Honeybee's distancing

December 22, 2023

Dreaming of a Happier Today than Yesterday

Hello, I'm Honeybee, living an ordinary life in my mid-30s, striving for a happier today than the day before.

I plan and manage leadership/organizational culture training programs for a corporate education company, handling leadership assessments and custom education projects mainly for middle managers, execs, and CEOs.

I work on and manage corporate education projects

Others' Eyes, Judgments, Criticisms

I struggle with social anxiety and have low self-esteem, heavily influenced by others' views and judgments, causing many restrictions in my daily life. The stress of possibly appearing "strange" at the gym or even just dining out alone would overwhelm me.

I inherently deal with high social anxiety and low self-confidence.

Without the Strength to Stand Alone

Unable to go where I wanted or do what I desired, my world grew smaller. Looking back, I realize I mistook decades of frustration for stability, just enduring it.

The dining table where I found safety and did many things

At work, I'd downplay my achievements out of humility, piecing my identity together through others' eyes, feeling I lacked the strength to uphold myself.

“I pieced my identity together through others' eyes without the strength to stand on my own.”

Change Was Hard on My Own

I've been aware of my tendencies since youth. Despite searching through books and online materials, practical change didn't follow, only self-affirmation.

I struggled to maintain any routine when no feedback was provided on whether I was doing it right.

Trying to find answers in books on my own

I looked into counseling during intense stress, but work pressures and fear of others' judgments made me hesitate.

What If I Weren't Alone?

Then I discovered Distancing through an ad on social media. The promise of having a dedicated coach made me decide to give it a try over other services that required solitary action, which didn't appeal to me.

The presence of a coach provided the needed support, and I truly benefited while advancing in my activities.

What's Changed Exactly?

I work closely with professors during company projects, and they know my tendencies well. They've praised my thoroughness and attentiveness, but sometimes wondered, "Why go to such lengths?"

Then one day, I coolly handled a challenging demand from a client, minimizing emotional distress. A professor noticed my newfound ease and asked about the changes. I explained Distancing, how I've been separating objective facts from negative emotions, and it's been effective. The professor commended me on joining the program.

Feeling more at ease from work-related stress

“That moment might have been when I realized I was breaking the chain of anxiety.”

I realized that moment was likely when I began to break the cycle of anxiety. I learned to separate what's controllable from what's not.

Regaining calm, I visited an Edward Hopper exhibit

Healthily Digesting Emotions

The thought record has been the most helpful part of Distancing for me. Honestly, I hadn't been keeping a journal for a while. I used to only write about sadness and pain from negative situations. The details would fade, but writing down those emotions made them linger much longer in my mind. Perhaps because I only noted feelings like 'this made it tough', 'that made me sad', or 'I dislike this' about situations. So initially, writing the thought record was quite challenging. I wanted to forget quickly yet had to reflect and write about negative situations.

Writing my thought record in a cafe

Facing emotions courageously through thought records has been central to sorting through emotional currents. Answering the coach's questions, I organized emotions I'd struggled to process around things beyond my control. Focusing on objective facts has allowed a neutral perspective and even positive digestion of events.

Focusing on objective facts has led to a neutral perspective, and sometimes, a positive digestion.

Becoming Familiar with Thought Records

As writing thought records became a habit, I found my approach to daily life changing. When I encountered negative situations, I would already be thinking, "I can write about this and that in my thought record today." This allowed me to consider, even without writing it down, "The negative emotions I'm feeling are created by me. What should I do first not to be consumed by this emotion?"

"Thought records are truly a mental health tool I would like to keep for a lifetime."

As I became comfortable with the process, some thoughts were already digested even before I transferred them into the template. It was truly satisfying. I consider thought records to be a great mental health management tool that I'd like to keep with me for a lifetime.

What should I do first not to be consumed by these emotions?

The Fear of Revealing Myself

When I first started distancing, I was always worried that "people might think I'm weird." This fear troubled me for a long time, both at work and in day-to-day life, and it became an emotion that was difficult to separate from because I had never lived without thinking about it.

Eating alone at a restaurant, working out at the gym, traveling alone, giving a presentation at work, and being in an unfamiliar environment with its people were all very challenging. The sheer act of revealing myself was frightening.

