Friday, June 18, 2010

Real Life Tao - Finding My Groove, Part 2

This post will make a lot more sense to you if you go back to read Part 1 first. :-)

It's been said that a person develops the vast majority of their personality in their formative years. Since mine were spent in virtual social isolation, by the time I reached early adulthood, I was a confirmed introvert. I kept to myself much of the time and, when in social situations, I utilized an oddball sense of humor to keep people at arm's length.

In some ways, I still craved to be part of a group -- almost any group -- but my lack of social skills made this virtually impossible. I qualified the previous statement with "in some ways" because my desire to be in a group was a bit schizoid. I liked the idea, in theory, but when the few possibilities presented themselves, I always walked away.

My early adult years were marked by a self-induced kind of purgatory. For the most part, I kept to myself, but I was often miserable and longed for human connections. So, I would force myself to go out into the social world. Yet, once there, the connections that I craved too often bewildered me, so I would scamper back to my cocoon of isolation.

Emotionally, I felt like a yo-yo. I seemed to be trapped in a dichotomy with no way out.

By my mid 30s, I decided one day that I was going to be a more social individual. I got involved in a lot of progressive activist groups and even became the leader of a few. For the first time in my life -- basically through the force of will -- I became a public person. But my membership was always on my own terms and I could only do the social thing for specified periods of time. I was known to disappear quite frequently as I needed "alone time".

This forcing of myself to be more social led to extreme amounts of internal stress. In fact, I am now convinced that I engendered so much stress that a lot of my physical problems today are the results of my efforts. By trying to force myself to be a person I am not, I believe I turned my body against itself and I am suffering the consequences now.

In Part 3 of Finding My Groove, I'll tell you how I found my groove.

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.

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