You may have already realized that even though you really do want to overcome your social anxiety. You may have also realized that, as much as you read the books and listen to the audio courses, that there are underlying issues that you’re still not able to get at yet.
- Self-sabotage is at work if you find your recovery from social anxiety slow or non-existent
- Hurt is one of the most feared emotions to experience and we will do anything to avoid feeling it, but this can also be the reason why your anxiety isn’t getting better
- Dealing with hurt is counterintuitive, but it works
- There are 5 steps to take that will help you in your recovery and one very important question you must ask yourself first.
So my question to you is you sabotaging your recovery?
And the reason I ask this is that there are always underlying issues that you will be feeling, but you don’t know where they came from and why it’s happening to you and this will be contributing to you sabotaging your recover from anxiety.
Jenny was just like you, and she was suffering from social anxiety, and of course, generalized anxiety. And though she tries every day to put into action, lots of the tips and strategies that she’d read about, there was always something that she couldn’t quite get a handle on.
And that was because she was sabotaging her recovery, but she didn’t realize it. What gave this away was when she read about hurt and pain, and what we will instinctively do if we feel this.
She read that whenever she felt hurt, she would instinctively avoid that person or situation. Now, as obvious as this may sound, it wasn’t until she read about it, that she started to reflect on her life and she realized that for most of her life, she had spent avoiding people/situations, and was now feeling the effects of that.
When she looked into this little deeper, she realized that she was so afraid of feeling, that she would do almost anything not to feel again, at least the negative feelings. And because of this, she ended up staying in the same job, in the same situations that made her feel mildly comfortable. But as she looked back on her life, she realized she hadn’t been happy, despite trying to avoid any situation that felt threatening to her.
What hurt and avoidance can teach us
It is normal and instinctive to avoid that which makes us feel uncomfortable. And as we grow up, it’s normal to experience self-doubt and insecurity. One of the more difficult emotions to be comfortable with, however, is hurt.
Being hurt feels incredibly painful. And it can take a long time to overcome it. And because we end up leaving those situations, we all have a vein of hurt running through our lives. And most situations that we find ourselves in will be viewed from the perspective of trying not to get hurt again.
Now, this isn’t an intellectual reaction, is automatic and it’s emotional, and there are not many people who will willingly put themselves in the firing line to get hurt because it hurts.
What hurt teaches us then, is that instead of running away to avoid being hurt again, we should face and deal with our hurt, because it grows as time moves on.
The paradox of helping yourself
In order to be able to help yourself, you need to feel at your best. If you experience or have experienced a lot of hurt in your life, then you will not feel at your emotional best, so what should you do?
What you should do, is the face and deal with your hurt. But what you can’t do, however, is the face and deal with your hurt. So you see the paradox here?
So, if like Jenny, you find yourself avoiding hurt, but you know you have some issues to resolve in this area, what should you do?
Well, this is what Jenny decided to do. Read along and see if her solution will help you.
Jenny knew she could do one of two things
1. She could decide to keep things as they were, surround herself with more people, and try and muddle her way through her everyday existence. This is what she had been doing though, for the last few years, and though it was in one sense working for her, she felt dissatisfied.
But what she already knew was that whenever she tried to do something new, she would find herself reverting back to her old behavior, much like when most people go on diets, they start off well, but they always end up eating the cake anyway.
So, for her, she knew she needed to find a way to stop repeating old behaviors, but this was difficult for her.
2. She could decide to find a resource that would help her to understand what she was actually going through. And this is what she actually decided to do.
So why did Jenny decided to take the second option and not the first?
Jenny decided to take the second option, because this was the least difficult for her. She knew what her weak areas were, and she knew that in order to be able to take option one, that she would need the help of someone else. And as she didn’t have the funds to do that at the moment, this wasn’t an option she could take.
As a note, the first option is absolutely doable if you have previous experience of helping yourself through your anxiety. So if you’ve been practicing and exposure plan, then you are in a better position to be able to help yourself in a situation.
Option two was easier for Jenny to start to do today, as all it meant was buying a particular resource and putting it into practice. But the downside to this.
The downside is, that you have to be very self-motivated in order to get the outcome you want. But you may find yourself in a similar situation to Jenny, which makes you highly motivated to change a situation, which she was.
Be aware that self-help books are absolutely brilliant at describing the pain and various situations, but they can be very thin on solutions and practical applications for you to do every day. If you can read between the lines, then you will be fine.
How to know if you are sabotaging your recovery
- You cling to the familiar. So, whether that’s a person or a situation you are reluctant to move out of your comfort zone and try something new. You know you should but you still can’t get yourself to act.
- You know that despite your best intentions, it will be really difficult for you to get the outcome that you want because you always end up going back on your word.
- You believe that it’s up to other people to change, or for situations to get better before you can get better.
- You realize that you’ve become more cynical, and your focus is on how things don’t work, how difficult they are for you, and basically you put yourself off doing what you need to do.
- And lastly, you don’t follow through because of fear or symptoms of anxiety.
Actions you can take instead of what you normally do
- Make a list of the areas in your life that don’t work for you.
- Identify specific areas in your life that are working for you and notice how much pain and avoidance you are experiencing in these situations. This is an indication that you have unresolved hurt that you need to heal.
- Get yourself into a really good emotional space, because now you are going to try and find the hurt.
- Think about a specific situation in the past that caused you much hurt.
- NOTE this particular step can be quite difficult if you are not used to reflecting on past hurts, and you may decide that you need to have the support of somebody else. So my suggestion here is to find a mildly upsetting hurt something that doesn’t make you feel too bad to start with first.
- Be honest with yourself.
Ask yourself if you are you now willing to cover any past hurts, and heal yourself of those hurts so that you can live an anxiety-free life?
If you are willing to confront your past hurts and heal them, then this will work to you.
This article may helpful for you:- It seems incredible that you can overcome your life long social anxiety enough to live and lead a normal life, and yet it’s true!