Living up to the expectation of others - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Living up to the expectation of others


I am wondering something. I always seem to subconsciously try to live up to the expectation of others. And not just very specific people, but many people.

This makes me lose my feeling of identity. I often wonder what it is that _I_ want, or what amount of trying to live up to what other people think is healthy. It also makes it really difficult to make decisions, as I can always see many different viewpoints for all the available options. I think this is also connected to the fear of letting others down, as with making decisions there is often always a party that will be disappointed.

Do you recognize this? How do you deal with it?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 09:49 PM
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I do the same thing. I try to base my opinions on what I believe will piss the least amount of people off. It is very hard for me to make a decision on many issues because I don't think about what I believe in my heart to be right. I think about how others will generally respond to it. I would think this is a self-esteem issue. People with this problem lack confidence in being able to adequately defend their position so they go with the crowd. I can't tell how to deal with this yet. I am beginning therapy so I'm sure I will get to this issue in time. Sorry I can't be any help but at least you know that I'm with you. I would suggest looking for a therapist that is well-versed in SA and that practices with a scientifically proven gameplan, like cognitive-behavioral therapy, to help guide you through your issues such as this.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 10:43 PM
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I can relate, sometimes I feel like I'm just blindly following people, neglecting my own thought processes. Its a definite self-esteem thing, I think it originated for me during middle school where I wanted to hang with the "in" crowd. I think its best to just trust your own experience and stick to your own values whatever that may be. It's going to be a definite challenge but therapy can help you make those values clearer for you I think.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-06-2009, 11:49 PM
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I come from a family with big values and we're also part of a religious community where people all know each other.

I'm the only son for my parents and there are high expectations for me. I don't see myself living up to those expectations, and I think they are slowly realizing that. However, it will never be as painful to them as it could be to me.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-07-2009, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response guys. It does indeed seem to be self-esteem problem. A few years ago I have been in group therapy for 2 years with that goal in mind. I'm not sure that was the right kind of therapy for me though; I think I'm better off with a one-on-one therapy. I'm a bit reluctant to go again though, remembering how much energy it cost. But I suppose there's really no avoiding that!

I do know that I felt quite a bit better after some time in that therapy. So after 2 years, we decided I could go on alone and see if I could cope on my own. I think what went wrong though, is that I felt so tired from spending so much energy on my issues, that I basically stopped keeping myself on my toes. And as such, the positive effect quickly wore off.

This seems to be a main thing, positive experiences not having a long lasting effect, while the negative ones haunt me endlessly. It feels like a design flaw of the brain. I really have to keep telling myself to stay positive. What also seems to help is, when negative thoughts rise up, to try and take something positive out of it as well.

Also, when I think of building self-esteem, my first thoughts are: What could I do that will make others think better of me? Apparently I need to feel better about myself by having others think better of me. But the catch there is that people in general never really praise you on the good things you do, but mostly complain about the negative things. I feel almost female-like in craving the compliments on a regular basis. I feel really uncertain about that. It doesn't help that I built up such a massive defense system to keep people at a distance, which makes them even less likely to compliment me on anything!

I've heard good things about cognitive behavioral therapy. I need to investigate that in my neighborhood. It sounds more promising than what I've tried up until now. There's something bothering me though.. I have a full-time job at a very small company. I would hate to have therapy sessions during regular working hours, because then I have to come up with an excuse as to why I'm not available then. I certainly don't feel comfortable enough explaining this to my boss. Also, I think it will hurt my career if I would choose to work only 4 days instead of 5 (I suppose that could be one option). How am I supposed to deal with this? Are there self-help cognitive behavioral therapies that actually work?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-07-2009, 10:19 AM
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yes, & I don't know

"One's level of confidence is assumed to indicate their level of ability, but a high level of confidence can also be related to one's level of ignorance."
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