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Stupid Haloween?

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Went to answer the door and the entire neighborhood decided to come at once, all their parents were at the end of the walk when I single-handedly held out two bowls of candy goods to a swarm of kids. There was terrible awkward silence and they were obviously too incompetent to take the candy themselves. I freaked out and said "take a pencil and a toy from this bowl, and take two pieces of candy from the other bowl" Half these kids couldn't count, and they still stood there lifeless. At one point, one of the Many moms at the end of the walk staring at me, came up to assist her children, as I stood there vibrating with uncomfortable confusion. They must have thought I was on drugs. I looked up at her and tried to say "the whole neighborhood decided to come at once." but I only finished half the sentence before the saliva in my mouth wouldn't permit me from vocalizing the words. Taking one more glance as half of the kids retreated in disappointment, I noticed the parents giving me sharp looks of disgust for my apparent lack of kid adult socializing, and my lack of initiative to put the candy in their bags myself, which I should have done. I wasn't even prepared when they came, I was sweating bullets, and I've already gone over the situation ten times in my head where I could have made the scene work in my favor. I'm such an idiot. Sigh

Um, I guess my question is, do you think halloween has some sort of benefit for the objectivist? Heh, actually I'm wondering about my anxieties, and how to treat them with good old fashion self thinking (introverted analysis and correction?). Medication is not an option, nu-uh No way. I would rather have problems than medicate myself. I might consider counseling, but I don't think it's that serious of a problem, I just need to know how to prevent unpleasant scenarios like this from happening. Any help would be deeply appreciated. I'm off to trick or treat with my brother, so I probably won't get around to reading this until later.

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Just curious, but how old are you, Jon? It might help to get a handle on your personal situation. Being awkward with a horde of small disoriented children isn't a sign of a serious mental condition, after all. If you'd decided to chase them off with a stick, maybe then. I haven't met many people that aren't nervous at some point in their lives. The trick is to remember the context (in this case, that it's supposed to be cute and fun, it's not like you're performing at the Met). If that doesn't dispel your anxiety, I've found it's best just to do whatever-it-is anyway. The BEST cure for anxiety is doing whatever it is that you're afraid of. Yes, it won't be very fun at the time, but repeated examples of "hey, that didn't turn out so badly" will help you when you have to face a similar situation in the future.

I often bolster my confidence with "what's the worst thing that could happen?" Then I come up with some absurd example, usually, "the entire universe could shrink down to the size of a walnut and kill everyone!" which makes me laugh and helps me regain perspective. Really, what is the worst thing that could happen? Some parents gave you dirty looks! Ooooooo. How horrifying. :) Heck, I'm fat, people give me dirty looks for existing, like I personally offend them by taking up too much space. Plus I'm an Objectivist and a geek and a role-playing gamer. I ostracize myself sometimes. :worry:

I like Halloween, but largely because it's right after my birthday, and anything related to me is, of course, way more important than anything else :huh: I don't dress up because I am poor and I wouldn't fit in a costume for anything other than the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man anyway.

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I don't dress up because I am poor and I wouldn't fit in a costume for anything other than the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man anyway.

And this made me laugh, but it's not very "Objectivist" of you to make jokes about your greatest value, yourself. :)

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I like Halloween, but largely because it's right after my birthday, and anything related to me is, of course, way more important than anything else I don't dress up because I am poor and I wouldn't fit in a costume for anything other than the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man anyway.

Since I recently grew a beard, I had to ditch the Homer Simpson outfit I was planning. I basically wore a plaid shirt, dirty old baseball hat, and walked around saying "I Hate America/Ford/Wal Mart/Bush" and "I'm smarter than you morons."

Didn't take long for people to realize I went as Michael Moore. :)

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I think that Halloween subliminally teaches kids that extortion and bribery are okay. (Trick or Treat is the key phrase that reveals the philosophical idea behind the whole nocturnal parade of vandalising prepubescent brats in drag.

I don't like it. I'm glad I live out in the middle of nowhere on a dead end trail in the woods. My wife feels differently though and wanted to take off the first four hours from her night job to take our 18 month old daughter out to 'trick or treat'. I told her to go to work and forget about it.

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Just curious, but how old are you, Jon?

I'm twenty, well basically 21. But I like to think I have the mentality of a 95 year old who forgot the last 75 years.

The BEST cure for anxiety is doing whatever it is that you're afraid of. Yes, it won't be very fun at the time, but repeated examples of "hey, that didn't turn out so badly" will help you when you have to face a similar situation in the future.
I'm afraid to do this.

I often bolster my confidence with "what's the worst thing that could happen?" Then I come up with some absurd example, usually, "the entire universe could shrink down to the size of a walnut and kill everyone!" which makes me laugh and helps me regain perspective.

