I need help breaking down the wall surrounding my soul | INFJ Forum

I need help breaking down the wall surrounding my soul


Mar 20, 2018
It has been almost a year since I started living alone in my own apartment after having lived with my parents since I was born. I recently turned 22, working a full time job that I don’t like. The plan was to spend all of my free time working on my passion and eventually get a job in that field. I have always believed it to be possible to achieve this goal ever since I set it six years ago, and still do. Except I forgot about the only thing that could stop me, which is myself.

I’m currently reading Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy. Here’s a quote from the chapter on goal setting: “If your goal is to be fit and healthy and to live a long life, you will achieve it. And if your goal is to be financially independent or even wealthy, if that is truly your goal, then there is nothing that can stop you from reaching it, sooner or later. Your only limitation is your desire: How badly do you want it?”

It’s that last sentence that stuck with me. Because what is happening to me right now is that my desires are shifting. I’m missing my past more and more and the future is starting to look bleak.

After going through the experience of living the ‘adult life’ for almost a year now, I started noticing that work is not what life is all about. You see, I don’t like my job. Yet I still need the money or else I won’t be able to keep a roof over my head and food in the fridge. But even if I loved my job to death, the situation would still be the same. There is only one purpose: survive.

I paid a heavy price to afford the journey to get where I initially wanted to go. When I previously said that the plan was to spend all my free time on my passion, I really did mean it. By doing so I lost my friends and barely speak to my own family. I was always on the grind because I really wanted to achieve my goals, to get away from a shitty life and away from a shitty job. Now this is what I always told myself. But being honest I would say that what I wanted most of all, was to prove to everyone that I’m not a failure. But what was this quote again? “No man is a failure who has friends.” Damn..

Let me try to go full circle here. Right now my life feels meaningless. I can no longer lie to myself and pretend that what I want most out of life is that job. Something I’ve worked on for so many years, all the hours I put into it, constantly reminding myself of the determination of my first step.

No… what I truly desire, no matter how hard it may be to admit, is love.

Hah! I can’t believe how I’ve brainwashed myself over the years thinking that that wasn’t it. I can understand why though. It’s just self-defense. If you chase things you might not get, you can get hurt. If you convince yourself that you don’t want it anyway, problem solved, right? Except it’s not really a matter of wanting, it’s a need. I need someone to love unconditionally. I understand that now. My survival depends on it. My body is suffering from all kinds of ailments, I can feel myself dying. I can’t blame nature, she’s just doing her job. I received the message that my body is trying to convey, and now it’s time to do mine.

I would like to get back to my previous self. The younger version of me that was driven by love as opposed to fear. I am wondering if I should visit a psychologist, but I’m scared of that too. Maybe someone with experience can tell me what to do. I would like to stop hurting myself with feelings of guilt and regret. I feel like I selfishly abandoned everyone. I only cared about my own “success”. I tried googling this but all I could find were topics about people feeling abandoned themselves. For me it’s the other way around and I couldn’t find anything…

Feeling this guilty makes it difficult to get back to these people. If they were to reject me it would be my own fault and I bet that would hurt. A lot. Even if they welcomed me with open arms, why would I deserve it?

This also makes it very difficult for me to try and make new friends. I somehow hold the belief that I wouldn’t deserve them because of the way I treated my old relationships. I know this way of thinking is incorrect, but it’s like I embodied it. I programmed it straight into my unconsciousness. I feel this way. Or maybe I’m just terrified, and this is how fear has manifested itself. I wonder how I can figure out what is really going on.

I would like to know your thoughts on this. Maybe you’ve experienced something similar, or witnessed someone else go through it.

Thank you for reading :)
Firstly, welcome!

These all sound like pretty reasonable concerns, fears, and desires to me. It sounds like you have a few problems which can be bad enough on their own. Meaningless work, loneliness, regret, and fear that you won't be able to rectify the situation you've (at least in part) created. That isn't even mentioning the 'ailments' which can make taking those steps toward change that bit more difficult.

However, you've been honest with yourself and now people reading this thread about your situation. That's not nothing. I can't give you specific advice because I don't know the specifics of your circumstances. If you need someone to love unconditionally, it's you. It's that younger version of yourself who got the wrong end of the stick and blasted off into adult life from an unstable launch pad. It's not necessarily you now, who maybe doesn't deserve unconditional love and wouldn't be able to accept it even if they could rationally 'believe' that they did. Imagine yourself as a Russian nesting doll and love unconditionally those layers which you can and eventually it will reach, at least in part, the outermost one - present day you. This way, you give and receive unconditional love at the same time and don't risk too much because, you'll be back where you started at worst.

