Disclaimer - this one is for ME! Don't read into it and between the lines unless you know what is going on. (And if you are not sure whether or not you know what is going on then trust me when I say - you don't.)
The following was written by somebody that I am honored to count among my friends. (Though, I must admit that I hope they will agree to speak to me again after I blog the following...)
The chord of this piece struck me as familiar. It seems like something I have written before. However, this one is not mine, it is only a similar story and my thoughts and feelings on the matter. Not to soud wishy-washy but ask me tomorrow and I may deny it. However, here are stolen thoughts and my comments for now...
"I'll start with the fact that I have very low self esteem. Always did. This leads me to assume that my presence is usually not wanted, which is why I generally stay away from people. I can't in good conscience inflict myself on someone else! That would be awful. So I rarely go to other people's houses, I rarely call anyone, I rarely initiate any sort of social activity. The only times I'll stray from my norm are when I have an express invitation, which leads me to believe that I actually am wanted, or when I have a different reason to do whatever it is." Ah yes, the issue of low self-esteem. Terrible and gnawing and circular. As much as you want to believe that you are a nobody, somebody is bound to come along and remind you of what an incredible person you are. Of course, the only defense to that is to wallow in self-pity and disregard what you hear until the truth can be pounded into your head.
"Taking visiting people's houses as an example, I could go if I needed to borrow a movie, say. Or I could go if someone told me they wanted me to be around at a certain time. But otherwise I'd feel terrible going there. And if I did go there, I'd constantly be thinking that I don't belong, and that I'm not wanted, and then I would be extra quiet, and probably even less wanted." About this whole 'inflicting yourself upon others', I often feel like that, which is more often why I thank people for spending time with me. I think that this infliction thing and the low-self-esteem issues stem from the same thing. However, I must admit - as much as I feel the same way, at some point when people are open with you again and again, you just kind of have to accept the fact that as strange as it might feel - it's an 'open invitation' and sometimes - especially with certain people - those are meant to be taken seriously.
"Oh, did I mention that that's why I'm so quiet? I always have so much to say, but I don't say it for fear that people don't want to hear it. Even in this forum, which exists for me to talk about myself, I don't allow myself to write everything I want to. Because I suspect that what few readers I have wouldn't want to read it." Always better to think before you speak and even more so before you write. So far you've got the basic idea down-pat. HOWEVER you do need to speak your mind! Don't keep it all bottled up - so long as it's relatively intelligent or even amusing (which is for your listeners to decide) SAY IT!!! If people don't like it they will tell you so - but in any event let it out!!!
"There's another side to this - since in my mind I'm so sure that I'm disliked and unwanted, I get so happy when something suggests that I am wanted after all. So it's rather easy to raise my spirits, which helps with them constantly being low." YAY! Well, that makes sense! :o)
"Now, I'm going to abandon my habit and say things simply. Last night Dina told me she was interested in playing a board game with me, which of course made my spirits soar, Dina being someone I care very much about and love spending time with. She also said she wanted to talk to me, which is even better. So I spent much of the next twenty four hours wondering if it would happen, and hoping it would, and hoping it would. I couldn't go over, though - my invitation wasn't quite good enough. So I just sat outside reading, hoping Dina would leave her house so that I could talk to her. It never happened." Would you be amused if I told you that the same thing sort of happened to me? I was sitting around doing nothing almost all Shabbos afternoon - waiting for somebody who showed up almost 4 hours later than expected?! Instead of actually getting off my lazy bum and finding something to do I sat around waiting. I think this just proves that we can't depend on others for entertainment or to make us happy. We need to find ways to take care of ourselves. And YES - this is true EVEN when you have 'true friends' (you know, the ones who will help you with the dead bodies in a crisis...)
"I know this is really pathetic. I know. It actually sounds like I am obsessed with Dina, which I assure you I'm not. I just happen to have a shortage of friends, and it really makes a difference to me when somebody cares." It's not pathetic. You're not obsessed and I don't think that in reality you are necessarily short of friends. Also, it's important to relaize that lots of people care. Of course, it should make you feel all 'warm and fuzzy' when somebody does something to show you that they care - but even when they are silent and not as open, don't think the feeling isn't there.
In the piece I see a lot of myself before I moved away from Home. I had my small group of friends in high school who knew me and my true colors and I always got along with everybody more or less. Still, I was never one for going out and spending time in new places or even spending time out in places where I was relatively comfortable with people that I knew.
In many respects I am still like that. However, in the last 3 years I have learned that at some point you need to just get up and 'face the music' and I have come to terms with this in respect to phones, going places and meeting people.
"Just do it" is a phrase that has become a part of my vocabulary. I am still trying to make it a part of me and ALL of my actions.
It isn't easy in the least and I must admit I have not overcome every obstacle that has been thrown at me. As a matter of fact, I have run screaming on more than one occasion and sworn that I was giving up. Yet for some reason or another, I always find myself back on the path up.
I remember when I realized that nobody is 100% confident and that bravery is nothing more than a mask and a wisp of belief. I remember when I realized that parents are just people and that in all honesty nobody is certain of everything that they do.
That's life. It's a series of challenges and tests.
So next time - get up and knock...