I won't bore you too much with my biography. Instead I'll let you know why I decided to share my experiences of how I went from being a socially inept loner for over ten years, to now having long-term, passionate and meaningful relationships.
I was the "quiet kid" for over ten years.
I was just lucky enough to have one extremely outgoing best friend in every city I moved to who became my partner-in-crime. I was often overly dependent on this friend to be noticed by others or even gain some more varied social experiences. When he or she wasn't around, it was always difficult for me to stand on my own. I was the type who found it challenging to express myself unless the right person got my "better" traits out of me. I also preferred alone time more often than being around too many people, only because it felt more comfortable and I felt less criticism and judgement that way.
I had challenges building friendships or relationships on my own overtime. I didn't know how to initiate or continue conversations that could develop to something more, even though I desired a deep connection and was never closed off to it. I was just easily turned off, hurt by and anxious of more assertive personalities or challenging social interactions. Because I didn't have the natural skill and personality to develop a supportive social circle during my youth, I often just reverted to simply being silent, being a spectator and often times a loner. Instead of being out with friends, I spent most of my time watching movies and gaming online, because that was the only world I had felt some acceptance, confidence and comfort in. These were definitely lonely years of my youth that I wish I had made the best out of.
Because I felt like I was missing out on so many experiences, I spent several years reading books and taking classes on developing communication skills, in an effort to improve my abilities in building meaningful and long-lasting friendships. However... nothing I learned seemed to effectively manifest itself into my life. All I learned were generic, surface-level social skills that never lead to anything profound except some small talks here and there, and having enough fake charisma to land the occasional retail job. I hated my life! I was depressed, lacked self-esteem, was full of doubt and had no hope that my life would get better. I had bigger dreams, and a hidden personality which I had difficulty expressing for some reason. I wondered... How come no amount of psychological books, personality books, tests, communication skills classes or workshops worked to help me? Was I just dumb or slow? I was still having a hard time coming up with what to say or do. I still had difficulties attracting the ideal life, friends and opportunities I wanted. I even had difficulties emotionally connecting to my own family as I grew older. I felt like something was wrong and missing. I couldn't find the answer for several years, and instead it was spent video gaming online with other distant players, since that was the only place I could somehow express myself and catch a glimpse of my better traits.
My mentor entered my life in 2010 and patiently helped me through this struggle, year after year, until everything "clicked" with me.
It was a very challenging journey of trials and errors, and I often wanted to quit and go back to my comfortable and escapist activities of video gaming, shopping and watching movies (I did it everyday). But because of my desperate situation at the time, I kept my mind open to the specific knowledge he taught for developing social confidence. I discovered that a lot of material that works is often considered "unconventional" and a little "out there" in modern society. But it all actually made sense in the real world as long as you knew how to apply them.
I dug deeper to understand the foundational concepts and techniques which were actually well designed for those with social anxiety, introverted traits and low confidence. I went out and practiced my social skills with a completely different perspective.
Life is of course not so simple. I crashed and burned for three straight years before I was able to build up my true core confidence. I completely embarrassed myself several times. I went through a spiral of emotional ups and downs, an identity crisis every few months, run-ins with the law, developed tension with my family, almost burned bridges with one best friend, and got sucked into the world of underground nightlife which made me a bit jaded about people in general. So, what gives? Did I become a bigger social failure?
Actually, here is the part where things actually clicked and all those years of theory actually internalized for me.
Even throughout the mess I got myself into, I was finally living. I wasn't experiencing life through a fictional character anymore, it was my own. I was learning how to maneuver my own life by going through a lot more complex social situations than I had ever imagined I would find myself in. Because of the challenging situations I had to be accountable for, all of my anxieties, discomforts, and doubts about building relationships completely dissolved--out of necessity--and that was when I was able to truly open myself up to building genuine, long-lasting and meaningful friendships. I found passion, drive, openness and acceptance in my life. I really learned about human nature and while I saw some dark sides, I still developed a greater love for people than I ever have before.
With those years of trial-and-error and selective theoretical research, I wanted to share my own perspective of the simplified, specific and very effective methods that work to help people like me get OUT of their own mental prisons. All I request from you, my peers and readers, is to have an open mind, forget the social conditioning you've learned prior to this, drop a bit of ego, and proactively apply these ideas and methods to your life.
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