I don't like being me
November 22, 2012 9:57 AM Subscribe
I have recently realized that I am a selfish person, and I'm afraid my selfishness has been sabatoging my chances at having lasting, fulfilling relationships. I'm also self-loathing, which doesn't help matters, either.
I'm a 22-year-old female struggling with self-esteem and social issues. I had a pretty lonely childhood, and although I've struggled with loneliness all my life for the most part I learned to be comfortable being by myself. I'm starting to suspect my past has made me a little too comfortable with being alone, because I dislike being in many group social settings. For example:
1.) I don't follow conversations closely if I'm not interested in them.
2.) When I go to places where people tend to wander in pairs or groups (like an art museum), I prefer to go off on my own than diddle around in the same room with someone and have to wait until they're done looking around to move on.
3.) I'd rather go to a concert alone than with someone who isn't familiar with the artist because I know they won't be as into the music as I am, which hinders my own enjoyment.
4.) I hate the times when I think I'm supposed to hang out with a friend and they bring along a third person I don't know very well, because it makes our time together less fun.
I always chalked these quirks of mine up to independence/social awkwardness/introversion, but I'm afraid that the reason is more negative than that, and I've realized that perhaps the reason I don't have close friends who remain in contact (I have some people I'm close to, but usually because I'm the one doing the calling), and the reason I've never experienced a romantic relationship, is because I'm too self-involved, and I would like to change that. I fear that if I continue down this road I'll never have a significant other.
But compounding this problem is the fact that I don't value myself at all. Every time I try to think of a good quality that I possess, like being funny or nice, I can't help but qualify it by thinking that the only reason I try to convey these qualities in the first place is to compensate for my less desirable traits, such as my shyness, which I think people might take for aloofness sometimes; so essentially my view is that if I'm nice toward people, my behavior doesn't come from a sincere concern for others, I'm just trying to cover my own ass.
For example, when I was in college, I was having a really hard time with feeling lonely and isolated. I often called my sister to vent and relied on her for emotional support. At one point I feared that it was annoying for her to have to deal with my emotional state time and time again, so I sent her a card saying how much I appreciated her being there for me. She appreciated the gesture, but when I really thought about it, I wondered if it wasn't a little bit conniving of me to send that card, since I was doing it more because I was afraid of annoying her and thus losing my support network than out of showing sincere gratitude.
For this reason, it's hard for me to truly love myself. I don't believe that there's anything actually good about me. All in all, I believe these two issues are preventing me from having solid, strong relationships--the former because I don't focus on other people enough, and the latter because I feel that since I don't fundamentally love myself, it's difficult for me to see how others could, either. So I have two questions: how do I become more invested in other people and enjoy the experience of being with others more when I prefer to do my own thing, and how do I start to like myself more? (And yes, I realize I need therapy of some sort, but because of finances it's not an option that's on the immediate horizon.)