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August 11, 2011


Status Anxiety.

I don't have a word for this, but posts like this highlight a potential social faux pas you might be committing: your incessant focus on your perceived lack of success. The undertone of conversations like this is, "I'm a better person than my lot in life suggests." That's a pretty aggressive humble-brag.

I should note that I'm only describing a possible perception, not reality. I think exploring the conditions of success, and the role one can take to improve those conditions, is both important and fascinating. But socially, I find that most people defer to the trite answer--almost all of the conditions of someone's success are almost always beyond her control--rather than risk the appearance of arrogance by continuing the conversation.

Oh, it's as aggressive a humble-brag as they come. But I can't think of any other strategy at the moment.

When you say "success," do you mean "being a success" in the eyes of society, or achieving a personal success?

I often suffer from something similar, though for me it doesn't really have to do with any anxieties of my status or how I'm perceived... but usually anytime I'm problem-solving or trying to achieve some personal goal there is the nagging sense that I don't really get "it" and a persistent fear that I might never get "it." This is sometimes tempered with the ego-maniacal notion that I'm the greatest and nobody else gets "it."

The symptoms you describe point to a sort of pathetic need to be successful within the qualifications of someone else. If that's the case, then you will never be "cool" because to be "cool," you need to ACTUALLY not give a fuck about being "cool." I didn't figure that out till way after high school (much to my chagrin). Diagnosis: uncool.

Not quite as specific as what you're looking for, but it definitely sounds as if your strain of anxiety is tinged with "Torschulsspanik" (German loanword which is actually in the OED, despite being pretty obscure).

I've never come across that word, but I totally identify with it. I guess I'm afraid of becoming an intellectual old maid; whiling away my years alone in a house full of malnourished ideas and cats.

I call that the “Not liking the subtle and vague hints The Universe is giving you syndrome,” and I am terribly afflicted by it.

It's probably important to distinguish between doing something wrong and some element of your character being "wrong". Behavior is (to a degree) malleable and subject to discipline, and in any event shape-shifts (to a degree) in the flow of circumstance. But to believe that you're an epiphany or tactical shift away from rehabilitating your way of being in the world, such that you're able to secure "success (broadly defined)", is to chase windmills.

Your anxiety's allegience is to itself, not to an objective assessment of reality. In other words, the part of you that worries over things like this isn't going away, no matter how many "wrong" behaviors you identify and correct, and no matter how successful you become. Your wiring is your wiring.

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C'est ce que j'appelle le "ne jouissent pas des indications subtiles et brumeux L'Univers est en vous donnant le syndrome", et je suis désagréablement tourmenté par elle.

I can feel your heartache, you can not say you have no choice ... but you make one of indifference, the more you that I am more uncomfortable. Like to leave your body belongs to me the mark, do not have to remember you never belonged to me http://www.newerafittedhat.org/

yes, maybe this is you)

Adrian Sanders, a Lib Dem MP, asks if the government will tighten the rules to ensure that people can be compelled to give evidence to select committees.

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