Finding a sense of self...

  • Rush_

    Posts: 402

    Nov 07, 2010 12:20 AM GMT
    Its a long story, but I'll try to cut it down for everyone...

    I found out a few months ago that my grandpa was dying. Its honestly the first time in my life that I've had to deal with death and the resultant knowledge of my own mortality. Then I hit a funk...wondering about what life is even worth, what it means, why it matters. My boyfriend at the time dumped me because he felt guilty he couldn't be there for me (lived at home, parents didn't like him dating, blah blah blah) and things just hit a low point.

    Then I started hanging out with some friends who all they do is party. I ended up getting so drunk that I blacked out for two weekends in a row...its weird waking up and finding pics on Facebook of shit I don't even remember. And frankly, I felt kinda messed up. I don't really talk to them anymore and I avoid the bars because they bring back the same thoughts and insecurities I had when I was anorexic, and I just can't do that to myself.

    I thought I'd been healing, and started seeing a guy, and started having feelings I hadn't had since my ex of three years. I opened myself up to him and he did the same. We had similar histories, and he was the second guy who didn't judge me for having a less-than-perfect life (I had a guy who hit me, cut myself a couple times, had an eating disorder and shit like that) and actually said he was in awe of me being strong enough not to regret anything (so long as I learn from things, I have no regrets because they make me a better person).

    Then he had his own crisis and ended it off, even though I said I'd wait because I like him. Still do. He wants to keep me as a friend and I told him that if I can do that, it will take a lot of time and he needs to realize that.

    Last night I had two full-on breakdowns and realized that I not only don't know who I am, but I don't really like myself...yeah, fun combination, isn't it? My friends all list these qualities in me that they think are amazing, but I don't see them as all that special. So what if I can speak several languages, other people can, too. So what if I'm holding my own in three martial arts, other people are as well. I know that these qualities aren't common, but I don't see them as special because everyone has some things they're good at. I just happen to have found mine, it doesn't make me anything unique or better than anyone. It just makes me me.

    I realize that I need to love myself and know who I am before I can be with anyone else, but I just don't know how.

    All my life, I've just had people pushing me to be the best, to have the highest grades, to be in charge of all sorts of different clubs. That's all I know is the race for perfection...a perfection that will never exist. So that's what I've been doing to myself. I told everyone I train for perfection in my sports because training for less means mediocrity and that isn't acceptable. I'm realizing that it might be flawed thinking...I strive for my best and my body performs, but shooting for pefection means that I'll constantly strive and never truly enjoy what I have already achieved.

    I know that helping others and seeing them smile, being part of something positive and just doing positive things makes me feel good, but I'm still not sure of what my purpose in life should be.

    I still enjoy what I do as hobbies, my martial arts, my workouts and my running. But they don't really bring the joy that they used to. They're therapeutic as hell, they're fun, but they just don't have that kick anymore.

    I know I need to be able to love myself first and know who I am before I can be with someone else, but I don't know how. Where do I go from here?
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    Nov 07, 2010 3:16 AM GMT
    Sounds like you live based on others' expectations of you. I think you should do what you want to do when you want to from now on. That's all I can think of.
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    Nov 07, 2010 3:58 AM GMT
    TheIStrat saidSounds like you live based on others' expectations of you. I think you should do what you want to do when you want to from now on. That's all I can think of.


    Its not that easy though, unfortunately.
    Especially when youve spent most of your life trying to be everything for everybody, living up to expectations that does nothing to your well being.
    But finding your sense of self is a journey, and it begins the second you start listening inside to find out what you want your life to be.
    Good Luck!
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    Nov 07, 2010 4:39 AM GMT
    I sympathize with what you're going through because I kind of went through the same thing. Trust that it will get better.

