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The No Self-Esteem-High Confidence Paradigm

Friday, June 07, 2013

I lack self-worth in almost every sense of the word. In addition to my self-love deficiency, I've developed a quiet social anxiety, which I ranted on a few months prior. It's a combination of things - blurry vision, shortness of breath, the inability to concentrate, etc... It's easier when I'm with people I know/love or am not the first person to do, well, anything. My mom says it's crappy self-confidence and my husband just holds my hand. It turns out I'm also extremely good at hiding it.

I'm writing now because it happened twice today.

Scenario 1: The faculty room. I didn't go to a department baby shower because I a.) hate baby showers and b.) experience the above symptoms in that type of situation. Nevertheless I bought my colleague a little something and waited until today (her last day) to give it to her. Then it hit. I couldn't just get up and give it to her - I didn't know what to say, when to do it, etc... So she was getting ready to leave and people started hugging her. And what do I do? I walk up during the hug fest, she opens her arms, and I say, "I don't do the touchy hug thing, sorry, but I did meant o give you this earlier since I couldn't make it to the shower. You'll be missed." Everyone laughed and she asked to a high-five. I, of course, then needed to point out that I'm just not socially apt to which almost everyone in the room responded with something along the lines of "are you kidding? You're one the most confident, assertive women in this building." One guy said he hopes his daughter grows up to be like me!

Moving on...

Scenario 2: Dinner with my friend. We're discussing the idea of shopping to which I say, "I hate it. I can't concentrate in stores and I'm awkward. Online shopping is what I do." And she tells me I'm funny. We seg way into a few more topics that inevitably come back to her trying online dating, where I validate her choice with something along the lines of "had I not met my husband at a frat party in college, online dating would be my only hope." She then points out how she wishes she was as confidence and charismatic as me.

At this point I'd like to mention that I am not constantly talking down about myself in conversations. I actually pride myself on avoiding talking about myself at all. I'm editing the scenarios to reach the paradigm. And here it is: My poor personal feelings are projected as confidence to the people around me. My self-deprecation is perceived as humor. My panicky interior is received as assertive and direct.

I'm grateful for the social paradox on one hand, but on the other I wish someone could see what I'm trying to show them. It would make being me maybe a little easier to adjust to.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Why are we so hard on ourselves and how does this relate to our self image. I read a tone of positive things in your blog and noticed that your colleagues, friends and DH all have a positive image of you. I don't think people who struggle with their weight understand how much it affects your psyche.

    I've had similar conversations about anxiety in social settings with friends who do not struggle with weight issues and they had the same reaction your friends did..couldn't believe it.

    Your last points were so spot're grateful for the paradox but wish people would realize how you are feeling.

    1720 days ago
    I can relate to what you said. I have similar issues.
    1721 days ago
    I know what it's like to feel badly about myself and my life in general. About a year ago I started getting some help from a local mental health provider, both a psychologist and a psychiatrist who work in the same office, and everything about my life has improved dramatically from that point to now. It's definitely improved my social relationships at work and at home and it has been, I am sure, the reason I now have the energy to take better care of myself, exercise and eat better. I wish you the very best going forward. Keep us posted!
    1721 days ago
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