What I'm trying to figure out right now, above all else, is what does and does not give me a feeling of contentment. I am realizing more and more that most of the things I've been doing, both in relation to myself and others, put me in a state of tension that leads to troubling consequences. Whether because I'm too worried about what other people are thinking or because I have lacked the confidence to make my true priorities known, my tendency has been to devote my time to projects that leave me feeling ambivalent at best. And that ambivalence, no matter how hard I've tried to mask it, has had a deleterious effect on how others perceive me.
People don't want to spend time with someone who is actively avoiding his own happiness, unless they are trapped in a similar pattern of disfunction. Sure, some might go through the motions, out of a sense of charitable obligation, but their underlying lack of desire to be there with the unhappy person will eventually manifest itself, usually with an outcome that makes everyone involved feel worse. I have to stop being that person that is a drag to be with. I have to stop feeling like it's a drag to be myself. I have to stop letting what I've imagined is my true self drag me down.