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This has been an issue of mine for a while now.  I'm currently between therapists, unfortunately.  (Hence why I've posted here a lot lately.) 

Imposter syndrome is something I've struggled with all my life.  I also have OCD.  (And I mean I really do have it.  I'm not just one of those people who brags about being "So OCD" like it's just a cute personality quirk.  I've been diagnosed by a mental health professional.)

Two things happened today that really got to me.  One, I was sketching out a painting in my art room, using a reference photo on the computer.  I'm a professional artist and there are multiple schools of thought about reference photos.  A majority of non artists think that using them is cheating.  Like if you're a real artist you should just be able to draw it out of your head and not use a reference photo. Truth is, most artists use them on some level.  Well today I was working away and had headphones on and my girlfriend came up behind me and was watching me draw without me knowing. 

I played it off like it was nothing, but this really messed with me.  I already feel like a fake most of the time.  I feel like one day everyone will find out I'm not really that talented and I've just been faking being an artist for all these years.  And now I'm paranoid about wearing headphones while working because now I worry that she will come up behind me and watch me again. 

Imposter syndrome is something that really gets to me when it come to my art career.  But I also have similar thoughts about my relationship.  I was talking to a mutual friend of ours earlier today and he assumed my gf and I knew each other for a really long time before we got together.  He acted all surprised when I told him I just met her last year.  The whole conversation was just really weird.  I kind of got the impression he was just really surprised she would even be with someone like me and that's why he assumed we had known each other for a long time.  

My girlfriend is drop dead gorgeous.  I know people will probably think I'm just being biassed, but she really is stunning. She has a body like a runway model.  Her eyes are a rare color, etc.  And I've seen pics of two of her exes, and they were both stunning too.  So I wonder a lot what the hell she's doing with me.  I am not sugar coating anything, I am ugly.  And this isn't a situation where if I just styled my hair different and put on some makeup I would be pretty either.  My kind of ugliness is beyond help.  I would need surgery to fix the way I look. 

Idk if that is quite the same thing as imposter syndrome but it feels the same.  Like what if she just suddenly realized one day that she could do so much better?  The mutual friend I was talking to is someone who is a lot closer to her than to me.  I just could tell today when we were talking that he was wondering why she is with someone so below her level.  I know people say looks don't matter.  But they do.  Attractive people go a lot further in life. 

I don't know if there is any real advice that can be given here, but any insight anyone has would be appreciated.  It sucks that small things like this can completely ruin my mood sometimes.  I went from feeling good and being productive to feeling like crap about myself. 

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Yup, being 'stuck' in a negative is no help 😞 .

Life... is constantly changing.  We get along well with someone... we are all good... We are finding some things challenging, someone is not 'happy'.. etc

Thing is, no one ever knows.. what will happen a week from now.. a year from now.

What might help YOU, is realizing your own self worth.  That you DO matter.. That you do okay.

Yeah.. sometimes good looks can get you somewhere- but, often not.  It's everything.. someone's attitude, someone's behaviour, etc. ( I know some pretty gals, but their attitude sucks!  Also, I am ok looking.. as are some friends.. But, their relationships still failed 😞 .. Looks may get you somewhere- but doesn't mean that somewhere is anywhere near 'good'. .. People use.. people hurt other people..)

I know some not so good looking, but are successful. They have a gf/bf/married etc.

Me?  Single, hitting my 50's... 4 kids (& 3 long term relationships failed) -- has been tough, but I am still myself.. a little jaded, but still moving along. (but this is my life/journey).

Thing, is.. we never know.

 

Are YOU accepting of yourself?  Or you beat yourself down a lot?

As for YOUR art, that's you.  Your choices, on what you do and how you do it.  I don't feel you should feel guilt or anything...  But you feel, her seeing what you were doing- was wrong?

Were you really doing anything wrong?  You were drawing free hand?  That's fine.

My brother has done some great work, since HS, and I have a cpl boys who do well in that... that is their talents/ their interests.  it's nice  :)

Why don't you look into some prof help- give it  a try?  I found it helpful, to 'work thru some things', and coping mechanisms, etc.. even just to vent. )especially if you feel it's getting the better half of you).

 

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8 minutes ago, SooSad33 said:

Yup, being 'stuck' in a negative is no help 😞 .

Life... is constantly changing.  We get along well with someone... we are all good... We are finding some things challenging, someone is not 'happy'.. etc

Thing is, no one ever knows.. what will happen a week from now.. a year from now.

