Self-image and social situations

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Melkmeisje
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Self-image and social situations

Post by Melkmeisje » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:26 pm

Hello everybody :)

I just typed a long post here, but then I lost it, so maybe that is a sign that I should keep it short :-)

Basically, I have a problem with being in social situations, which means that my negative self-image of being an insecure and 'not complete' person prohibits me of talking spontaneously and freely with other people. Inmediately when I'm around other people, I have negative thoughts about myself and I become highly aware of what I'm saying or how I'm behaving, which makes me feel tense and insecure. Trying to ignore these thoughts and hiding my insecurity costs me a lot of energy, and I'm not always able to do this. When this happens, I feel incomfortable and I want to leave the situation as soon as possible.

The only moments when I don't have this problem is when I accidentely forget about it, or when I have a glimpse of the truth and I know these thoughts are an illusion and I can let them go without any effort. Also when there is a feeling of presence, I'm sometimes able to focus on this feeling and let go of these negative thoughts to some extent. However, I'm not always able to do this, and I would like to know if there is something I could do in order to keep my presence in these situations. For example, sometimes try to feel my inner body or focus on my breathing, but is there something else I could do?

When I'm alone, I'm more and more able to feel my presence and be in a state of peace and joy, which I recognize as my true inner self. At these moments I feel happy and I do not have negative thoughts about myself. However, I feel that my presence is still 'unstable' and I loose it quickly when I'm around other people. I would just like to find a way to keep my presence and be myself in social situations as well.

Thank you so much in advance for your advice :)

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dijmart
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Re: Self-image and social situations

Post by dijmart » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:43 am

Dropping your past "story" is hard... I have many things dropping, some faster then others.

I don't know if you're ready for this video, but here it is, if interested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjDyPJZ_RNM

Mooji 13 min long, called "drop yourself"
Take what you like and leave the rest.

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Clouded
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Re: Self-image and social situations

Post by Clouded » Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:55 am

What helps me get over social anxiety is to "see myself" in other people. Have you ever thought that these people have insecurities of their own? Sometimes maybe they feel the same way as you do? You may have all those negative perceptions about yourself but there's no guarantee that the person you are talking to thinks the same way. You are rejecting yourself before you are even rejected, if that makes any sense. Give yourself a chance, and if they don't like you, don't take it personally, them not liking you has more to do about them than yourself.
"If you want to know what your were like in the past, look at your body today. If you want to know what your body will be like in the future, look at your thoughts today." -Deepak

azooo
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Re: Self-image and social situations

Post by azooo » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm

Hello!

What I have to say may be a bit radical and not resonate with you but here it goes anyways.
Melkmeisje wrote:Hello everybody :)
Basically, I have a problem with being in social situations, which means that my negative self-image of being an insecure and 'not complete' person prohibits me of talking spontaneously and freely with other people. Inmediately when I'm around other people, I have negative thoughts about myself and I become highly aware of what I'm saying or how I'm behaving, which makes me feel tense and insecure. Trying to ignore these thoughts and hiding my insecurity costs me a lot of energy, and I'm not always able to do this. When this happens, I feel incomfortable and I want to leave the situation as soon as possible.
I sense in the above sentences that you are holding and nourishing an idea about yourself. (I have a negative self-image that pops up in social moments....)

Why not forget about this entirely? It is nothing anyway. Don't fall into the trap of believing YOU are tense and insecure when this is happening. That's a story the mind creates so that It can "help you" you to try and "solve" this.

Rather, let the insecurity, shame, energy exhaustion, discomfort be fully there when they come. Let them be here for the rest of your existence if they need to be.

In the end all false tendencies fall away spontaneously and at their own time without any real effort on our side, so the best way is not to bother into the invitations of our mind trying to make this into something that we need to fix.

Melkmeisje
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Re: Self-image and social situations

Post by Melkmeisje » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:30 pm

Why not forget about this entirely? It is nothing anyway. Don't fall into the trap of believing YOU are tense and insecure when this is happening. That's a story the mind creates so that It can "help you" you to try and "solve" this.
Thank you so much for all your replies. I'm not sure if I'm doing this correctly, but I just wanted to quote this sentence because I feel this goes directly to the core. I feel and know somehow that my ego created this 'problem' in order to have a problem in my life to solve. The ironic thing is that it started at a time in my life when I was not insecure at all, I just started a new chapter in my life (secundary school) and I was getting to know people in my new class. I remember that I was very open, I just talked to people in a natural and spontaneous manner, and I did not have to do any effort for this. But when I realized that people really liked me, it just didn't seem to fit with my negative self-image of being an insecure and 'not so popular' person, which I had been in primary school. It literally started within a second, when a girl from my school told me I was such a nice person, my ego just came to the surface and told me: but you cannot be that nice. From that moment on, I became highly self-aware in social situations and have not been able to let go of control and interact with people without thinking (maybe only accidentally). From that moment onwards, I have seen this as 'my problem', which I have 'needed to solve' by thinking about myself, trying to obtain self-confidence by understanding 'who I am', and improving myself in certain ways.

