Self-Awareness Is Pain


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Retired Staff
1w2 sx/so/sp
I wanted to make this a thread for discussion, but I ended up being very self focused with it. For that I am sorry. I have to get this out of my system either way.

I am an extremely self aware person, I can not even begin to describe how high this level goes. I quite literally question nearly everything I think, feel, see, hear, ect. Everything has a deeper meaning to it, and I go to the end of the earth to distract it. I have always been like this, but within the past two years, I have put a very high level of effort into developing this. I want to be a better person, and this has proven to aid in being such a thing. I feel like I am able to understand other peoples motives, wants, needs, idea, ect with a high level of clarity, which in turns allows me to interact with them in the best way possible, and in a way which will make them most happy and engaged. Because I understand myself, and where my thoughts come from, I can understand if what I think or feel is valid, correct, complete, incomplete, ect. In essence I have created a "user manual" for myself, which has application to the world around me. This isn't delusional either. My interactions with others are problem free, and not a single person I interact with ever tells me they have some kind of issue or problem. Even when I beg them to tell me.

This has come at a terrible price though. It seems like the more and more I become good at doing this, the less happy I am. I feel like the things that I do, are a lot of personal sacrifices. If I feel emotional pain by something someone else has done, I often have to dissassociate myself from it. I have to understand the motive behind their move, and 90% of the time (because I am tactful with people, and do not provoke things ever), it was not their fault, and it might not have even been mine. As such acting on this, or even feeling it, is incorrect and invalid. I am aware of the details of this small event, and it does not give comfort to me. It will comfort the other person by me acting fairly, but that is it. I am aware of what is fair, and it just causes pain. It doesn't allow me to act in a way to heal myself, and it has been compounding for years.

I have had people tell me, to just back off from doing all this. Cater to my own personal emotions. The problem is, I can't. That is a step backwards. I can never revert back to a state that was less then what I am now. It is impossible and something I never have, nor will I ever compromise. It goes against everything I stand for. There must be other ways, and I have been searching. I have found better ways to interact with others to help address emotional problems that it causes for me. But the problem is they are purely cerebral and despite my intention, it doesn't help the way it should. I keep trying though, and I have noticed some changes, but they are small.

It seems like all the fixes I create just make something new that is harder to deal with, or it doesn't address in the way I intended. This self awareness doesn't just cause these emotional issues with interactions. It effects my view of the future. I am able to forecast what should be coming down the road. The problem is though sometimes that view is very painful, and I do not want to think about it. It gets stuck though and just ruminates, beyond what I can control. That in itself is an issue in itself. I get so overloaded with all of these things and this overwhelming nature is very painful. This is one thing where self awareness saves me. I want to do something to make myself feel better, cut maybe, end my own life. The thing is though, I am full aware at the bad nature of these things, and I could never act on them under any circumstances. The pain is still there though, and I can barely no longer handle it. I am crashing very fast and very hard that I am beginning to wonder how my body is able to contain all of this. I wonder if it will reach a point where it will simply fail. This self awareness is saving me, but at the same time causing severe harm by saving me.

I had more direction with this thread but it has since been lost. I have said enough at this point I think, even though I feel it is very incomplete for the whole picture, it is still a lot of information.
Not sure if this helps but I had several times in my life where I was perhaps overly engaged in things. I was getting some pretty intense input and rightly so given the circumstances. Good stuff overall. But, in order to balance things out a bit, I found hobbies/activities that involved very little thinking, a degree of silence, and were more manual in nature. These have been wonderful ways, not of running away, but balancing. I feel in this way I got less balled up and kept my overall direciton intact. Many years later I still consider this a big lesson learned.
I can see where you are coming from with this. I have always had the idea that self-awareness was rather positive as it has allowed me to understand myself and the world around me better. I can naturally feel, sense, and understand what exactly is wrong with me, my moods, the intentions of others and their emotions and how it all applies to my current state. But as you mentioned, I am finding it that every day it has been a huge burden, a double-edge advantage if you would like to call it.

Since I am very self-aware, I am prone to stress and anxiety as I see my life not going that way I wanted to be. I am prone to self-diagnosis and always questioning my sanity. I am prone to know exactly why I am feeling a certain way which only gets me deeper and deeper into the hole. I know my strengths and weaknesses yet I know them so well that I been trying to perfect them to the point that when I see my idealistic views fail, I can feel worthless and well useless.

