Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chameleon

For years I have had the horrible habit of trying to fit in. I am an expert on how to sound like I belong to a group. I could step into a church and I know just what to say to appear that I belong. I still can. Dazzling people by explaining what they believe better than they do is really my only social skill. I just had to be careful to never hang around people who would call me out, which was not very difficult as few people are willing to do that. Because I was so desperate to belong I became very skilled at appearances, to the point that I fooled even myself.

Lying to myself came at a great cost though. Eventually I had to face reality and when I did I lost my faith and the basis for many of my relationships. I went from believing that I knew everything important to knowing how little I knew. It was a miserable experience, but it was probably the most important thing that has happened to me yet. I now firmly believe that learning starts with admitting ignorance. Ruthless skepticism, though, is not necessarily an attractive trait. I found that if I was to take this journey out of ignorance I would have to do it alone.

The problem with appearances is if they are the goal as long as the appearance is maintained there is no reason to make further effort. When I faced the truth and admitted that I knew almost nothing I was left without a need for the facade. I still held on to it in hopes that it was more than just an appearance but that hope died very quickly. I found I had no personal substance. I could talk the talk but the walk was another matter entirely. I had no real character. My need for acceptance was so deep I had completely failed to develop any character. I was a chameleon.

When I realized these things, I was relieved. Maintaining a lie is exhausting, and admitting my lies to myself allowed me to drop the facade for the first time. I accepted the responsibility for change and I stopped looking for approval. When your only goal is to fit in you have to pay very close attention to what people think of you. You cannot afford to be caught so you must change to fit everyone's mood. Who you are is determined by what people say and think of you. Once the facade was gone I ceased to care about what others thought and I began to focus on what I needed to do to grow.

In the past I used to say "I don't care" as a defense. It was a way to avoid the pain of implicit rejection, real or imagined. What I am experiencing now is completely different. I used to imagine doing great things and what others would think of me (omegas tend to be delusional). I would make plans with meticulous detail. I was always thinking of how to make myself look good.
Nothing ever came of these plans. Regardless of how carefully I thought it through I was paralyzed with fear about how it would look if I failed. I could not bear the thought of being laughed at. I would plan and never act.

Now I simply act. Plans can be made on the fly. Mistakes are inevitable but acceptable. Nothing needs to be perfect or even look good because I am learning to not care what other people think. If I am doing it right they never once cross my mind. My choices are my own, they have little to nothing to do with what other people think. This has made for real change. For example, I told myself for years that I should workout, that I should exercise, but I could not do it. I had no useful motivation because it was all external. I was paralyzed by what people would think. Now I am working out on a regular basis, and I do it alone. I have no gym partner because I do it for myself and a partner would get in the way. My motivation is internal. It must be internal for any success to occur. In fact I have found that nearly every success has happened when I gave no thought to what people were thinking of me. I acted and focused on the challenge at hand.

That is not to say that I do not fall into old habits. I recently announced here that I would be doing a number of approaches every week. Since then I have done only two. If I am learning game to impress people on the internet I am doing it for the wrong reason. I am currently examining my reasons for learning game. I have realized that if I do not do it for the right reason it will fail.

In the end I am alone in this. If I am to correct my ignorance I cannot afford to let other's discomfort at my skepticism deter my questioning. If I am to gain any sort of character I must act without regard for the movement of the crowd. In the end I must act, because no one else will do it for me.

16 comments:

The LP 999/Linda said...

Wow. Quite a bit of growth.

Anonymous said...

Yes, quite the step forward. Keep it up. I suspect you might regain your faith near the end of this process.

Athor Pel said...

Just because you lost faith in what other people believe does not mean you need to lose faith completely. You really need to find something to believe in that is outside of yourself. I say this because if you aren't held to account by someone other than yourself it will be too easy to rationalize away any fault on your part.

You can work yourself into becoming a better person by the world's standards but that's as far as you will go. It is easy to find examples of accomplished men of the world that ended up blowing their brains out when their bodies began to betray them, Ernest Hemingway for example. A man like Hemingway only had the material world to rely on, therefore once the relationship to the world he knew started to break down, his body got old in other words, he couldn't deal with it.

There is more than material reality. There is a spirit within you that needs nourishment just as much as your body and mind. The only place to get that nourishment is the Word of God and you know it. Read your Bible. If you search diligently and earnestly you will find answers.

Lyle said...

Athor, that's a horrible example. Hemingway didn't kill himself because of his over reliance on the physical world. He killed himself because he had hereditary hemochromatosis. His father, brother and sister all had the same illness and all suffered the same fate.

In fact, you'll have trouble finding an example to fit the theory you've stated. Most suicides are the result of physical or mental illness, not old age or physical deformity and certainly not lack of belief in god. Logically, you assertion makes no sense. If all you have is the physical world and you believe this is all there is and when you die you go nowhere, why would you kill yourself? You lose everything and gain nothing.

It's particularly dishonest to imply a lack of faith will lead to suicide and that's the only parallel I can track between paragraphs 2 and 3.

David said...

Wow. I mean, just wow.

RM, this post is the story of my life. This is exactly what I have become - a chameleon, hell-bent on winning approval from others, and now having no character or substance of my own. Dude, I can't begin to express how much I can relate to every word of your post... except, unfortunately, for the end, because I'm not quite there yet.

