Get out of my head, Rob Brezsny.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Yet another week where I'm all "how does he KNOW??" It's creepy.

This would not be a good time for you to read the book called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Enhancing Self-Esteem. In fact, it will never be the right time to read it. While it's true that at this juncture in your life story you can make exceptional progress in boosting your confidence and feeling positive about yourself, you're not an idiot and you don't need idiot-level assistance. If there was a book called The Impish Guide to Accessing and Expressing Your Idiosyncratic Genius, I'd definitely recommend it. Likewise a book titled The Wild-Eyed Guide to Activating Your Half-Dormant Potential or The Brilliant Life-Lover's Guide to Becoming a Brilliant Life-Lover.


The primary meaning of the word "healing" is "to cure what's diseased or broken." Medical practitioners focus on sick people. Philanthropists donate their money and social workers contribute their time to helping the underprivileged. Psychotherapists wrestle with their clients' traumas and neuroses. I'm in awe of them all. The level of one's spiritual wisdom, I believe, is more accurately measured by helping people in need than by meditation skills, shamanic shapeshifting, supernatural powers, or esoteric knowledge.

But I also believe in a second kind of healing that is largely unrecognized: to supercharge what is already healthy; to lift up what's merely sufficient to a sublime state. Using this definition, describe two acts of healing: one you would enjoy performing on yourself and another you'd like to provide for someone you love.

Recently, I really have been experiencing a glut of self-confidence. I feel smart, cute, desirable and that I deserve far better than an unemployed alcoholic who shot himself in the hand while cleaning his gun and lives uncomfortably with his ex-girlfriend (despite my ex trying desperately to convince me otherwise - sorry, Mr. Rock.) I feel mentally and spiritually healthy, I feel absolutely content in my cozy apartment in a neighborhood where I regularly run into friends when I go to the store, I feel I am surrounded by amazingly supportive people and ready to start dating again and all of that is good. Great, even.

That isn't to say I think I'm perfect, or that my life is. I'll admit it now (and some may have a hard time believing this) - I have pretty significant social anxiety issues. Inside me is a shy, nerdy girl who got picked on in school and I just can't seem to completely shake her. I get incredibly nervous going out by myself and uncomfortable in groups of people I don't know well. If you see me out and about at a party or event I've most likely had a drink or two beforehand to calm my nerves. The bad part of that is that I will most likely continue drinking to provide continued social lubricant and at a certain point I just get dumb. If I'm not lubed up I'll typically be a quiet wallflower and end up coming off as unfriendly, which is so not "me." So, even if I'm feeling confident, I find excuses to avoid getting out and meeting new people. I could dazzle the hell out of friends and acquaintances with an adorable dress and a bit of wit, but get me around strangers and I'm a mess.

I've come up with a somewhat unorthodox idea to work to combat this issue - hot (Bikram) yoga. What better way to work on social anxiety issues than to strip down to practically nothing in a room FULL of strangers and sweat your ass off while trying to contort your body in unnatural positions. It's intrinsically one of my worst nightmares and I've been attempting to steel myself for this experience for the past year, but if I can get used to these people seeing me struggle (and possibly fall) and all my grossly sodden imperfections I think I'm one step closer to winning the internal battle. Somehow, to me this all makes sense.

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