    I lost my dad when I was 2, so I didn't get to do all the things other kids did with their father. I buried all the jealousy inside though and excelled in school to keep myself busy. Then when I was 12, my mother passed away to cancer and instead of dealing with it, I dug further into my studies. I won awards and always going for them kept my mind off dealing without having any parents. But when I was about to graduate college, and I realized that they had missed everything that passed and everything to come, that's when having lost them started hitting me hard. I missed them so much. Everything I regretted not doing with them or saying to them ate at me everyday. I couldn't stop thinking how none of my parents hit 50... what's the point of working hard if my life can just be taken away even before I've enjoyed it? I also didn't know who I was because I lived through everyone's expectations. It's hard when you build a life that only revolves around achievements because people constantly expect it and only it from you.

    So I had enough. I took a year off. Ignored everyone who told me that I was wasting my time. Only my brother and some friends backed me up through all of this. I Saw the world. Took up scuba. Went bungee jumping a couple of times. Went on too many Rollercoasters. Tasted amazing food. Took in all the world had to offer. And at some point I realized how much fun there is everywhere... that it's not about how much time we have left, but how we spend our time now. I think realizing that there's more to the world than just me and "my hobbies", "my awards", "my job" and "my grades" made all the difference to me. I don't know if seeing the world and all that is something you're into, but I think sometimes people forget that their grades, careers, living a healthy lifestyle, etc are only there to supplement our lives and allow us to do what we really love. I'm not saying take a year off. And I'm not saying do everything I did, but I think it's important that you go out there, try something different and find what makes you love living life. And then you'll love living and eventually, yourself. Or I could be wrong icon_smile.gif that's just what made sense to me and helped me. Hope it helps you even in the least bit.
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    Nov 07, 2010 5:01 AM GMT
    I'm kinda going through the same thing (recently single of a 3.5 live in relationship). I have not talked or seen my ex for 2 weeks and we agreed to just completely sever our relationship and it is very painful but necessary for both of our sakes.

    The past few days I just STOP THINKING about things. Stop thinking about the past because those are days that you could never really get back. The past makes you sad but do learn from it but NEVER carry it with you. Stop thinking about tomorrow because the only important day is today.

    Just deal with today, don't think too much and forgive yourself because I feel you expect and punish yourself with the ideals that other people have set or you have set for yourself. You are your own man; we are our own person. It will be very difficult if we almost always abide by how other people perceive us when deep inside we do not feel that way.

    Just try not to think, silence your mind and just be kind to yourself because you already are the best person that you can be right now. Nobody can tell you that but yourself.
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    Nov 07, 2010 11:21 AM GMT
    Watch Jill Bolte Taylor's TED talk, then read the book if you're interested. She was the breakthrough for me in teaching me how to think and get back into myself. In fact, I need a refresher...

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    Nov 07, 2010 12:29 PM GMT
    That was wonderful! what an inspiration that women is and I love the academic, yet down to earth manner in which she presented her story :-)
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    Nov 07, 2010 1:33 PM GMT
    The Ted Talk with Jill Taylor reminds me a lot of meditation class. Sifu describes meditation as becoming a witness to your own body and silencing the chatter that goes on. I have been meditating for about 2 months and I haven't quite reached the "nirvana" state that some people describe but I have found rare moments of peace and calm. I think I will show this clip to Sifu and see what he has to say about it.
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    Nov 07, 2010 2:14 PM GMT
    kandsk saidWatch Jill Bolte Taylor's TED talk, then read the book if you're interested. She was the breakthrough for me in teaching me how to think and get back into myself. In fact, I need a refresher...



    That was really good.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 07, 2010 2:32 PM GMT
    I think you've overlooked something important here. You have achieved something some don't and that is to really question yourself seriously about who you are.. and maybe what you want in life.

    It isn't an easy answer and won't come quickly. It will take some soul searching, imput from others, maybe conversation with a counselor (and I'm not encouraging that because I think you need "counseling", but rather to get input from someone with a different viewpoint on what you are going through).
    Your family, you mentioned your grandfather. You need to spend time with family and ask questions about who you are and where you came from.
    You also need to get some idea of what you want to do and go. Some questions will never be answered, but you need to gain a sense of peace in your life. You don't have that now and that peace will come from gaining that confidence you do know whats up with you and who you are inside and out.