Waking Up for the First Time
November 27, 2009 3:49 PM   Subscribe

How do one become less uptight and serious? People say that you just need to find the humor in life and that the rest will take care of itself. The problem is that I don't see the humor in life. I'm constantly worried about one thing or another. I see a therapist and that helps immensely, but it seems that I'm always hypervigilant of danger on the horizon.

I think that part of what makes me uptight is the fact that there is so much more to life than I ever contemplated. Being in therapy has made me so much more aware of things that I was oblivious to that I feel like I'm hopping from one foot to another in an attempt to catch up to where everyone else is? I keep discovering new things about myself and the world, that I can't believe I was so oblivious. The conundrum that I find myself is that I basically repressed my entire personality and existence for such a long time that it wasn't until two years ago that I finally started waking up and experiencing the world. I find that I'm discovering so much that it feels enlightening but at the same time it's frightening because I feel as though I am so far behind what everyone else knows at my age. Even my dreams suggest that I am "behind." I frequently have a dream where I am in sixth grade, and all the students from my year are seniors in high school. . I can't stop worrying about everything. I know this sounds like I should be able to just snap myself out of this, but it's not as simple as just thinking differently. As much as I don't want to be oblivious to life, I felt pretty confident about myself when I was so unaware. I'd like to feel confident and comfortable in my own skin again and I'm struggling with how to do this.
posted by Garden to Human Relations (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure if this helps or not, but being uptight is actually a terrific source of humor. It's not either/or. You can be uptight and add some sources of amusement. It's unlikely that someone who's uptight is going to become all devil-may-care and golden retriever-like, chomping on the world's frisbees. I'm pretty uptight but I find lots of things hilarious, and I find a lot of the things I'm uptight about to be pretty amusing as well.

If you want to have more fun, I think the first thing to do is let go of the feeling of being behind and repressed. We're all behind and repressed in our own special ways. Please believe me on that one.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:06 PM on November 27, 2009 [4 favorites]

I can't stop worrying about everything. I know this sounds like I should be able to just snap myself out of this, but it's not as simple as just thinking differently.

By the way, worry is sort of delicious. You can go through worry like potato chips, if you're an anxious person. It helps to distract yourself (read, exercise, go out) and it helps very much to take action. Worried about money? Make a budget. Etc. Etc. As a very anxious person myself, I can tell you doing anything - anything - helps a lot.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:09 PM on November 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

For a case of the worries, distractions are key, as is doing the best you can to prepare.

Also, realize that no one is 100% certain. And you don't necessarily have to think of yourself as being "behind".. it's not some sort of race.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 4:17 PM on November 27, 2009

What The Biggest Dreamer said. Also, as a longtime worrier, I have recently discovered that it's best to only be worried about that which I can control. To worry about things you cannot control... kind of pointless. Sounds a little harsh, but it's true.
posted by midatlanticwanderer at 4:32 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

I am a big worrier, but it hasn't stopped me from having maybe too much of a sense of humor. I find humor in the most mundane things. Humor is an excellent coping mechanism and way to keep from being too bored in otherwise boring situations. Maybe try to find humor in small things and see if it helps lighten your load at all.
posted by ishotjr at 5:39 PM on November 27, 2009

First I strongly disagree with 'A Terrible Llama' who said "let go of the feeling of being behind and repressed. We're all behind and repressed in our own special ways." This is completely unfair. We don't know the poster's personal situation. It is (or may be) like telling a morbidly obese person "hey, let go of thinking of yourself as having a weight problem, we all feel fat sometimes." Some people have problems that are big enough to matter, some don't. And we don't know whether, in this case "Garden" has a big enough problem to feel bad about.
I also disagree with people recommending humor. Humor can be a way of masking rather than curing things and can be a huge waste of time when your goal is to develop rather than divert.
I don't think you can "snap" yourself out of things but I think you can develop yourself out of things. Hopefully, if you keep going with the therapy and continue to discover things, eventually you'll discover how to deal with the things you discover. Remember to tell your therapist how you are feeling about your discoveries because then your therapist can help you with dealing with that.
posted by y6t5r4e3w2q1 at 8:04 PM on January 5, 2010

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