I often rationalize things this way too, but it still prevents me from acting the way I'd like. Sometimes I act fine, other times it's not so easy. I'm very contagious to other peoples feelings. If they are uncomfortable, they will make me uncomfortable. Or if they stare at me to make me uncomfortable, it usually works.

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I think that Halloween subliminally teaches kids that extortion and bribery are okay. (Trick or Treat is the key phrase ...
Like Xmas, one can give such occasions a personal meaning. We've all encountered a person or two who feels a little guilty about the way they spend money at Christmas, and how they really ought to be celebrating in a way appropriate to the birth of Christ. Yet, we do not have to adopt their interpretation. Perhaps one can celebrate Christmas as the holiday rejoicing at the great goodies produced by "commercialism". Thanksgiving, instead of being a bowing down in thanks to god, may become "thankful" celebration of one's mind and what one has achieved in life and what other productive people have achieved too.

So, this is a question to all: if you stop to think about what Halloween means to you, how would you sum it up concisely?

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So, this is a question to all: if you stop to think about what Halloween means to you, how would you sum it up concisely?

I had never thought about what Halloween means to me until you asked the question. What I like about Halloween is the feeling of joy and goodwill among people that I feel when I bring my children to the homes of my neighbours. The people answering the door get a laugh out of the kids' costumes and the kids get, along with a handful of candy, a sense that people, and specifically their neighbours, are basically good, generous and happy. Noone is forced to participate. The houses with their lights off are bypassed and the kids whose parents don't like Halloween don't have to participate.

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So, this is a question to all: if you stop to think about what Halloween means to you, how would you sum it up concisely?

Halloween is my excuse to eat as much candy as I want....and that's basically it. I usually read all of the nutrition labels on everything I eat but I disregard them entirely for this occasion. >.>;

Not very exciting, but true.

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Plus I'm an Objectivist and a geek and a role-playing gamer. I ostracize myself sometimes. :)

That's funny. :P Would that be like, there are days when your left brain isn't talking to the right? :D

Didn't take long for people to realize I went as Michael Moore. :thumbsup:

That's a clever one. Though I would note that you don't have to be Moore to hate Ford.... (I had a Contour. Worst Car Ever. Thank goodness for the existence of Toyota.)

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I wasn't even prepared when they came

So, be prepared next time. Planning is a good thing, but it doesn't always help if you don't plan for the worst case scenario. When people show up in big groups, don't panic. Just deal with them one at a time. There is no rush -- remember, they are asking something of you, and you can deal it out on whatever terms you wish. Take your time and enjoy the costumes. :thumbsup:

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So, be prepared next time..... Just deal with them one at a time. There is no rush Take your time and enjoy the costumes. :)

yeah, after the first group left, I was a little more take charge. Still a little shook by the experience, I tried to assert myself better. The next time they knocked, I would say "Alright, hold your bags up" if they weren't holding them up. I put the candy in myself, and counted out loud to avoid becoming silent and anxious. Sounds like a simple process huh? Well, it was a bit hard for me. You're right, small easy steps. Not full fledge, experiencing everything as one big mess. Thanks.

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And this made me laugh, but it's not very "Objectivist" of you to make jokes about your greatest value, yourself. :D

Bah. I'm declaring that my various faults lack metaphysical importance, which they do. It's the perfect topic for humor.

I'm afraid to do this.

Well, yeah, that's why you have to do it anyway. You're not going to get over being nervous in one day. It takes a while. When you stop being nervous, probably you won't even notice!

That's funny. :P Would that be like, there are days when your left brain isn't talking to the right? :(

Also I viciously refuse to look at myself in the mirror until I behave. :)

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Jon P, what problem are your actually asking for advice about? Just a fear of distributing candy to a large number of children wearing costumes on your doorstep or something more general? Fear of people, social interaction, large groups, being the center of attention, living up to expectations, performing infront of others, and probably some more stuff that your example could cover.

Tim.

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Jon P, what problem are your actually asking for advice about? Just a fear of distributing candy to a large number of children wearing costumes on your doorstep or something more general? Fear of people, social interaction, large groups, being the center of attention, living up to expectations, performing infront of others, and probably some more stuff that your example could cover.

Tim.

All of the above Tim.

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:D I think that Halloween is about confronting your fears.
I'd buy that (as a personal interpretation). It fits in well with some of the comments in the thread. Like a New Year's resolution, one can make a Halloween resolution: "next year I'll meet those devils at the door by calling their bluff; then, we'll all laugh and celebrate by eating candy".
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All of the above Tim.

Heh, trust me, I know from nervous. I ate lunch at the same place every day for a year because I was terrified of going somewhere new. :dough: I've relaxed considerably since then.