What might help YOU, is realizing your own self worth.  That you DO matter.. That you do okay.

Yeah.. sometimes good looks can get you somewhere- but, often not.  It's everything.. someone's attitude, someone's behaviour, etc. ( I know some pretty gals, but their attitude sucks!  Also, I am ok looking.. as are some friends.. But, their relationships still failed 😞 .. Looks may get you somewhere- but doesn't mean that somewhere is anywhere near 'good'. .. People use.. people hurt other people..)

I know some not so good looking, but are successful. They have a gf/bf/married etc.

Me?  Single, hitting my 50's... 4 kids (& 3 long term relationships failed) -- has been tough, but I am still myself.. a little jaded, but still moving along. (but this is my life/journey).

Thing, is.. we never know.

 

Are YOU accepting of yourself?  Or you beat yourself down a lot?

As for YOUR art, that's you.  Your choices, on what you do and how you do it.  I don't feel you should feel guilt or anything...  But you feel, her seeing what you were doing- was wrong?

Were you really doing anything wrong?  You were drawing free hand?  That's fine.

My brother has done some great work, since HS, and I have a cpl boys who do well in that... that is their talents/ their interests.  it's nice  🙂

Why don't you look into some prof help- give it  a try?  I found it helpful, to 'work thru some things', and coping mechanisms, etc.. even just to vent. )especially if you feel it's getting the better half of you).

 

I was in therapy for 6 years with a great therapist who just retired.  I've been looking for another therapist but it's hard.  I live in a small town and I can't drive (medical reasons.)  There are a limited number of good therapists here and most of them have a really long waiting list.  A month ago I was put on a 4 month waiting list for a therapist who has a great reputation.  But because he has such a great reputation everyone wants to see him and that's why there's such a wait. 

I was drawing freehand.  I just was looking at a photo while doing it. 

The conversation with my friend was a lot more upsetting.  Him acting surprised just really threw me off.  I know it's hard to explain, but sometimes you can just tell what someone really means when they are saying something else. 

I've been at my job ten years and most of the people I work with don't even know my name.  Unattractive people fly under the radar a lot in work situations.  They aren't noticed as much for promotions, etc.  And unattractive people also don't really get to reveal their true selves very often because no one wants to get to know them better.  I've heard this complaint from a lot of people who aren't that good looking. 

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I was an artist and everyone knows you get your ideas from photos, etc.

Seriously what does their opinion matter anyways?? Be proud of what you do.

6 years with a therapist and you are still slipping down a slop of negativity? I hope you find a better therapist.

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27 minutes ago, Cynder said:

I was drawing freehand.  I just was looking at a photo while doing it. 

Then that's fine :)

Is is YOUR life.. try not to let whatever your friend said get to you.. Only you know for real.

How about while you await more help.. do you write?  I vent in my journal.. all i want to 'say', I do in there.. is another form of 'release'.. also, be physically active.. get some air.. go for walks.. self care  :)

Work.. is work.. many ppl don't fancy what they 'are paid to do'... BUT, I do hope you have some 'good' moments going on?

I learned some crafts & hobbies this past year.. made jams and crochet blankies :).  I do my own thing.. I am fine with that.

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32 minutes ago, smackie9 said:

6 years with a therapist and you are still slipping down a slop of negativity? I hope you find a better therapist.

Wow... I really don't appreciate comments like this at all.  That's a really condescending thing to say. 

But considering you called my girlfriend a "dumb dumb" and told me to act all smug with her I guess I shouldn't be surprised, lol.  I'm assuming it was my girlfriend you were talking about anyway since she's the one who saw me drawing from a reference photo. 

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1 minute ago, Cynder said:

Wow... I really don't appreciate comments like this at all.  That's a really condescending thing to say. 

I apologize for offending you. I will take back my comment.

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1 minute ago, smackie9 said:

I apologize for offending you. I will take back my comment.

Maybe you should go do some actual research on how OCD works before saying stuff like that to a person who has it.  But I doubt you actually will do that.  I doubt someone who resorts to name calling has the dedication it takes to actually understand something and show empathy.  Toodles. 🙂

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19 minutes ago, SooSad33 said:

Then that's fine 🙂

Is is YOUR life.. try not to let whatever your friend said get to you.. Only you know for real.

How about while you await more help.. do you write?  I vent in my journal.. all i want to 'say', I do in there.. is another form of 'release'.. also, be physically active.. get some air.. go for walks.. self care  🙂

Work.. is work.. many ppl don't fancy what they 'are paid to do'... BUT, I do hope you have some 'good' moments going on?