Well enough about that, I wanted to let you know that I admire you in many ways. Your self-awareness itself brings a lot of positives about your personality, at least from my perspective that you are very down to earth, knowledgeable, persistent. Now with said gift, a lot of negatives come such as the vulnerability to feel stressed and anxious. Now like all qualities, they all have their positives and negatives. The INFJ type itself has a lot of positives and negatives. The key is to focus on the positives of what self-awareness brings to you and try to balance it with other traits as well. Indeed, it can be very painful and stressful as well as tiring, but do not let it get the best of you. Try to relax and enjoy a little more, which is what I am afraid you tend to neglect. Mix this with your already known strengths and you will see how well things will go.

I am not certain if I answered on topic but

I wanted to bring you some encouragement..

and with that being said :hug:'s to you.
You are describing something I went through a few years ago.

I had the additional problem of wondering if I was doing what I thought was right, for the approval of others. Wanting to clarify this for myself contributed at least in some part to a decision to cut ties with everyone I cared about.

I cannot claim that my life is painless - in fact I would say that my pain (non-physical) almost defines my life, but it is free from the anguish of internal confliction. My attitude is that I will do what I think is right and is my duty regardless of whether it kills or hurts me.
There is a difference between self awareness and self consciousness. The former is the reflection on how you are living in your day to day life towards obtaining what is truly important to you. The latter is trying to hold yourself to someone else's standard by reflecting on how they may perceive you. Self awareness is the first step towards happiness and self consciousness holds nothing but despair because you can never obtain happiness if you are not being true to yourself.

True self awareness is never painful. It is enlightening and it removes the burden on the heart.
Wow Indigo, I can't grasp fully what you are trying to convey here, but I can relate to a lot of what you said. Is the problem forgetting about your wants and needs? Or, what exactly is it that makes it painful for you? I think I know, but I don't want to assume.

To me, it sounds like you have created a system of interacting with people that is, among other things, very energy intensive. Because it is so energy intensive, it drains you. Small events that other people don't care about and forget about are over-analyzed and potentially cause emotional pain. Even if they don't cause emotional pain, you will still experience the negative repercussions of the stress and become depressed anyway.

It sounds like your goal is to try and see your interactions with others as realistically as possible, and the problem with trying to grasp reality is that it requires a large amount of energy that results in depression/anxiety symptoms.

I don't think there is any way for your to sustain your currently level of functioning without the negative repercussions occurring in some form. This method of functioning is self-coercive. You'll also notice that the happiest people are the ones who don't pay much attention to their interactions with others. I'm not suggesting you should become like that, and I know you probably don't have the capacity to, but I do think that you are going to have to "revert" back to less intense mode of interaction.
I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling with this Indigo, and I understand what you're going through. I'm here for you if you ever need to vent or talk. I hold you in very high esteem, and I think you're great, just be as good to yourself as you are to your friends. :hug:
I am glad you chose to frame your post in terms of self-revelation. Both because I sense it met your needs more than an abstraction of the situation would have, but also because I am able to relate better when people share from a perspective of personal value and experience. Thank you.

I have noted previously your deep willingness to self-examine. I value this quality in you, but I also have felt concern for you related to the nature of judgment I sense you pass on what you find within. I fear you already are executing violence against yourself with your thoughts and judgments. There is a difference between an absolute assessment of good or bad and an acknowledgment that you value one behavior over another. If you are open to reading a book as resource, I believe the information about moralistic vs. value judgments in the book Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg could be helpful to you in terms of maintaining your standards for self while approaching those judgments more gently. The book is mainly about communication between and among people, but I think there is much that can be gained from it in terms of adopting less self-violence as it regards our internal communication.

I have much resonance with the sort of standards you hold yourself to and the kind of self-examination you are willing to engage in. I value it in myself and I value it in you. I also have resonance with the kind of toll it can take to regularly judge yourself and then simultaneously continue to find the energy to stand under the weight of those judgments. I believe there is a way to maintain high standards of self with less stress. I wish you the best in finding a way that meets your needs.