After I had an a strong experience with presence, I realized that this would be the way out, since I knew in that moment of presence that 'I did not have a problem', 'nothing is wrong with me', 'all thoughts are an illusion'. However, instead of really practicing presence, my mind started to analyse this experience and the related teachings and consider it as a potential (future) solution to my problems. Since I have realized this, I started to practice presence more by meditating and listening to videos, and I am now able to feel my presence to some extent when I'm alone. However, although I rationally know (and intuitively feel) that my problem is an illusion and I don't have a problem when I'm fully present, my mind still holds on to the notion of 'I have a problem' and brings this up inmediately when I'm in a social situation. Even though there is not really a reason for this anymore, because when I'm present I don't feel insecure, but I just feel love and joy. However, my mind jumps in so quickly in social situations, that I'm not always able to feel my presence and therefore I find it difficult not to believe my thoughts and feelings. Then, I feel depressed again about 'still having my problem', which takes me back into the mind again in order to find a solution.

Even rationally, and also intuitively, I know that 'my problem' is all 'bullshit', but somehow I cannot feel this when I'm interacting with people. I just feel a strong pull of my thoughts to think about my problem, think about solutions, and also maintain my problem in certain situations. I'm just afraid to let go of it, because I have identified with it.

I also want to thank you for the video of Mooji, I really love his videos :) I actually have been able to 'drop myself' some time ago, when I was so confused about all of this, that I just decided to drop it all 'if being myself is all natural and effortless'. For a week, I could feel my presence clearly and I just let go of control when I was interacting with people, which became all natural and effortless as well. But I find it very difficult to do this again, since I feel that my ego tries to do everything to avoid this from happening again. But maybe watching these videos would help :)

Thank you so much for your advice!

azooo
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Re: Self-image and social situations

Post by azooo » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:55 pm

Melkmeisje wrote: After I had an a strong experience with presence, I realized that this would be the way out, since I knew in that moment of presence that 'I did not have a problem', 'nothing is wrong with me', 'all thoughts are an illusion'. However, instead of really practicing presence, my mind started to analyse this experience and the related teachings and consider it as a potential (future) solution to my problems. Since I have realized this, I started to practice presence more by meditating and listening to videos, and I am now able to feel my presence to some extent when I'm alone.
This may be very subtle but there is another story in the above that is founded by your belief in it. "I practice to be more present, I am able to feel the presence to some extent." Why not discard this? Don't bother analyzing how present "you" are when you are alone or when you are not. The idea of you having a problem is perpetuated through this. Because having an idea of you being present will inevitabily manifest its polarity as well - the idea of you not being present.

However, although I rationally know (and intuitively feel) that my problem is an illusion and I don't have a problem when I'm fully present, my mind still holds on to the notion of 'I have a problem' and brings this up inmediately when I'm in a social situation.
And that is perfectly fine as well. Let your mind hold any impression that it wants. Maybe this will be going on for the rest of your life (who knows?). But there is no reason for you to believe this.
This is just a story and you don't have to bite into it.

The mind knows which doubts to offer to each one of us. For example, there are persons that starve themselvs to bones because they belive they are fat. And from your perspective you can see this is not true and is insane. Yet they don't. And in this way each of us gets some thoughts that are (for some period) harbored as true. Yet they are not. And there is no need to give them too much attention or look for ways to stop them.

You just make it clear for yourself that no thought is ever true.
Even rationally, and also intuitively, I know that 'my problem' is all 'bullshit', but somehow I cannot feel this when I'm interacting with people.
I can relate to that. What happens is that each one of us has some attachments and this allows the mind to be very powerful when something related to these atachments is happening. So it would be very good if you could find out what exactly is the fear behind the emotions.
I just feel a strong pull of my thoughts to think about my problem, think about solutions, and also maintain my problem in certain situations. I'm just afraid to let go of it, because I have identified with it.
The pull is usually some form of attachment - look into it, why exactly do you feel uncomfortable in public?

