Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Diffidence Dilemma

I know I'm not an easy person to maintain a relationship with.  It's difficult for people to get close to me.  I'm guarded, and if I do expend the energy to get to know someone well, it's after a long period of observation and thoughtful consideration that maybe my interest and loyalty to them will be reciprocated. In the past, there have been a lot of crash-and-burn situations that have affected my thoughts on making new friends and opening up to them, and not wearing my heart on my sleeve seems to turn people off.  My brick wall, it seems, is lit up in blue neon.

Most of the time, I'm completely happy in my little bubble, with the family members who accept me and treat me like I matter, and with the small number of friends who do likewise.  But sometimes I get a glimpse of how the folks outside that bubble might see me, and it's disconcerting.  

High strung.
Unattainable expectations.


These little glimpses tend to kick me into a wave of self-doubt, and all the old self-esteem issues I was certain I had conquered come flooding right back.  Why can't you be more expressive?  Why is it so hard for you to make friends?  Why can't you be more like this person with the vibrant personality?  Don't you realize your personality makes people run in the other direction?  Why won't you just change who you are?

It's exhausting.

Thankfully, these seasons of self-doubt tend to fade much more quickly than they did when I was a sullen teenager wondering desperately why I didn't seem to really click with anyone but my very best friend.  But, at this point in my life, it's worrisome to jump back to that very insecure mindset and question everything about who I am.  Intellectually, I understand that a lot of these things stem from my introverted personality, and that there's absolutely nothing wrong with me.  It's perfectly ok to be quiet and introspective.  But to try to explain that to my heart, which is genuinely hurt when someone dismisses me as unpleasant or undesirable...that doesn't get any easier with age and experience.  And I'm not sure what to do about it.

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