Don’t accept your false self

I’ve noticed that I feel bad every time I think I might like someone (whether as a friend or potential mate), and don’t pursue a deeper interaction with them.  I have guilt for not expressing and exposing myself to them, regardless of what their response might be.  But often, I feel so locked up that it’s like I’m hitting a wall which blocks me from being genuine and open (“being myself”).  Sometimes this wall is so effective that I don’t even realize what happened until later.  Even if I do realize what’s taking place, I usually have no idea what to do about it. 

So I feel trapped inside myself by my fears and inhibitions, which not only frustrate me by blocking me from what I want, or think I want, but which also seem to create guilt for each opportunity (potential relationship) I let pass me by.  Maybe nothing would’ve come of it, but maybe we could have shared a wonderful relationship.   

On the other hand, as bad as I feel, I can’t force myself to open up more to people.  I could memorize certain phrases, things to say, or things to do, but it is too logical.  No matter what I might memorize, it cannot remove the emotional barriers.  Such efforts would only result in a superficial modification of behavior.  This basically involves learning to act a role, and hoping that someone (or better yet, everyone) will buy it.  If they do, then maybe we can have a pretend relationship, but not a real one.

And just knowing that I can’t force myself, logically or otherwise, to open up, helps relieve some stress.  We can’t consciously control our emotions, except to suppress them.  No matter how much we believe that it’s wrong to feel this way or that way, and that we really ought to feel some other way, our only choices are to either pretend to be what we think we should be (by inhibiting ourselves), or to accept how we feel, and try to understand why.  Nothing is wrong, as long as we try to understand why, why, why.

So if my emotions don’t want to open up, then of course I get frustrated when I expect (demand) it of myself.  On the other hand, to just “accept what you are” and do nothing about it is even worse, because this creates guilt for giving up.  Someone might say, “there’s nothing wrong with being shy around certain people.  It’s normal, and I’m not hurting anyone.  I accept myself for who I am, and so should you.”  But in every interaction that a person has emotional barriers, those barriers represent that person suppressing their self (whether consciously or not).  Furthermore, for a person to “accept” their inhibitions, is to accept an unreal self, thus rejecting their real self.

So there should be a balance between knowing/accepting one’s limits, and yet still struggling to do better and better.   Any real change always comes gradually, and ultimately, we have to learn to fulfill ourselves, rather than looking to others for fulfillment 

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3 Comments on “Don’t accept your false self”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Matthew

    Did you study philosophy and psychology in school?

  2. matthewnanderson Says:

    I got my undergraduate degree in philosophy, but I think I only took one or two psychology courses. The biggest thing I learned from my philosophy degree was that I’m not interested in the world of philosophy as it exists today. It has gotten off track from the simplicity of reality. I think everyone should be their own philosopher, and that what is most real is usually very simple. For example, we should learn to be good to ourselves and others, rather than worrying about stuff like how “physicalism need not repudiate causal and explanatory claims framed in non-physical language”. I actually agree (I think) with that (very academic) statement, and I believe it has its place, but it’s not the sort of philosophy I’m truly interested in.

  3. stinkypotpie Says:

    Kudos. Keep ’em coming, please and thanks.


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