Melkmeisje
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Re: Self-image and social situations

Post by Melkmeisje » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:05 pm

Thank you for your reply, azoo :) I know it is still a story somehow, that I'm still creating duality in myself, but I find it difficult not to think like this. Sometimes I just feel that my mind is just trying to create any confusion, any blur, in order to prevent me to see the truth. When I'm in the NOW completely (not when it only shines through), I can so clearly see it... and I almost feel embarrased that I ever thought I had a problem. But when I'm in that space of clarity, I just feel how my thoughts are coming in and clouding me again, pulling me back into 'problems'. Then I realize that my ego/thoughts do not want to solve my problem, but are actually creating it. And the easiest way to do this is in a social situation, with discouraging thoughts and feelings, which pull me back into my problem again. But I will try to let these thoughts and feelings be there when they come up, observe them and not give in to them.

The reason I feel so incomfortable in a social situation (where I have to talk or interact with people) is because at one side I'm afraid to not know what to say and that people think I'm an awkward and insecure person, and on the other side that I accidentaly do know what to say and be spontaneous, because that means my story does not work anymore. I think it is this duality that makes me feel so nerveous and tense.

Another strong tendency I have and which I explained above, is to rationally analyse my issue and understand that I should stop thinking, what my ego is trying to do, and that I should let go of it. I imagine this is a normal thing to do for the ego (trying to solve a problem), but it is so hard not to give in to this.

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dijmart
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Re: Self-image and social situations

Post by dijmart » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:20 pm

I think you have more insight into this problem then you were giving yourself credit for...reread your last post a few times. When in the grip of the ego you have no insight into what is happening, but you do! So, its losing its grip on you, this may make the thoughts and feelings worse for awhile while they try to get you back in their full control, but stay as the watcher as best you can. Over time they will lose some potency, they will try different avenues, so stay alert to this. Try to become more and more present throughout the day... it helps me to read and watch videos, especially when initially trying to break free of the suffering!
Take what you like and leave the rest.

Melkmeisje
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Re: Self-image and social situations

Post by Melkmeisje » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:32 pm

dijmart wrote:I think you have more insight into this problem then you were giving yourself credit for...reread your last post a few times. When in the grip of the ego you have no insight into what is happening, but you do! So, its losing its grip on you, this may make the thoughts and feelings worse for awhile while they try to get you back in their full control, but stay as the watcher as best you can. Over time they will lose some potency, they will try different avenues, so stay alert to this. Try to become more and more present throughout the day... it helps me to read and watch videos, especially when initially trying to break free of the suffering!
It actually makes me happy to read this, but maybe that is my ego speaking again ;) I can sometimes just feel the truth somewhere under the surface, and when my presence is shining through and becomes stronger, I almost feel 'my problem' melt away... but I'm afraid to let go completely. I think you're making a point that my ego is losing grip and therefore tries to pull me back again, which is most easy when I'm in a social setting. I also feel its no longer based upon anything anymore, but its just the empty word of 'problem' that still has a grip on me and makes me feel insecure. I am always a little bit scared of this happening and therefore I have the strong desire to leave the situation, but I will try to be present with my thougths and see them for what they are.

Fortunately, I will have the chance to practice with this soon, because I'm recently in a relationship with somebody who does not have any problem with interacting socially and always has many social events (I will move to his country soon). Although I can be shy around people, I somehow always attract men who do not seem to have this problem at all, which often puts me in many social situations. Would this be a play from the Universe, or just a coincidence?

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dijmart
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Re: Self-image and social situations

Post by dijmart » Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:18 am

I just lost a reply back to you :(

Melkmeisje wrote:It actually makes me happy to read this, but maybe that is my ego speaking again ;)
Or maybe it's your true "Self"?
... but I'm afraid to let go completely.
This is ego speaking..
its just the empty word of 'problem' that still has a grip on me and makes me feel insecure
Perhaps, change "problem" to "challenge". A problem is heavy, long lasting and must be thought about endlessly. A challenge has a lighter feel, can be dealt with in the moment and therefore no worry is needed. Maybe some thinking and action, but no "anxiety" is necessary.

I am always a little bit scared of this happening and therefore I have the strong desire to leave the situation
This is a worry thought of "future" that doesn't exist in the "now". I understand it..been there done that. Take social situations moment by moment, conversation by conversation. When you say something you wish you hadn't, say to yourself "it is what it is" and move on.

I somehow always attract men who do not seem to have this problem at all, which often puts me in many social situations. Would this be a play from the Universe, or just a coincidence?
Ahh, see, insightful again! Your true "Self" (awareness) puts you in situations to expose the ego, you either suffer or eventually awaken, if not in this life then some other life. :wink:
Take what you like and leave the rest.

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