often the unhealthy activities I choose end up resulting in a deeper and longer lasting depressed period. So, I need to develop better or more controllable escapes, and possibly need to schedule them. Did something like this happen in may?
When I get overwhelmed I have the tendency to avoid what is making me feel overwhelmed. A few weeks I posted about throwing away your todo list and I do believe that is something to do when severely overwhelmed however it should only be done for a short period and in a way that will quickly get you back to what you were doing. I’m being pulled in a dozen directions and when I feel that way I have the tendency to find something new to do. Something that really doesn’t even help me with what I need to do. I begin a project that I had been thinking about for a long time or I sometimes start a whole new hobby. It’s always something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I think, I need to stop procrastinating on this so.. I’m going to begin blah___. I’m flat broke and spent the weekend at an arts fair trying to sell some stuff I’ve made as a hobby. I’m going to return next year, and another event later this year but am greatly discouraged because I sold nothing. I thought about it and am going to use this failure to modify my hobby, my products to a more specific area, one where I am doing more of the work instead of just assembling some dresses. But that is my point, my problem. I’ve owned a sewing machine before, it broke I threw it away and until a few months ago haven’t sewed a thing. In the last few weeks I’ve spent my time making dresses to sell at the art fair. I also nearly two months ago changed the scope of a business I started two and a half years ago, so I’ve been working hard, often until 2 or even 3 am building websites so far none of which I’m going to get paid for. All the while not writing. At least not nearly as much as I had committed my self to doing. I’m insecure and was getting more and more people reading my blog I see these opportunities and drop what I was working on. I have several started posts I’m going to post this week. But I’m still dealing with my roommate, for which I feel like a failure on. How can I write about you having confidence in yourself and escape situations that cross the border of domestic abuse when I can’t do it myself. I currently have about six major things going some are potential money makers. One is I need to move. I need to remind myself that even if I find at the end of the week I didn’t even see it pass by, I am able to get this done. Is this post just an attempt at avoiding the move? I choose to see it as motivation to move forward with it.
A few weeks ago in my Methods of Becoming a Better Socializer post I mentioned living in the moment “has been and continues to be the most difficult thing for me to do.” It is the thing that has required the most practice and it is the most unstable part of being a better socializer. The previous post mentions “It is easy to dwell on the past to relive moments and if you are thinking about a conversation where you said something less than intelligent you will miss things happening now.”
For years i didn’t even know there was anything wrong and so I would drudge through problems, past conversations and a failed life with friends, and worse acquaintances all of whom eventually stopped spending time with me. I saw the problem only after a therapy session where the therapists responded to a statement with “It’s because you’re present now.” I don’t remember what it was in response to but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am now present more than I am away. A Part of me lives for the future, and I think about what might have been sometimes. But I’ve found listening to music helps, going for walks and getting enough sleep are essential. But my life is bout what is happening to me now. I have hobbies, I go out with friends; spontaneously, I clean up after myself most of the time. I have a schedule I’ve been maintaining for a whille and so I have to spend time putting it together, and review it everyday, that way I can tell if I’m falling out of the present.
Please don’t get confused. Memories are good, they are filled with lessons learned and happiness shared with friends and family, but there are times for them. I used to obsess about all. I spent the majority of my time thinking about how I wasted 26 years of my life living a life I thought my family wanted me to live. I spent hours each day dreaming about how my life would have been different had I not joined the military and began living my life for me at 18. I wasted time, worrying about how I wasted time.
Everybody is a little different, and learning to recognize your own signs is not easy and after you learn them watching for them can be even more challenging. But so rewarding. Last weekend my belly dance studio, had a showcase. There were 240 tickets presold and the place was almost packed. I could feel it all week, leading up to it. I knew it was coming and sure enough, before the showcase I fell, I had a lot of trouble staying with it. I managed to do okay in the dances, I made a number of mistakes throughout the performances and because I practiced my skills to bring myself back to the moment. I warned a few friends. Every 10 minutes I successfully brought my self back to the now.
Am I confusing living in the moment and anxiety for the show? No I’m not. It is a separate feeling. One I know from previous presentations, from last years showcase and a rare presentation given two days after the showcase I had only a few hours two prepare for. Anxiety is a feeling I also about the showcase. The feeling, the being present didn’t go away after the showcase. It hung around and got worse. So lost in thought were I that it took me double the time to get ready to leave the house for the day.
I now know how to recognize when being present is going to be an issue days before it is going to happen. Describing is another story. I don’t know where to begin with it.
Over the last few years while struggling to become a more social person I’ve learned a number of methods to being that social person. This post doesn’t talk about the skills for these methods. I am just listing them and elaborating with one or two sentences. But I don’t know if this is a complete list and I will occasionally revisit it. possibly changing the headings. This post will likely become a page each method a new category for my blog and an outline of my chapters. Most methods will take multiple posts to explain.
