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!
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.