To give some very broad advice, I like the notion that 'the journey is the destination'. You're 22. Even if you had succeeded the way you had imagined, there would still be plenty of time and opportunities to fuck it up and throw it all away. Likewise, if you have worked in some way toward your original goal, whilst you may not have reached the finish line, this time has not been wasted.

Working a shitty job and then going home alone can be tough. People your age often have roommates and this might be a good time to do that as it spreads out the domestic duties, gives you company and personal space, and usually results in a cheaper rent leaving more money to use for things you really want to do. Sometimes, also, provided you're willing to return the favour, a 5 minute rant about a shitty day at work to a roommate means the 5 hour rumination isn't necessary. Also, rather than rushing back to the people you may well have selfishly abandoned (I don't know) you can practice the skills you will need in order to keep the people you wish were back in your life with these transient roommate relationships until you feel ready to face the music. Who knows? Maybe one of those will organically turn into a friendship or relationship that lasts longer, but at the very least it will force you to do more than merely survive. You won't be able to abandon the situation for a month (at least) if you have a shitty roommate, and that's a start for building up your tolerance.

Not sure how helpful that was but your situation didn't sound alien to me so I tried to be a bit practical as well as wishy-washy.
OK, here is some food for thought. Maybe this will help you. Maybe you need to look elsewhere. But this is my take on the situation.

Life is coloured by the way you feel, not what you do or where you are. Your ability and desire to achieve goals is entirely dependent on what you feel. Sure, you can do things through the sheer force of willpower and self-discipline, but self-discipline requires willpower and willpower is a limited resource. "A depleting task requiring self-control can have a hindering effect on a subsequent self-control task, even if the tasks are seemingly unrelated." [x] Thus, which is what many people doing this whole grit and do gruntwork philosophy quickly discover, if you depend on willpower alone to achieve your goals, you're going to have to work within your limits and focus on establishing one goal at a time... and more likely than not, given your attitude about how everything is inherently meaningless and difficult, work to squeeze blood from a stone the whole time. By the time you get anywhere and achieve anything of note to make you happy, you'll probably give up. Most people do.

On the other hand, if you're feeling good and inspired, things come a lot more easily, don't they? You enjoy yourself. Even if it's a task most people find boring, you find some ways to make it fun and the right amount of challenging for yourself. For example, say you loathe cleaning. What can you do to make it fun? Put on some feel good music. Challenge yourself to clean with your left hand if you're right handed. Time yourself to do a task in ten minutes. Use the cleaning time to listen to a podcast you've been meaning to listen to. Practice a speech. See if you can remember the Pokemon Rap. Whatever.

The same principle applies to everything that you do. You got to enjoy the process. Find some way to make what you do fun and focus on the good. Even with the job you hate. Focus on the positives, the skills that its giving you. 'Every day I get up to do this less than ideal job, I'm flexing my self-responsibility muscle. This is going to serve me in the future. Every day that I do _________ I feel myself getting closer to the goal that I set for myself.' I like the fact that this job is showing me what I don't want to do; it's giving me ideas about what I'm going to do differently. Maybe there's something that I can do to improve it now? Maybe I'm not the only one having a hard time doing this job? What if I team up with some of my co-workers and we make it easier for all of us at once.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Look, I love Brian Tracey, I love that he says 'eat a frog' every day and he encourages people to challenge themselves. The emphasis is on a task, the fact that sometimes it's a hard task, but it doesn't matter, it needs to get done... but no one is going to be able to live a life with their days FILLED with nothing but these kinds of tasks. That's ridiculous. No one is able to postpone their happiness into the far future until they reach their goal.

You need to make peace with where you are and just...change the way you feel. You need to change your emotional baseline and your emotional baseline depends entirely on the beliefs that you harbor. A belief is only a thought that you keep thinking. If every day, you're thinking: my life is meaningless, I hate my job, I want to go back to childhood, I hate where I am, this is the life you're shaping. What about thinking something else? What about 'wherever I am, I am going to find a little ray of sunshine... just a little one.. and see if I can find a break in the clouds.' What about 'I'm going to find the good in what I'm doing and focus on that and focus on what I'm doing and how it serves me.'