What I have listed are things I’ve gotten from the countless self-help books, other bloggers, therapy sessions; group and individual, or things I got from a few seminars on how to deal with people. They are things that before five years ago I would have never thought of and are things I have worked hard to practice. You will see as we progress through this list and the subsequent posts that some of these methods have many skills. Skills that often overlap. Each are important by themselves and will be talked about repeatedly. I must also tell you I write this not only to help readers but as a way of reminding myself. Reminding myself of these methods. What I can do after finding myself in another rut struggling to get out and struggling to staying afloat.
Volunteering is great because it gives you something to do, allows you to meet people and makes you feel good about yourself because you’re doing something to help the community; it increases you confidence.
2. Take a class-
Classes are great because you will learn a new skill or reinforce an existing one, it may increase your flexibility; physically and mentally, it may improve coordination and a class gets you into a situation to meet and interact with people you would never have thought of before it also increases your confidence.
3. Go to the library-
The library is a good place to go when you are just starting out or just need to be in the vicinity of people without interacting. The library is a good place to people watch or sit quietly on the computer, if your house is loud, you can sit in some corner and ignore everybody and nobody will think your weird, because half of them are there for a similar reason.
4. Join a club-
Clubs provide many things already covered. They give you a chance to interact with people who have similar interests, potentially teaches you a skill; like knitting, and it gives you something to look forward to in away an aerobics class can’t
5. Get a hobby-
Whether you spend 100’s on tools and build your sister a new rocking chair for her baby, put together a 75 gallon fish tank, or build a tent to go camping in next summer. Hobbies keep you busy, build confidence and can lead to new careers.
6. Go to the coffee shop-
Much like he library a coffee shop gives you a place to write on your laptop; some have computers for your use, or read a book. Though interacting is a little more likely because if you become a regular you may become friends with the staff or other regulars, giving you some excellent practice on the 30 second to minute conversations that are surprisingly huge in increasing your confidence.
7. Live authentically-
This is one of the harder things to do. This method of becoming a social person I can attribute to starting me down this path. This is one that has consumed the most of my last six years. One of the first things I worked on it is still one I struggle with the most. To be real you need to speak your mind, fallow through on what you say your going to do and don’t let others bring you down. This is your confidence.
8.Never allow yourself to feel trapped-
Feeling trapped will ruin you confidence. It will prevent you from seeking new friends. And if it hasn’t already alienated your existing friends it soon will.
9.Live on your own terms –
Your life is yours and you need to live it the way you want. Living your life the way others want you to will lead to regret, resentment and reclusiveness. Respect yourself. Trust yourself and live your own life not the one your parents want you to. If you are a parent and think you need to give up your dream for them just think about what that is teaching them.
10. Stay in the moment-
More than living authentically this has been and continues to be the most difficult thing for me to do. It is easy to dwell on the past to relive moments long since past. The problem is these moments good or bad are not now. They are not this minute and if you are thinking about a conversation where you said something less than intelligent or that time your ex beat the crap out of you, you will miss things. Things that are happening now and life will pass you by. I want to say so much about this, maybe it will be my next post.
11. Escape abuse-
The greatest confidence killer. Being told your job or career isn’t worthy, being verbally accosted or belittled with offensive terms or if someone has threatened you, your children, or even your pet dog is not acceptable behavior by a significant other, a roommate or even a friend. Get out of that situation.
12. Choose your friends wisely-
I touched on this in escaping abuse but it is related to living in the moment and so much more than that. A friend that isn’t abusive in anyway can still be bad for you. They can be somebody you like, but they get inside your head somehow. I’ve got a few friends. I love them dearly, but I just can’t spend time with them. Their current problems or the past problems they feel compelled to vent about are too closely related to something I’m experiencing or just got over, and their words drag me back down. Their words keep me from living in this moment. It is not their fault so don’t blame them. Just acknowledge it to your self and move on. It is hard at first, you might not have many friends and loosing one feels detrimental. Remember a good friend encourages you, keeps you in the now and needs you just as much as you need them.
Maybe you are only on a mission to read over ways of meeting people and will never read anything of mine again, in that case I hope you read what you need to, to remind yourself of your current goal, but if you subscribe you will get more lengthy explanations on each of these things, talking about and giving examples of how each of these methods have impacted my life. About how many have taken years to master, how I’ve had to learn some of them multiple times. How I have recovered I have remembered and implemented these methods and coinciding skills faster and faster each time. How even though I was greatly discouraged at times I stuck with them and have gotten better.