So, this is supposed to be about positivity and moving on in life. I’ve had a pretty miserable couple of weeks for one reason or another and now my mood is starting to pick up again. Getting away from my miserable lack of relationship experience and being on very familiar terms with unrequited love, it is time I started to summarise my findings of the self-help book.
In the opening chapter, Fennell asks the reader to think about why we have our negative perceptions. Most of these are long-term issues, feelings we have had since childhood based on early experiences. Here are mine.
Rejection: I was always a quiet boy, quiet and thoughtful and giggly girls were always an odd creature to me. I never had my first major crush until I was 15 and the girl was very nasty. A year later, I fell for a girl who was a sort-of-friend. She laughed in my face. Nobody ever tried to chat me up. I never got asked out on a date and I retreated into a shell for some time. So, feeling like I was the ugliest guy to ever walk the earth I did the best I could and thought “hey, if I can become good friends with some girls, maybe they’ll like me!” I got friendzoned with crushes twice before I met the wife. Those two girls were very nice about it and with the second one, though I didn’t get over it quickly, we went on to have a close friendship until we drifted apart.
Criticism: I was one of those children for who their best was never enough for his father. He did not try hard at school so projected all of his failings onto me. So now I am a perfectionist who will not ask for help and will plough on through mental and physical illness to get things perfect first time, feeling like a failure if I cannot manage. I now have a Master’s Degree but I didn’t do particularly well at school. I was so worried about failing and letting everybody down that I didn’t do as well as I could have done.
Lack of praise: As above.
Lack of interest: My father rarely took an interest in me or the things I was interested in and consequently I received no encouragement.
Being the odd one out: I was clearly the most thoughtful and intelligent of all my family and most of my school friends so I felt like the odd one out. In those situations, when I was the different one that meant “weird”.
So my bottom line feelings were the following:
Rejection: I am unattractive to the opposite sex in every conceivable way
Criticism: I am not good enough. I will never be good enough
Lack of praise: Because of the above, I do not deserve praise
Lack of interest: I am a boring person. My interests are not worthwhile
Being the odd one out: I am weird