Everything is in place for me to be completely happy. What's holding me back is that other piece: belief in self. Feeling good about myself. Being happy with who I am. Really and truly happy. Where I'm not wishing I am someone else somewhere else. So, how to get there?
Lists of accomplishments/qualities don't seem to do it. I've had those all my life. Typically, what's been the key point is belief that I am truly desirable to women. While not an unimportant thing, I completely exagerated its importance because my entire self-image revolved around the approval of women. But if I KNEW that I was attractive, that would, personally, be VERY important. But there has to be more. Character? I think I am a good person. But there's something else: I often feel when I'm talking to people - male, female, in person, online, whatever - that people are laughing at me and making fun of me for being a geek. Why? High school? Still??? Because I AM a geek? Because X was right and I DON'T know how to talk to people? I just feel there is something wrong with me. I've always felt like an outsider in ANY group - even when I was core and at the heart of the group.
I've never felt truly accepted. That's the key. And that goes back to my Dad. I've never really felt accepted by him. Not really. (And I also KNOW that is all my own neurosis, because he does.) And I've been searching for real acceptance from ANYONE ever since, but also never believing I ever really had it even when I did. I have always felt I was NOT accepted, really, and was thus an outsider. When there was no reason to feel the outsider I made one - espousing political or religious opinions outside the mainstream, doing my own thing, etc. The only "group" I feel truly a part of is a couple - whether me and a friend talking one-on-one or me and a woman. I guess, in that situation, there's no one else to compete with for attention.
Acceptance. How to be accepted? How to recognize it when I am accepted? How to believe it when it is real? How do you truly step from the outside to the inside and become a part?
I guess I could start by looking at my own criteria for accepting people. In general, I try and accept everyone for who they are. That's why I actually get along with a LOT of people that others find hard. The only people I have a hard time accepting are those who are just frustrating; typically because they are just slow and dumb and tiring. The only other group I can think of that I don't just accept are those who embrace a sub-culture that is crude and ignorant and debased.
So I, in general, am not that picky. I, generally, like people.
Of course, one question I have to ask myself is how much of that is my own self-focus and selfishness? Am I not picky because I don't WHO they are as long as they pay attention to me and listen to me and make it about me?
Maybe a bit. But I don't think that is all of it. I hope that is not all of it. I think I'm also, generally, a likable guy and that I genuinely like people and accept diversity. I like variety. I like that people are different.
But those are my issues. The thing is, while I may be a bit more accepting than some, most people aren't THAT picky (if they were, they would be pretty lonely). I thing most are willing to give me a chance, and as long as I'm not particularly obnoxious or odious, I think I AM generally accepted.
- Gaming at my friend John's - I am very accepted (even if I STILL feel like an outsider)
- Beer group with friends from old job - they like me. That's why they invite me.
- Church - Father and his wife have really taken me in. They like me. So, do my new friends from church.
- Work - Not generally a very social place, but I have one co-worker who calls me her "work-son" so I think that's acceptance
- Blogs - I think I was well-liked here before, even if sometimes people were probably a bit afraid of getting me too wound up on certain subjects.
- Fark (where I still hang out too much) - This one is tough. People are not restrained by normal behavior rules there and are often purposely mean. I've been accepted there before.
OK, that's great but stop trying to fix it. HOW to be accepted is less then issue than how to believe I am accepted. How to be comfortable in a group and confident that I am "in" and not an outsider. For that I just have to know that most people aren't that picky, everybody is, ultimately, not that different from me with all these same feelings and are all in similar positions - they need people and desire social contact. NOBODY is fully self-secure and NOBODY has so many friends they can just reject people out of hand.
OK, now how to help me believe all that, for reals?