Or better yet, just find the fun. It's what children do naturally. It's why their most natural state is... drum roll... contentment.

Start with that 'find the fun' philosophy. Apply it everywhere. Use it to interrupt your self-defeating thoughts and see if it helps.

Edited to Add:


Guess Brian Tracey would agree after all! And now that I think about it, it's a pretty fundamental part of his philosophy too.
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Hi @Fallible and welcome.

Your entire posts reads like the typical life and mindset, and emotional situation, of someone your age. It is still genuine, and it doesn't make what you are experiencing any less real or important.
Welcome to adulthood – struggling, working a job you don't like (for less pay than you want and/or deserve), feeling alone, wanting love, and hoping you reach the goals you have set for your life in all departments. Your situation is relatable, which is good because it means you are not alone.

Keep working on your goals for your career. Do not give up. Learn to balance those goals with a personal life, though. Try to meet people with similar goals. At the worst it will be networking (which is good for your career), and at the best, you will make friends or find someone to love. Both sides of your life can nurture each other because you'll be a more interesting person to be friends (or more) with if you have career goals and dreams and keep making achievements toward those goals, and because having friendships and someone to love with broaden your mind and life experiences and make you a more appealing candidate for potential jobs. Just make sure to keep this balanced in your favor. Don't let career be your only focus, and don't neglect your career in favor of socializing.

The way you treated past friendships and relationships with your family doesn't mean you do not deserve new friendships. It's natural for adults who are newly on their own to distance themselves from their parents for a while. (Not everyone does, but many do.) All you have to do is suggest getting together for dinner once a month, visit them, or call them if you live far away. Maybe it was best for you to let go of old friendships, at least for a little while. You may rekindle some of these friendships later on. Now, try to meet people you share interests in common with. You do deserve friends.

If your family and friends from the past reject you, that is OK. It will hurt, yes, but there are other people who will love you, fill those spaces and fulfill those roles. In the case of parents, you may fill that role from within you. (I do hope your family is understanding when you try to re-establish relationships.) You deserve to have good people in you life – don't forget that.

The 'meaning of life' is different for everyone and will even change for you as you move through this world. The advice I can give you here is to create your own meaning.
To stave off ennui you must learn to find the fun and beauty in life. Cultivate a positive attitude and appreciation. Learn to laugh at all the little things that go wrong. Save getting sad or angry for the important stuff.

Love is not within your control. It will happen, but not precisely when you want it to, or how you want it to. As you build your social circle you will meet more people and those opportunities will happen.
You could try dating apps, too, though those seem to work best for experiences, rather than finding "the one".

Explore music, literature or non-fiction (theory, philosophy, etc), film, art, etc. You will find a connection somewhere and feel less alone in this world. Someone, somewhere made songs, books, films, paintings... that are similar to what you feel and think. Shared interests in music, film, and art are also great ways to meet new friends and potential love interests. Music can be good therapy.

Summer is approaching. Choose something fun to do this summer and start making plans: an event, a concert, a short get away, a day trip, etc. Do it! Make a concrete plan to participate in this event and as the date approaches maybe you'll find someone to do it with. If you go solo, that will be fun, too.
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This whole post screams "Depression". Have you ever been treated for depression before? These thoughts of the past and feeling excessively guilty for mundane things yada yada...it's like you live your life in this very confined ability to see things. Can't bring yourself out of yourself to see the whole picture. Almost like self-absorbed thinking but it's mainly because your brain isn't functioning properly so you cannot process all the facts. Foggy thinking.

I definitely would go see a psychologist but even better maybe a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse because they can prescribe medicine and psychologists can only diagnose and not medicate. Sometimes these things are chemical and you want to rule that out.
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Mate, you are 22 years old, that's like the the beginning of the adult life. Also welcome to it; Here's the bitch ticket that everyone gets, behold the hardships you get for it.

It's normal you miss the past, it's a feeling of safety that you are feeling because back then everything was organised for you. The adult life just drops you in the reality that you are holding the wheel on everything, you are controlling your own life. And that takes effort and pressure.