I learned some crafts & hobbies this past year.. made jams and crochet blankies :).  I do my own thing.. I am fine with that.

I write all the time... probably too much.  I have a hand written journal that I write in before bed every night and I also have a journal here on this forum that I've written in a lot here lately.  It does help. 

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I work with plenty of customers that have OCD and my mother has it too. It's complex, there are varied different types of OCD like ritual OCD which is debilitating. Most often attached to other forms of mental illnesses, most not treated because they refuse or even acknowledge they have a problem. I didn't name call you. Your friend? yes. I understand things can't just roll off your back. It sticks like glue, and doesn't shake off. It's way too easy for those like myself to say that. I was trying to push you out of your comfort zone...and from watching the show horders for years, a push is overwhelming and gets the feathers ruffled up. BUT I watch how the therapists on that show in how they do that...push them into the reality of their situation. So your reaction is no surprise. My therapist comment was was out of line yes and again I apologize. OCD is life long and there is no cure, just maintenance. Hats off to you for doing something for it, unlike most who do not, as it can destroy relationships, and creates a lot of loneliness. I have a client who lost her husband, now sits alone, with rooms pack to the doors with stuff. I haven't heard from her for a year and a half. My warehouse still has crates full of her content. sad story.

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So I'll share this in case it helps.  Because of the pandemic of course we're home a lot more of the time. I'm desperate for more personal space.  Not anything to do with the love I have for my husband or son - just in general -from anyone. Like, if I'm eating dinner and my husband is checking his phone standing up a foot away from where I am sitting I need him to give me more space -the sense of someone standing over me (even though he's not) so close while I'm eating -not ok.  I do like my space but now it's like on steroids.  So I tell him.  Even though he might not need space like I do.  So tell her.  Tell her that it's not ok if she sees you working or focusing on something -painting, a screen, a book, whatever - especially if you are wearing headphones - it's not ok for her to look over your shoulder at what you're doing.  That you know she meant nothing by it but it makes you really uncomfortable and you startle easily -something like that.  I would not be ok with it either. Not because of the "imposter" part -because of the personal space part.

Second - sure, people who look attractive have it easier but I think it matters a great deal whether the attractive person has an open, approachable, genuine looking face and demeanor.  And that part has far less to do with physical features.  So someone might have "flawed" features but people are drawn to them - whether professionally, socially, both.  By contrast someone who is perfect looking with a cool or cold demeanor might have difficulties.  I do not and will never look like a model.  It mattered to me when I was a teenager and in my early 20s. 

But when I was looking for a husband and photos weren't as clear back then on line or if I had a blind date I would describe myself as "ivory girl looks, not the person who stands out at a bar or club but more girl next door".  I always forced myself to carry myself with confidence -partly because I'm 5"2 and petite -so I wanted to make the most of my height and I didn't wear those really high heels.  I had plenty of male attention, I did date a few men who I thought were out of my league attractive-wise and my long term boyfriend before my husband was actually unattractive looking features-wise and some people made tactless comments to me about that - but I found him attractive.  That was all that mattered. 

Please don't think your girlfriend has some preconceived notion of what is attractive.  Worst case scenario -she likes the balance of being the more objectively attractive looking person in the relationship -I'm not a huge fan of that but you know as I know that lots of couples have that type of trade off/dynamic in one way or another.

 I think you're a bit too hung up on the degree to which you think attractive people have it easier.  I've been working for about 23 years and also went to a grad school that required lots of networking and I don't agree with your assessment professionally or socially.  I think it's far more about your overall presence, how you carry yourself, how you use what you've got, the kind of eye contact you make.  

I'd ignore tactless comments or implications by people who are "surprised" at any imbalance of physical attractiveness with you and GF.  I had that once where my co-worker's girlfriend -also a co-worker -stared at me at the holiday party when she met my unattractive looking boyfriend as if to say "what are you doing with him??"  My internal reaction was that she was obnoxious.  She was very pretty, her boyfriend was so handsome and he finally saw what an ugly person she was inside and ended things - his wife is attractive but not in the cookie cutter way she was - she's much more exotic/interesting looking than "attractive."  Disclaimer -I really hate focusing on looks this much -just doing it for this post. I look pretty awful IMO - post-covid scary looking hair, looking older I think and .... my husband compliments me regularly on my looks in a really caring and loving way.  He's put on weight -covid-weight - I don't love it but I love him and think he's cute and mighty fine looking -we're in our 50s.  Nothing to do with physical features is my analysis.  I hope you choose to shift your focus away from physical features and I'm sorry your girlfriend was hovering as she was - I hear you! (and I don't know enough about painting to address your concern about referencing a photo but..... sounds fine to me!!).

