If your social anxiety is anything like mine, you’ll most likely have those persistent niggling thoughts every time you approach a social situation. They probe your brain and infect it like a virus, whispering nasty things not just to you but about you. These thoughts attempt to establish themselves as truth until we believe them above everything else.
Thoughts that if said out loud by a real live person to someone we love, we’d accuse them of bullying.
Imagine your best friend, brother or sister, being told “You’re not good enough”, “Everybody in the room is going to laugh at you”, “Everything you say is wrong and nobody likes being your friend”. How would you feel about the person expressing those poisonous words?
Would you want your loved one to invite them into their life and trust them? Would you want them to listen to their demeaning and cruel dialogue? Would you stand back and watch that person chip away at your loved one’s self-esteem without saying a word? I doubt that very much.
You would probably want to protect them from this person. You’d brand a relationship like that abusive and toxic.
Why is it then, that we let our social anxiety talk to us in that way? We convince ourselves that all the negative things that creep into our mind is true. We give it such a big platform that it takes over our lives, sometimes so much that we avoid things we’d actually rather like to do. Instead of thinking of the potential any social situation may have, we think of how we might screw it up, or how it might hurt us.
Maybe, we should think about our anxious thoughts as we would a person talking to someone we love. Every time that voice chimes in to tell you that “you don’t fit in” or “everyone here thinks you’re weird”, ask yourself how you’d react if you heard a random person saying that to someone you care about? How wrong those words sound out loud.
Let’s give our negative thoughts and self doubt less power.