Well, there is one more difference, and that is on this subject of faith, though even there are paths seem similar. I have had a very tormented relationship with faith over the last few years, coming and going quite routinely. My friends don't know what to do with me. Of course, it is very hard to deal seriously with the subject of faith if you won't even be yourself so that you can acknowledge what your questions and where your problems actually are - so you can acknowledge the fact that you don't know what you think you know or want to know. I have recently begun to return to my faith in God. I won't pretend any more that I have all the answers, because I definitely don't. But I have to admit there is a part of me that believes. It's just the way it is. And God, for me, has been a big help in this process of trying to be real, because, you know, I know that when I come before him in prayer, he accepts me and deals with me exactly as I am.

I'm glad you're coming through. I want to do the same. It's hard, though, in the meantime, because there is so much grief - that's how it is for me, anyway. Twenty five years of letting myself down, of thinking I was the only one who didn't matter, of betraying myself and depriving myself of everything I wanted just because I had to have that approval. Man, I'm angry with myself, and I'm angry with certain people who should have been there for me but weren't. That's a stumbling block for me right now.

Anyway, I'm going to keep reading your blog, and thanks for keeping it real.

Yohami said...

Yes dude, now we´re talking. The chameleon skills will be useful, though.

If you act and dont worry, the intelligence behind the chameleon is very useful to round and soften and handle things when needed.

Re approaching girls. Try just speaking to everyone and turning everyone into you. At the gym, school, work, wherever you are, draw people into you. When "people" are girls, turn up the tease. Dont pay attention to the girls attractiveness, let this become your new way of dealing with people. When you are in a 2 or group, feel free to call strangers in and make them part of the conversation.

This is more useful than isolated "cold approaches" and seeds the skills and personality traits deep down in you.

If you are in "on" mode, girls / people will start approaching you as well. So, befriend everybody, game everybody, dominance everybody, comfort everybody, rapport everybody, tease everybody, kino everybody, with you as the constant.

And as I said your chameleon will help. At least you have social intelligence covered.

Athor Pel said...

Lyle,

It's nice of you to agree with me concerning Hemingway while sounding like you don't.

Ted Walther said...

Let us address faith. All religions are wrong. In that sense, RM was in the right to reject it.

But, humans do need faith. We need that solid rock outside of ourselves, which is consistent, and never fails. I call it God. So do many religions.

Just start with the belief that God exists, he is good, and he wants good for those that are in harmony with him.

Then you can progress to the idea that the vast majority of the world's population agrees that the first five books of the Bible, are the words of God (Judaism, Christianity, Islam).

As a moral code goes, the Pentateuch is the best there is. It is the original Cowboy code. These cowboys, called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, lived in a hostile country. They were surrounded by Indians (Canaanites). They had to look after their sheep and cows and get them to market in the big cities. So they had to hold their own against enemies outside. And that meant they had to keep some internal order. They had to get along with each other INSIDE the camp... and with the aliens outside the camp.

Proof that the Pentateuch is the best code ever? Results. The bulk of the world still respects it and follows many of its tenets. Even if you are an atheist who follows evolutionary psychology, you can't argue with results.

Yohami said...

"But, humans do need faith. We need that solid rock outside of ourselves"

No, that´s MEN, not "humans".

"you can't argue with results."

We can, but its really about arguing interpretations.

Im researching Pentateuch code, it ignited my curiosity. Where should I read it?

Ted Walther said...

@Yohami Pentateuch is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

It contains explicit laws. The rest of it is stories. Some people treat them as myths or fables. For our purposes, that doesn't matter. They exist to "interpret" the laws. The stories let you see the laws in action, cause and effect. The action laws are about 600 in number, and mostly consist of "in this situation, do this, or do that".

It is an extremely compact way to convey a lot of information. That is why one of the laws is "keep meditating on these every day". Like a flower that unfolds in the morning, you keep getting more insight as you think about one piece in relation to another piece.

Many people just say the book doesn't make sense or is inconsistent. Because they aren't doing it as a martial art exercise, where you put the pieces together. They are scared if they don't understand it all on first reading, they are doomed. Not realizing it was mean to be a life-long meditative exercise, like Tai-Chi.

Yohami said...

I guess I´ll have to read the bible

Ted Walther said...

Also, like Tai-Chi, or any martial art, you must practice and do it, before the insights really start to flow.

Much of the insight and knowledge actually isn't written down. You do the things in there, and then you see a lot of side effects, and THEN after a few years you see the connections between the side effects.

Pentateuch is the first five books of the Bible. Even Muslims acknowledge the Bible in some capacity, which is why I state that more than half the worlds population accepts the Pentateuch as the word of God. (Muslims, Jews, Christians, and some smaller groups, I think even the Sikhs)

Yohami said...

Ted, it makes sense for a primitive moral code to be passed as stories. And it makes sense that its written in a non rational, more poetical language that talks to the whole brain with images and symbolism rather than with the dry mathematical utilitary objectualism of today or whatever we call it.

And it makes sense that these stories will only make sense when you experience them and not when you think about them with an alien logic.

I discovered a big bunch of stuff in the Alchemy, I know I will have to go deeper at some point. Marked the bible as a future read now.

Go figure.

Ted Walther said...

Yahomi, if you do read the Bible, I think you'll find it quite humorous; all the way through it, the principles of Game are on every page. Push-pull, freezeouts, DHVs, hypergamy, slutty females going after alpha males, etc.

Ingemar said...

If you are learning Game so that mysterious strangers on the internet won't call you a loser, you are learning Game for the wrong reason.


On the plus side, with your ease in communicating with women and total lack of character, you are becoming more like Roissy every day.

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