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Does your form of OCD include intrusive thoughts?

I used to struggle with intrusive thoughts. I still have them but I am now able to recognize them. I tell myself "That is an intrusive thought. It has no basis in reality". It works pretty good.

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I think a lot of us can relate to your imposter syndrome. I know I do. One way I've managed my negative thinking is to give myself Pep talks when I feel myself slipping in to a rabbit hole. Nothing Tony Robbins quality, but just telling myself slowly and calmly that I can achieve whatever if I put my mind to it. Meditation has also helped me. Maybe try some positive self-talks: https://www.healthline.com/health/positive-self-talk#benefits-of-self--talk

Also beauty is in the eye of the beholder! I bet you think you are not attractive but other people find you attractive. 

I think Smackie was calling your friend, not girlfriend, a dum dum. 

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5 hours ago, boltnrun said:

Does your form of OCD include intrusive thoughts?

I used to struggle with intrusive thoughts. I still have them but I am now able to recognize them. I tell myself "That is an intrusive thought. It has no basis in reality". It works pretty good.

Yes, mine is more in my head than in reality.  Rituals don't consume my time as much as they used to.  But my thinking is really irrational and upsetting sometimes.  A Shaman told me once that intrusive thoughts are like glitches in the Matrix.  Remembering that helps. 

I'm glad to hear you are managing yours well, also.  It's not easy. 

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11 hours ago, Batya33 said:

He's put on weight -covid-weight - I don't love it but I love him and think he's cute and mighty fine looking -we're in our 50s. 

Same here. I think my boyfriend is the bees knees. Someone who is fixated on looks might not go for him, but I think he's one of the most beautiful people on the planet (take that, People Magazine!!) Kind, caring, considerate--to everyone, not just me. And he's hilariously funny and has a personality that lights up the whole room. I'm pretty sure that my family and friends like him better than they like me 😂 I feel lucky just having him in my life. He takes good care of me, and I take good care of him.

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My husband was diagnosed with OCD about 20 years ago. He struggled so so much . But to give you hope he has recovered quite a bit. He had about 10 years of therapy and read hundreds of books on reducing symptoms of anxiety and ways to think positively. He is also medicated. He no longer performs rituals or nor has constant intrusive thoughts. 
I will say though this year has kicked people with mental health issues in the rear end. 

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Sorry you're navigating some spins. 

For what it's worth? I've kind of come to think of "imposter syndrome" as a synonym for "adulthood." The great secret we never quite understand as children, after all, is that all those adults around us—our parents, their friends, famous people on television, rocket scientists, Picasso, Homer, and so on—were just waking up every day trying to figure it all out. Some days the sense of stability and confidence were genuine, others more illusory, sand through fingers. The human condition, in short. 

So, who knows? Perhaps if you can just think of this as okay, rather than a condition, you'll find it loses its traction, mentally. Works for me, at times. 

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20 hours ago, Batya33 said:

So I'll share this in case it helps.  Because of the pandemic of course we're home a lot more of the time. I'm desperate for more personal space.  Not anything to do with the love I have for my husband or son - just in general -from anyone. Like, if I'm eating dinner and my husband is checking his phone standing up a foot away from where I am sitting I need him to give me more space -the sense of someone standing over me (even though he's not) so close while I'm eating -not ok.  I do like my space but now it's like on steroids.  So I tell him.  Even though he might not need space like I do.  So tell her.  Tell her that it's not ok if she sees you working or focusing on something -painting, a screen, a book, whatever - especially if you are wearing headphones - it's not ok for her to look over your shoulder at what you're doing.  That you know she meant nothing by it but it makes you really uncomfortable and you startle easily -something like that.  I would not be ok with it either. Not because of the "imposter" part -because of the personal space part.

Second - sure, people who look attractive have it easier but I think it matters a great deal whether the attractive person has an open, approachable, genuine looking face and demeanor.  And that part has far less to do with physical features.  So someone might have "flawed" features but people are drawn to them - whether professionally, socially, both.  By contrast someone who is perfect looking with a cool or cold demeanor might have difficulties.  I do not and will never look like a model.  It mattered to me when I was a teenager and in my early 20s. 