Really, the best thing for us shy types is just to talk with actual people. TomL's advice is great for when you have a specific situation that you can plan for (like a job interview), but the thing is that personal interactions are largely spontaneous. If you try to prep too much beforehand it can paralyze you when it comes down to crunch time. What really helps is practice. Pick a medium that doesn't bother you so much. Online chat was it for me, I got into it by joining an online Mutants and Masterminds game. I was so nervous when the game started I was actually giving myself stomach cramps, if you can believe it, and I didn't have to deal with ANY of those people in person.

Now I'm at the point where I've met so many people online that the ones I no longer talk to outnumber the ones I do! Progress! And, I can go into a new restaurant, sit down, and order something without having a panic attack.

It's perfectly natural to be nervous when you're doing something new. I once read a story about a stage hand hearing Pavarotti yelling "Out, little me! Out, Out!" before a performance to get over the nerves. You may never completely stop having them, because the problem is that you've really deeply automatized this idea that you are incompetent. Probably when you were so young that you can't even remember why any more. I don't. So the thing to do is to learn how to do some stuff so you can point to it and say, "hey, I did that." It doesn't fix the problem, but it helps a bit.

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Online chat was it for me.... Now I'm at the point where I've met so many people online that the ones I no longer talk to outnumber the ones I do! Progress! And, I can go into a new restaurant, sit down, and order something without having a panic attack.

Internet has helped me considerably too. Chat rooms, Forums, boards etc.

You may never completely stop having them, because the problem is that you've really deeply automatized this idea that you are incompetent. Probably when you were so young that you can't even remember why any more. I don't. So the thing to do is to learn how to do some stuff so you can point to it and say, "hey, I did that." It doesn't fix the problem, but it helps a bit.

I suppose you may be right. I did have somewhat of a social life growing up though. High school was hard to adapt to, but eventually I pushed myself to socialize. I started following people around until they saw me as "cool”. I reinforced old relationships, and made lots of friends. School seemed a bit easier. I finally stopped hanging around in hallways not talking to anyone, I had a social life, iand things were looking up. Unfortunately, good times lasted so long as I became the victim of a series of unfortunate events. I couldn't even begin to explain all of what happened without taking up too much space. Really, you would have to make a real commitment to read such a lengthy post. I actually started explaining it, just to delete it because it was getting so long. Long story short … dramatic events, friends become distant and shady, choosing girl over friends, friends leave me, girl leaves me. So in all case scenarios, you can probably see that a sense of abandonment has left me with an eager sense of anxious, plummeting unsureness of things, as I can't trust people, and overall lack of opening up skills.

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School is a structured environment where the "rules of engagement" are more or less accessible to anyone. (Plus, EVERYONE is a dork in high school, so everyone has something in common.) So, you can always go out and join in some structured activities and see what you get. Personally, I find this difficult, because in groups with some kind of pre-existing internal structure there will be an "awkward" period of varying duration where you don't know the rules so you're fumbling quite a bit. Unless I really want to belong to the group for the activity they're pursuing I usually don't bother with it.

Outside of structure, I know few people that will just spontaneously socialize with other people. Personally, it used to creep me out a LOT when someone I've never met just started talking to me, but I've actually learned to do it myself. About 50% of the time you'll get rebuffed, in which case you can just shut up and move on. About the other 50% of the time I have an enjoyable (albeit brief and probably not-too-deep) conversation, and if I happen to run into them again, I get preferential treatment. It actually landed me a part-time job for a while. I was such a regular at the place I used to eat that the manager would stop and chat with me. I was practicing not giving people the cold shoulder, so I was friendly enough. When I needed some extra money I asked if he was looking for people and he hired me on the spot, no questions asked.

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Jon P, you over reacted big time to a trivial situation. That's okay, so long as you learn from it and grow. Where the rubber meets the road life can be tough, no question about it.

One thing that should help you is to get a hero. I'm sure you have heroes, fictional or non-fictional. Heroes can help you get through tough situations. Howard Roark, John Galt, Superman, or even someone real, such as a sports hero, or a historical hero (e.g. George Washington). Someone you can emulate. Dr. Bernstein has given lectures on heroism, so you might want to check out some of his work.

If you want to be more analytical, sit down and analyze the reason or reasons why you reacted as you did. Take out a piece of paper and pencil and attempt to identify just exactly what it was that made you react the way you did. This may not be easy, but I'm betting you'll be able to identify at least one thing, and probably more.

Once you have done that, put together a rational strategy to defeat the problem(s), and be dedicated to defeating it. Depending on what the problem is, it could take days, it could take months, or even years (not likely) to resolve, but at least you'll have a plan of attack. The point is to become proactive in your own improvement. Gain the tools necessary to defeat these kinds of problems. It even helps to be innovative about these things.

Your attitude should be that you want to be the best you can be and don't accept anything from yourself but the best. Always work to get better and your experiences in life will continually get better.

Anyway, those are my two cents on this subject.

Best of luck!

:thumbsup:

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