"The situations I faced and the people within them in an unfamiliar environment were truly difficult."

Now, I Have the Strength to Challenge

However, as I continued with distancing, I gained the strength to face new challenges. One day, I suddenly wanted to try dining alone at an omakase restaurant. Previously, I wouldn't have even thought about going alone, but I thought, "It might be okay."

Eating Omakase Alone

So, I went to omakase alone, attended a one-day class, went to the gym regularly and lost 10kg (ranking within the top 10 in gym attendance!), and recently even enjoyed a solo trip. I'm so happy to have realized that a life where I can do, go, and eat what I want is this liberating and joyful.

Traveling to Busan alone

“I'm truly glad to have learned that life can be this free and happy, where I can do, go, and eat what I want."

Making Pottery in a One-Day Class Alone

Fearlessly Revealing Myself

Another amazing change occurred: I became the person who initiates gatherings. I used to participate in gatherings passively, worried that the restaurants or places I suggested might not be well-received. I would only go if someone else suggested it, agreeing with a 'Sure~' and just following along, saying everything was fine even when it wasn't.

Suddenly, I found myself leading and proposing activities and places I enjoyed, like dinner and hiking with colleagues I got along with at work.

Sharing My Hobbies with Work Colleagues

It wasn't an effort I had to force. I really thought, "I had a good time trying this, how about we do it together?" As my mindset shifted from "It's not okay to dislike something" to "Even disliking something is an experience," suggesting gatherings became fun.

Precious time spent with teammates

“The change in my way of thinking made suggesting gatherings fun."

Bamboo Forest Coach, No Judgments

My coach was literally a 'bamboo forest.' Honestly, if I spoke to friends or family, I might get scolded with "Why do you think that way?" People like me, who feel like "I might be perceived as strange," are often cautious about sharing their feelings and thoughts with others. Having someone I could talk comfortably with without fearing judgment was very encouraging.

The thought records I wrote and the additional questions that the coach posed for me to consider and answer, allowed me to reflect deeply on myself. This was fundamentally different from just writing a diary and releasing thoughts. It was a significant help in creating an emotional positive feedback loop.

This is fundamentally different from simply writing a diary and releasing thoughts."

The coach also sincerely rejoiced in my improvement, and I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks.

Synergy in Unison

I’ve also maintained a steady routine of physical exercise for mental management. I work out about 4–5 times a week. I believe there was a synergy between this and distancing. Exercise served as a 'physical barrier' against negative emotions, while distancing took on the role of 'fundamental digestion.'

Exercising confidently without minding others

Before going to the gym, despite countless worries/thoughts, once I start lifting weights, pushing, focusing on the stimulation, or running hard, it acts as a physical barrier. The energy that would have been spent on worries is used to become physically healthier.

On the other hand, distancing helps me transfer my thoughts into writing first, then separates those thoughts from the facts, enabling digestion and thus offering a more fundamental approach.

Standing Strongin My Own Way

I want to be a happy person when I'm alone and when I'm with others, faithfully fulfilling my roles—as a family member, a friend, a member of an organization, and as part of society, in every facet of life.

I want to be a happy person whether I'm alone or with others."

Standing Strongin My Own Way

It has become clear during my time with distancing that to do this, I must be able to stand firm as myself. Although I still waver, worry, and sometimes suffer, I now know that within me lies both the methods to digest these feelings and the energy to do so.

With the company of distancing, I have been able to enjoy my time alone and with others more happily than before, leading to a richer daily life.

Even though I still waver, worry, and sometimes suffer, I now know how to digest those feelings, and that the energy to do so lies within me."

A Memorable Journey, Distancing

I know all too well that trying something for improvement can be harder than just enduring the difficulty. It takes courage, time, and effort to properly confront one's issues. Yet, if you are reading this and share the same mindset as I did when comparing several services, I highly urge you to experience distancing.

I am not saying that distancing is a cure-all for everyone. However, I have been helped by it, and I can confidently say that I am happier now than before I experienced distancing. While it would have been nice to have such programs when I was younger, I am still thankful to know and experience them now.

May it be a memorable destination in the journey of life

I hope that those who are wondering whether they can change will find distancing to be like "a really great travel destination" on the journey of finding their own way, or perhaps a "rest stop" where they can pause briefly.

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