But when I was looking for a husband and photos weren't as clear back then on line or if I had a blind date I would describe myself as "ivory girl looks, not the person who stands out at a bar or club but more girl next door".  I always forced myself to carry myself with confidence -partly because I'm 5"2 and petite -so I wanted to make the most of my height and I didn't wear those really high heels.  I had plenty of male attention, I did date a few men who I thought were out of my league attractive-wise and my long term boyfriend before my husband was actually unattractive looking features-wise and some people made tactless comments to me about that - but I found him attractive.  That was all that mattered. 

Please don't think your girlfriend has some preconceived notion of what is attractive.  Worst case scenario -she likes the balance of being the more objectively attractive looking person in the relationship -I'm not a huge fan of that but you know as I know that lots of couples have that type of trade off/dynamic in one way or another.

 I think you're a bit too hung up on the degree to which you think attractive people have it easier.  I've been working for about 23 years and also went to a grad school that required lots of networking and I don't agree with your assessment professionally or socially.  I think it's far more about your overall presence, how you carry yourself, how you use what you've got, the kind of eye contact you make.  

I'd ignore tactless comments or implications by people who are "surprised" at any imbalance of physical attractiveness with you and GF.  I had that once where my co-worker's girlfriend -also a co-worker -stared at me at the holiday party when she met my unattractive looking boyfriend as if to say "what are you doing with him??"  My internal reaction was that she was obnoxious.  She was very pretty, her boyfriend was so handsome and he finally saw what an ugly person she was inside and ended things - his wife is attractive but not in the cookie cutter way she was - she's much more exotic/interesting looking than "attractive."  Disclaimer -I really hate focusing on looks this much -just doing it for this post. I look pretty awful IMO - post-covid scary looking hair, looking older I think and .... my husband compliments me regularly on my looks in a really caring and loving way.  He's put on weight -covid-weight - I don't love it but I love him and think he's cute and mighty fine looking -we're in our 50s.  Nothing to do with physical features is my analysis.  I hope you choose to shift your focus away from physical features and I'm sorry your girlfriend was hovering as she was - I hear you! (and I don't know enough about painting to address your concern about referencing a photo but..... sounds fine to me!!).

I'm big on personal space.  I don't like my bubble being invaded.  I've had similar experiences to what you described at work.  In the break room when I'm eating lunch and people come out of a meeting and stand there right next to my table and talk to each other.  Idk... it just makes me uncomfortable.  As far as what happened with her in my art room...  now that it's the next day and I'm able to look at the situations a little more rationally, she probably didn't even look at my computer screen.  She was watching me draw.  So she would have  been looking at my drawing, not my monitor.   I am still paranoid now about wearing headphones when I work, though. 

I've seen attractive people get away with a lot more.  My sister is really good looking.  And when we were kids she got to do whatever she wanted and never got in trouble for anything.  My dad even told me once that out of his three daughters he loved her the best because she's the prettiest.  She's gay, but she uses men to get what she wants out of them and then when she's done she just tosses them out and gives the "Well I'm gay." excuse.  No one seems to have a problem with this.  I've also seen attractive people get raises, promotions, etc that they weren't qualified for.  There have been a lot of psychological studies showing that good looking people make more money, are treated better, etc. 

It's not as easy to just off the conversation with my "friend" yesterday as it is to shake off the art thing.  He was just being so smug.  I asked what he meant and he's like, "Oh nothing."  It's hard to explain but I could just tell there was more to it than just him being surprised I haven't known her longer.  That just sent me down a bad rabbit hole.  This friend of ours was hanging out with her a lot back when she was dating one of the drop dead gorgeous exes.  And if he thinks "What the hell is she doing with that?  She could get way better." Then other people will think that too.  When the pandemic is over and we start going out in public I've wondered if she will even want to be seen in public with me. 

As far as being approachable and people being drawn to certain people.  I repel people.  And I know exactly why.  My eyes are crossed and that is something that a lot of people are really turned off by.  I've done research on how to do makeup to make it less obvious, but that doesn't hide it.  My ex husband and I worked together and he told me some of the comments people made to him asking what's wrong with his wife's eyes, etc.  I also had another coworker who I carpooled with tell me once that people don't like me at work because my eyes are messed up.  I've had people make rude comments to me out in public.  So when I say I would need surgery to fix what makes me ugly, that's what I mean.  And I wouldn't even have surgery if I could afford it because it might seriously mess up my vision (More than it already is.)  It really amazes me how one thing puts so many people off. 

