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The more cynical I am towards others, the higher my confidence levels

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  • #23277

    Vaom
    Participant

    Presumably saying this makes me an asshole, and I know this is probably not consistent with a lot of the philosophy and psychology that is put on this site, but I realized that I was always lacking in confidence around people up until maybe 5 years ago when I had the gradual revelation that the vast majority of the other people you encounter are pathological liars, backstabbers, psychologically unstable maniacs, or people who are so unbelievably boring and dull and offer absolutely no stimulation to your life on account of being extremely guarded and not wanting to engage in any real conversation that matches you at the level of depth and intensity that you want a conversation to be at.

    I don’t think the reason for the increase in confidence levels was on account of suddenly feeling morally superior to other people necessarily. I’m not sure I realized this at the time, but I think the reason why this dramatically increased my confidence levels, freedom to be myself, and made me feel a new sense of power was that when you realize how awful the vast majority of human beings are, it frees you up to behave in whatever way you want to behave because you’re obviously not going to seek the validation of a bunch of scumbags. If anything, receiving disapproval from these people is a sign that you are on the right track.

    What always amazes me is what is deemed more appropriate behaviour by the vast majority of people. For instance, if you (cordially) tell someone that you don’t like them or express your disapproval to their face on account of them being a passive-aggressive backstabber or a pathological liar, for instance, that is completely beyond the pale, and you will become ostracized from these people (which, again, is its own reward and an indication that you are doing something correct). But acting like someone’s best friend and then stabbing them in the back when they are not around by talking constant shit about them to a mutual associate? This is still not considered socially acceptable behaviour, but is far more accepted (and despite not being socially acceptable, almost everyone you encounter will engage in this type of shitty behaviour to some extent). If I don’t like someone or some aspect of their behaviour (the latter usually being if I like the person), I make a serious effort to never tell this to other people, but to either tell the person to their face or to not say it at all.

    What I find so strange is that with these people, they don’t even care if you are good company or what type of values you have or what type of connection you have. All they care about is that you act in ways that are deemed socially appropriate (e.g., polite smiles, not being standoffish), regardless of how boring your company and conversation is.

    I always feel uneasy around – and have an extreme skepticism towards – people who get on with everyone (i.e., social chameleons), because it makes me feel like they are compromising parts of their personality and behaviour to do so.

    What I find so bizarre is that while having this negative attitude towards the majority of other people grates on and aggravates a LOT of people (which, again, makes me feel like I’m doing something correct when I don’t get the approval of people I can’t stand), it makes the few people who do like me end up enjoying my company a lot and want to hang around me much more. When I behave in ways deemed more socially acceptable there are more people who are willing to interact with me, but I can tell they don’t really enjoy my company, and I don’t enjoy theirs (this is true of women as well – I’ve noticed a resentment from quite a few women when I behave in this way and I start hearing “my boyfriend/husband” lines much more frequently when I don’t believe I hear them anywhere near as often when I adopt my other attitude).

    However, in the past year, I have gone back and forth between trying to think better about other people and give them the benefit of the doubt, and to not tell people exactly what I think about them, but I’ve noticed that when I  do this, I end up attracting people into my life that have incredibly bad qualities and whom I don’t want to associate with and whose company I can’t stand and don’t enjoy. I’ve noticed as well that when I do this, my confidence levels disappear and I start becoming more needy and are more likely to start acting fake and saying weird and disgusting things that I would never say, and I’ve noticed that people start hating my company more and never want to be around me.  I think the reason is is that if you think well of other people, you’re more likely to want to mould yourself into a different person to seek their approval.

    I realized that this is not my personality and I don’t want to live like this anymore. I want to get back to how I was. However, I’m struggling to do so. I think the reason for why I adopted this more socially acceptable way of thinking was because I moved to a new place and I was trying to come across as more approachable to find more people in my life that I have strong connections with. I’m so happy when I come across people that I have a strong connection with; the types of people who you have such great chemistry with that you feel like you’ve just taken a drug after talking to them and make you feel so happy for the entire day afterwards. However, to find these people is difficult. It seems like only around 1 in 100 people are like this, if that.

