Social Question

Mariah's avatar

How much do you fight against your natural inclinations (see details)?

Asked by Mariah (25846points) January 29th, 2018

A question that has vexed me for a few years now is whether I would be happier if I fought against my nature a little bit, or if I should just submit to it.

This question is not so much about urges with obvious physical consequences (e.g. I fight my craving for sugary or fatty food because I know it’s unhealthy).

My example is that I’m a huge homebody. I am much happier at the prospect of a weekend devoid of plans than one that includes a lot of going out and socializing.

I constantly wonder though if I should fight this a little bit. I’m not making interesting memories sitting at home playing video games or drawing. I always end up feeling so boring when I look back on my time.

Do you fight your nature much? Does doing so improve your life or cause anxiety?

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13 Answers

janbb's avatar

I go back and forth on this and like you, I’m a natural homebody. I’ve been finding this winter with the dark and the cold, I really don’t feel like going to some of the music venues I usually go to (plus there are some other reasons.) I’ve also stayed away from some political meetings that I’ve felt I should attend. I’ve been really happy rewatching Gilmore Girls at night.

Like you, I feel like I should fight this tendency at times. But I do know if something is really compelling for me to go to, I will usually get there. And also, in the summer, I am more likely to go out at night again.

I’ve come to believe that if I’m happy, it doesn’t matter what I do but conversely, I do feel I should push myself more at times. Yesterday, I was reluctant to go an afternoon discussion group I had committed to because I was happy at home and then had a really great time once I was there.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Yes. I have a really bad anxiety disorder, and by going to school or work or doing any public speech/presentation, I’m going against my natural inclination. Honestly, I would love to just sleep right when I get home, not have to do any public speaking, and just stay away from everything. I guess those have an obvious consequence right now because I’m a teenager and it’s not realistic for me to do that, but I worry that when I’m an adult I will do it. Because I am already looking at online schools, jobs where I could just work from home, etc. I really hate going to the store because even though I love to buy things I hate having to go up to the register and if I had the ability to just buy everything online I probably would.
I don’t always though… I find myself rehearsing every single conversation before I say it in my head, all the way from asking a teacher a question to ordering food at a fast food place. If I know something is going to happen I think of everything that could go wrong, how I can prevent that, how I would react, etc.
So, as of right now I’m fighting it pretty well, in my opinion. Because I’m pushing myself to do things I would never usually do, but I get worried that when I’m older I won’t and that I will just try to seclude myself as much as possible.

janbb's avatar

@SergeantQueen I understand your anxiety but wish you could get help for it. Going away to a residential college can be such a great experience, it would be a shame IMHO to settle for an online degree.

Can you get therapy or counseling? Your social anxiety sounds much more serious than Mariah’s or mine as homebodies.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I used to see a therapist, and we focused a lot on depression that we never really got to anxiety. Once we did start I wasn’t able to see him anymore. I don’t have a ton of people to talk to because most people tell me to just get over it or get mad when I get panic attacks like my parents but I have a lot of ways that do kind of help me.
Never considered it that bad though. Kind of used to it.

janbb's avatar

@SergeantQueen Not to take away further time from Mariah’s question.but the way you describe it, it is and will continue to be quite crippling. I hope it eases for you. Both I and my younger son were very shy as children but we got easier with interactions as we grew. I still don’t like public speaking and am in agony before I have to teach but I am quite comfortable otherwise and even talkative in meetings and other social situations.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Considering the things you tell us, from my perspective you’re doing just fine. Frankly, an active social life is prone to get out of hand. Be grateful that you have your house to hide in and even more thankful that you are content in doing so. The only down side I can see is that tranquility allows your busy busy head to concoct things to worry over. But even here you’re ahead because you’re acutely aware of it and strive to keep it in check.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have not made the best memories sitting infront of the tube but I have not doing more “adventuresome” things either when they are done repetetively.
A little variety with hobbies and activities does seem to make good memories though, does not have to be super special, just different.

I’m not very social either and I don’t have to be. I generally give in to my inclinations and is something that as a forty year old is not likely to change.

KNOWITALL's avatar

My life is busy and I give back a lot, so when I have the chance to stay home and mess around, I do. Don’t feel guilty, you have to have balance and down time, too.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, no. Not too much.

Zaku's avatar

It’s a bit of a life-long central question for me, though I wouldn’t put it exactly the same way, and it’s changed for me over time. I have often spent a lot of my time feeling like other people want me to spend most of my time doing something that’s not what I really want to do, and looking forward to the times when I can do what I want. Then sometimes when I have such freedom, I feel out of touch with what I really want to do, and I get down on myself for squandering my precious free time. But it’s a bit of an illusion, cat-chasing-tail, perspective problem, sort of.

I recommend experimenting, but not beating yourself up, if you can avoid it.

I break up my habits when they start to feel rut-like or stale, or like I could use a change of setting or activity. At least long enough to break the stuckness, and get some perspective on what I want to do. Sometimes I discover new things I enjoy, or remember old ones.

Mainly, in my case I think I just tend to get stuck sometimes and need some breaks, fresh air, and variety from time to time. Meditation and various classes that have given me many skills for self-awareness are lifesavers in all of this.

Overdoing experimenting or making myself wrong for my tendencies is something I’m pretty sensitive to, but I feel like I’ve known people who aren’t so sensitive to that, and seem to be giving themselves a hard time and doing things such as making themselves do more social stuff that they don’t actually enjoy, and I’m clear that looks like self-inflicted awfulness to me. I also struggled when I had a partner who wanted a lot more socializing and types of social activity that I didn’t like to do as much of as she did – it was good to try them, but I don’t feel any need to spend any more time in a karaoke bar ever again.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

No I don’t. Even though I want to fight back tooth and nail, there is not an iota of mental and physical energy to do so. The will is there but it’s the way that can’t be found!
So I just let things take over.

longgone's avatar

I have solved this issue in the same way I solved the problem of eating too much junk food: I make healthy decisions ahead of time, and I make it easy to stick to my plans.

In the junk food example, that entails buying lots of healthy snacks and only a couple of treats at a time. Before lining up at the checkout, I review what I bought and put items I grabbed in poor judgment back on the shelves. When I’m home, things are made easier if I can remember to have healthy meals before I get too hungry.

My social calendar is treated in a similar way. I know that certain activities are good for me. Game night with friends, live music, bike rides – things like that. I schedule them way ahead of time. Then, on the day, I remind myself how much fun I had the last time I wanted to stay home. I make sure I have a book or a nice playlist for the journey, and I plan my route ahead of time. It works more often than not.

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