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I've always dated very, very handsome men.  And I'm kind of a plain Jane.  I'm sure there were some people who wondered why such a good looking man would want to date such a plain looking woman.

But I took it to mean those men were not shallow.  I have a decent figure and appear some years younger than I am, but I am not a hottie looks-wise.  So I figured those men I dated were attracted to my brains and my personality rather than my looks.  And that's OK, because we all know looks fade but your brains and your personality are forever.

I would presume your girlfriend thinks you are hot in all ways; physical, mental, emotional and intelligence.  Isn't that cool?

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We all know people who seem to get rewarded without deserving it whether it's because of their looks, family money, whatever.  I know just as many people who don't.  I think it's easier to be attractive looking in certain contexts and in certain environments.  I think it's important to look put together in certain work, networking and social environments if the person cares about how he or she is perceived.  But that's not really about physical features -it's about personal hygiene, posture, presence.  

Wear your headphones -you like wearing them when you draw.  Tell her nicely that you'd prefer she not look over your shoulder when you are wearing headphones because you're easily startled and wouldn't know she was there.  I think it's good practice to tell her this as I'm sure there will be other instances where you have to assert your preferences.  And she, hers.

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The most important person who needs to accept you...is you. It's that simple.

It's not about personal space (it varies by culture and individuals), it's not about siblings rivalry, it's not about any of those things.

Get outside your head a bit. Make your life whatever you want it to be. 

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22 hours ago, boltnrun said:

I've always dated very, very handsome men.  And I'm kind of a plain Jane.  I'm sure there were some people who wondered why such a good looking man would want to date such a plain looking woman.

But I took it to mean those men were not shallow.  I have a decent figure and appear some years younger than I am, but I am not a hottie looks-wise.  So I figured those men I dated were attracted to my brains and my personality rather than my looks.  And that's OK, because we all know looks fade but your brains and your personality are forever.

I would presume your girlfriend thinks you are hot in all ways; physical, mental, emotional and intelligence.  Isn't that cool?

Oddly enough it was exactly a year ago today that I met my girlfriend.  And a few months later we became roommates.  When she moved in here it was just starting to get warm out and we would sit on my front porch and talk until 4am or later sometimes.  And we never ran out of things to say and we always had really interesting conversations.  She told me early on that what attracted her was that I was so easy to talk to and my weird sense of humor.  She has also said it was so hard for her to find someone she was both attracted to on the inside and outside.  I know that those really pretty exes treated her like crap, and being pretty can only carry a relationship so far.  Se says she is physically attracted to me.  I don't know how anyone could be, but maybe I'm being too hard on myself.

My last ex was really good looking.  I mean, he had long wavy blond hair, blue eyes, handsome face, nice body,  etc.  I mean, there were a couple times when other women hit on him literally right in front of me.  And he was still in contact with most of his exes, so I saw a lot of them.  They all were very unattractive women.  But he was a jerk and I think he just liked knowing he was the hot one in the relationship.  In the last year we were together when he really started being abusive he started looking really ugly to me.  I'm sure in the time I was with him there were a lot of people who wondered why someone so good looking was with someone so ugly.  But in reality he was the uglier one because of his attitude.  He has no real friends.  He has a lot of acquaintances and social media groupies.  His own family doesn't even like him most of the time.  We are both vendors and pretty much all the other vendors who do a lot of events with him hate him.  (They even have a derogatory nickname for him, lol.)  When we broke up I was amazed at how many people contacted me to tell me how much better off I am, etc. 

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I like to tell myself that I'M the one in charge of who gets to ruin my day.

That would rule out some AH who might be jealous of GF's choice to not engage HIM.

Consider whether you can switch up your art space to face the door or otherwise angle yourself to view your entrances.

Consider that when some people, myself included, see a couple who doesn't match in terms of physical appearance, we credit one with not being superficial and the other with holding intelligence and unique value that can only be discovered if I AM capable of using the right lens.

Point is, anyone who is too superficial to 'get you' doesn't deserve to, anyway.

As for the anxiety, I find it helpful to keep conditioning myself to use my best internal voice rather than allowing myself to sink to the lowest--and imaginary--judge and jury. So, if I can't be on my own side to inspire myself away from sinking low, who can?

I get that this isn't instant. It's a habit like any other, which can be cultivated or replaced. So pick your voice, carefully. Speak to yourself as though you've hired your most inspiring coach. What would THAT person say to you?

Head high, and embrace your inner imposter. She needs it.

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