In regards to relationships, as you are 22 years old, just go out. Experiment a bit. Make friends, learn how people work. Get a girlfriend, learn to grief from losing the relationship, learn how to make stronger relationships and understand that value in each relationship. And yes, the dating scene nowadays is just shit in general, you'll have to accept that. Again, learn from it and learn how people work. It will take a lot of effort but it's worth it.

Get back to your friends even if it takes some effort. You don't have to take effort to all of them, that's just too much effort but at least get some friends back and learn that they also have experienced the same situation.

Your job...is just your job. There's nothing wrong with focusing and aiming to a point of growth. That's ambition, but take in mind that a job is just a means of survival, it's the security that pushes you to live your life further. But solely focusing on your job will get you in a depressive state, it's just not worth it. If you have passions (i assume you do), grow them, it's what makes you. The more passions you grow, the more you have to talk about with people.

And If anything I can advice to you: be true to yourself. You are you, you will make mistakes, you will learn from them and you will improve, that is the essense of the young adult life. Enjoy the ride and know that every experience
is an experience, whether it's good or bad. That is the point of life.

You do not need a psychologist. Just drop the negativity and have fun.
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I wonder how I can figure out what is really going on.

Realize that nobody knows what the fuck is going on anyway.

Congrats, you're invincible.
This is what life is going to be like in some ways for the next 40 to 50 years until you retire or kick the bucket early, the normal types find something to keep themselves going through either their relationships, family, hobbies, and some form of medication like booze as the human experience in the modern world has devolved into being little more than an economic unit. If you are not their already you will be soon enough longing for some escape to a happier more humane life.
My dear, I'm in my 30s and i'm in the exact same predicament as you--- but only today as I take a leave from work recovering from illness. My point is that there are days when we need to let go of control: to let ourselves curl into fetal positions thinking it would be so much more convenient than feeling like a waste of mass on earth. But really, dying would be so much more hectic and wasteful that a day, or a week, to feel like crap and be crap would be more responsible relatively. I'm saying it won't always be like this. On a day when you appreciate the sunshine or the rain, relish it. Go smell grass. Work on days when you need to. when it feels so heavy, let it be. We may or may not make a difference in this world, we may or may not live fulfilling lives but if you really think about it: it's still being alive. Some days, we have to accept that we don't know any of the shit we need to do. Nobody truly does. I mean we can try, but really not every thing is ever really within our control.

Okay I'm editing this post to add flares of honesty.

(1) I was, and still am, in the same predicament as you. Possibly worse. The burn out that people here talk about? I've been there. I worked too hard for I job I wasn't sure I loved, lost loved ones and friends, burned out, gave up the job, lived like a hermit----convinced that I would rather be in that life of solitude forever.
(2) friends convinced me to get back out in the real world because they all thought i could make a difference, but they never really understood that I am simply not the same person anymore.
(3) I tried out a different career path in search for meaning and found myself back at my original career track (but gravely regressed) because ultimately, it held more purpose than the latter.
(4) tried my luck at "normalcy" again, gets repeatedly rejected at job applications (and love confessions), goodness----even graduate school applications. Well, not really rejected there, but categorically I never hit the mark I've been aiming at.

My realizations this far?
(1) I am not in control. My life nor my purpose is simply not something I can manipulate. You would probably argue against this to a certain degree and you would have a point because willpower will take us somewhere. Yet, isn't that why we've become so tired? We have constantly been willing ourselves to do things because we think it is absolutely necessary and I don't know about you but to me sometimes it gets pointless. I mean, look at the world around you. As cute as babies and puppies are, some of them grow up to become real aholes. Was it even our responsibility anyway, to help the world? Or is loving ourselves our prime responsibility? Definitely, it is also necessary to love ourselves. The compromise?
(2) Balance. Sometimes will yourself to your perfection, sometimes just let it go. Be the perfect bum. Be reckless. Lose self. Responsibly, of course, and never to a detriment you would absolutely regret. What if you do regret it?
(3) It's okay to lose some. We were not born to win them all. Apologize. Right the wrong. Accept the growth that needs to happen.
(4) Love, is the hardest to manipulate or will out of all. It is difficult to love those who already love you and it is even most difficult to love oneself. This is the true war.

I say let go as though we have time, I know we don't. Yet maybe that's the gift of life in itself---not knowing what we're supposed to be at all. My mom used to tell me, let the universe take you to where it needs you. Your plans are great but only the universe knows where your are most needed.

Cheers to our lightness and loss. :)
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