    Does anyone have any advice about how to get back to my old mentality (being free and authentic and saying whatever I want whilst simultaneously not caring if I come off as standoffish/rude/socially unacceptable)? What annoys me is that I lost what I had, and didn’t follow my own instinct to keep behaving in that way that I had behaved in for such a long time. Is the reason why I can’t get back to that mentality because deep down I’ve developed a neediness that I did not have before? I had a really good friend that I met around one and a half a years ago that I used to talk to and hang out all the time who made me feel really good, but we stopped talking to each other around a year ago, so I’m starting to think that there could have been a neediness that developed on account of the fact that no longer talking to that person left a massive hole in my life that I find really difficult to fill. It’s strange because before I met her I was really happy and content with myself, so I’m thinking that I would have been better off had I never met her.
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    #23292

    Jimmy
    Participant

    You’re asking a question about how to change a habit.  It’s simple.  Notice when you are being the way you don’t want to be and then act in the way you DO want to be.  Because acting in a way you don’t want to be was something you thought would get you ahead and it worked (or something) but now it doesn’t work anymore for you.  It’s not giving what you want.  So why can’t you just go in the reverse?  Put yourself in situations where the “new you” would come up and instead activate “the old you”.  Voila.  On a side note I experience similar things.  I also personally have high standards for what is right and so on and so forth.  One thing that I understood, partially through my path through the content of this site and it’s long line of predecessors is that everyone has a path.  It may go through you.  It may not.  But where would you be without the person that you were?  Where would you be without your bad times?  Where would you be if you weren’t disappointed in yourself at some point?  Is it possible that those people are just living that part of their lives?  Maybe the place that they’re in isn’t a far away from a thing you used to do or a motive that perhaps you once shared.  And in that may maybe you can sympathize with them.  It doesn’t mean their behavior has to become “OK” but change the way you feel towards people that becomes less about hate and dispassion and more about love, kindness, compassion and understanding.

    A man can have standards and still love people who don’t meet them.

    #23306

    Ashley
    Participant

    I’ve come from that Social Chameleon back ground. Wanting to be liked by everyone and I’m still learning to express my boundaries and needs when it means confronting someone. When I recognised this, I had some fear about going too far the other way and becoming a loose arsehole who just doesn’t give a shit. Neither seem favourable to me so I asked myself a question.

    Who do I want to be? – Something that combines both. I want to be truthful and express my boundaries, but in a way that comes from love and understanding.

    So I’m not going to tell someone they’re a complete fuck up to their face, but I may point out how the way they are being is affecting me and these are my boundaries. I try to see everyone as going through their own shit just as I am so I’m not going to judge them.

    I’d recommend as Jimmy said; “Who do you want to be in these moments?” Get in tune with that version of you and align with it as much as you can in each moment.

    #23308

    Miguel
    Participant

    I’ve felt that before.

    What I’ve realized is that we live in a ‘state of creation’ in the moment-to-moment. I was creating a world for myself, that in order for me to feel good about myself: I secretly needed to put others down (not ill-intentioned), but I would find flaws in people and find many ways in which people have failed me; and how much better I was than them in order for me to gain/re-gain that confidence I craved. I believe it’s important to become aware of what kind of world you’re creating through your actions.

    Undoubtedly, I’ve felt this initially when I was going through my depressive episodes and that brewed a lot of resentment and anger for people – specifically women. I felt at ease in this state because it would give me a great amount of comfort to just not care, relax and be myself. I really liked it because I was in my own zone; I didn’t give two shits about anyone or anything else in my life.

    Furthermore, I believe individuals are more complex than you give them credit for. I too am baffled by people who twist their thoughts and opinions to whoever they’re talking to (i.e., social chameleons). Believe me that these people deeply crave, desire and seek the validation and acceptance of others.

    Mate, you’re doing great.

    You’re seeking your independence from yourself, you said it yourself, “having this negative attitude towards the majority, I’m doing something correct.” From this statement, it feels like you know what you want: not warp your thoughts and opinions for the sake of external validation and acceptance. That’s great! But, if you can source your confidence from yourself, without having these negative thoughts of others without putting them down to uplift yourself – then I think you’re on a great path.

    I recommend reading Leigh’s Endgame book. He goes further into Independence/Dependence if you’re interested in the different underlying mechanisms.

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