My internal struggles with introversion and forgiveness.

I wouldn't say I have social anxiety disorder. I am slowly getting out of my shyness shell and compared to some of my friends, I can talk to strangers easier (especially when I'm walking dogs). But in a society made for extroverts, it's been a struggle. I'm not very charismatic, I don't light up a room coming inside. I'm eloquent in the written word, but I struggle in speaking. I don't know if it's because of the bullying, or because my dad was somewhat like that too. He was fairly quiet. Don't get me wrong, we always talked a lot and we had so many interesting and funny conversations (he had a really dry sense of humor) that I will forever cherish. But we would have moments of silence together and still enjoy each other's company. I guess he didn't feel the need to spend every moment with chatter.

But that was also a struggle for my mom too. She on the other hand, is the extroverted one. So the communication styles clashed between them at times. I guess it is also a gender thing, since it's known that women are always the talkers whereas men don't really bother (okay, I know it's a stupid stereotype...and I am so thankful that Cecilio always wants me to talk and work through disputes).

Maybe it's because I also just graduated college too. I know the next step is find a job and getting married. But when you've been in school for most of your life, and now you left that phase of your life, you're kinda in a rough transition. Like I'm applying for different jobs. In school, it's easy to see your classmates and go talk to them. Even if you're not super close to them. But now that it's over, I do kinda miss that.

I don't know. I guess I'm posting this because taken the wrong way, introversion is seen as a sign of rudeness. Especially by my mom and older sister. Why am I even posting this? Well yesterday, we had a 4th of July get together and my older sister's house. My younger sister, nieces and one of my nieces friends went swimming. Our family friend's came (the parents of my niece's friend). Well, they're in their mid 30s now, and we've known the lady, N, way far back when I was 3 or 4 years old because her family was involved with the church my uncle pastored. But her family broke off from that church and moved to Canada. But she moved back and married her middle school sweetheart. So she grew closer to my sister again. Anyway, her husband, J, is pretty cool. I don't know what became of me though. I've had a sour couple of days arguing with Cecilio and having negative thoughts. J was trying to make small talk with me, asking me "How is your summer?" and "How is the wedding planning?" And I gave vague answers. I just said, "I'm not doing much..." "The wedding is not happening for a while.." I didn't think anything of it, but when I left, my mom and sister eventually reprimanded me a couple of hours later. I felt so horrible. My mom reminded me that she wasn't upset, but I did come across as rude and standoffish. Why didn't I answer that I was just home resting, helping my mom with chores and younger sister (who has autism)? Why couldn't I have said I was in the process of searching for a job? He wasn't going to judge me for not having one yet. I guess in the back of my head, I am still pretty ashamed about that. And why couldn't I give a little more detail about the wedding?

My mom said she wasn't upset. But I could tell by the tone of her voice she was disappointed. Then I felt like a freak that couldn't talk to anyone. She said she expected more from me because she knew I usually don't answer like that. But when she said stuff like, "Why couldn't you make small talk with J, you need to learn to know how to talk with adults, even kids could've given a straight answer" it took me straight back to feeling like a loser who can't even do what looks easy for most people. And I had to remind her that I eventually DID make small talk, such as bringing up the cloth diapers N and J use for their kid (because N is a huge advocate for cloth diapers).

I felt like she forgot about all the other times where I would talk to them or have my friends come over to our house, and I talk to them all the time. So I got defensive. She didn't like that, and I responded,"I thought you don't like it when I just take it. I thought you want me to reason out. I feel like you look down upon me." Which I do sometimes. But she told me she could never look down upon her own children, and what she said was meant to help me next time with communication.

I guess I project on to people the idea that they judge me and look down upon me, which is why I sometimes struggle whenever they try to make small talk with me. Are they thinking my voice is stupid? Am I too quiet? I project that idea on to my mom too. She always says that if I can't take criticism from her, how will I be able to do well in a job? I tell her that whenever my teachers or bosses gave me constructive criticism, I took it well because while they knew me in the classroom or work setting, they didn't know me on a personal level. There's no emotional connection. So of course, whatever my loved ones tell me I'm going to take it to heart.

But what they said did make me think though. When someone goes out their way to talk to me, I shouldn't brush it off. And I usually don't. I've just been pretty emotional lately, despite my time of the month ending a few days before! I am used to feeling like I'm being judged or ignored. I couldn't let go of how my mom said it though. I love her, but I know her words and tone of voice are very piercing to the point where I do get depressed. And I have a hard time letting it go. I guess that's my struggle too: when someone wrongs me, even a loved one, and they don't mean to...I let it stick with me for a while. Even when the matter is resolved. I want to be able to forgive freely. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Cecilio reminds me that, and I'm so thankful he says that because I always wanted us to connect spiritually in our relationship. But I do wear my heart on my sleeve.

I guess this all stems from how I view myself. I struggle with confidence. And I feel that it does show to others. I view myself pretty lowly and I assume others do too. And that's a horrible feeling. I hate how yeah, I am pretty shy. And I have been a bit more outgoing and confident over the years, but it's always an internal struggle. And despite my mom's criticisms, she never fails to remind me that she does love me and whatever thoughts I have that she doesn't that it's not true at all, and that those thoughts aren't from God. And that I have to pray about it. I have to see myself the way God sees me, miraculous and wonderful. And maybe if and when I do, I will start seeing the beauty in others and not be so judgmental myself. I know deep in my heart she does this because she loves me and wants the best for me.

I am trying though...but trying isn't enough. That incident from yesterday was a mistake, and there's no use of dwelling on it like I did all day. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with being introverted. I love people, it's just that I do better in smaller groups and I recharge my energy alone. And even though I was overwhelmed with the thought of a large wedding, I'm more open to it now and I am excited to celebrate it with family and friends.

Okay, I noticed that a lot of bloggers and vloggers (like Zoella, Kathleen Lights and Dulce Candy) do struggle with anxiety and depression. And even though it seems like their lives are glamorous, it takes a lot of guts to spill their internal struggles to the public. Blogging appeals to a lot of introverts because they can really say what they truly feel through the written word whereas it's a struggle to speak about it. Does anyone have that struggle? How can you overcome it? When your loved ones give you constructive criticism, how do you react? I am trying to tell myself not to take it so personally, and that that advice is good for me even if it hurts at the time. I will eventually thrive from it in the end.

3 comments :

  1. I can really relate to this. I used to suffer from horrible social anxiety, really avoided people, but the older I get, the less I worry about all that. It definitely isn't fun and can pretty much take over your life. One thing that really helped me was a book "Love yourself like your life depends on it" by Kamal Ravikant. If you ever get a chance, pick it up :) It aims more for self-love and forgiveness, but it really helped me deal with my anxiety. I love to re-read from time to time whenever I start feeling anxious or stressed :)

    Paula
    Thirteen Thoughts

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    1. Thanks so much! I'll definitely have to check that book out. I guess as we get older we realize that things weren't such a big deal as we thought they were. It's so nice looking back to see how far we've come along.

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  2. Reading about you and your mom makes me smile. She really is trying to strengthen you and it can be annoying, because I totally relate as far as being an introvert. It is more difficult from a loved one... I've even had these conversations with my husband. Your mom is right about praying about it and seeing yourself how GOD created you. I struggle with that too! It's so much easier said than done but it's an important step. I recently heard a sermon that kinda touches on that and loving yourself first. I'll try to dig out the notes to share! I love reading your blog because I totally relate to you in so many ways! *HUGS HUGS HUGS* It's a process!

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