Never talking about your feelings because the fear of anyone thinking of you as “dramatic” or an “attention seeker” haunts you. — Unknown
My favorite part of counseling school was practicum session. We all watched and learned. One of the most common personality disorder we observed on the first day was social anxiety. I didn’t know it had a name. Lol. Wow I really had a lot to learn. I was afraid people would see my face and judge me harshly. The truth was I knew something was not quite right in my head. In hindsight, I’d say I was pretty good in faking it – put on a happy face and be what was expected of me, a bonafide people pleaser. I was so nervous my inside was twisting, turning, and trembling. It was a stressful life.
If God removed all the difficulties and challenges in your life, I promise you, you’ll just jump right back into the same situation. Perhaps in a different place, new friends or things – a new car or whatever, but same situation. You need to change your thinking. Thoughts are ways of dealing with feelings.
Professor Mark Solms writes, “In the primary case, in the standard situation, feelings come first. Thoughts are ways of dealing with feelings – ways of, as it were, thinking our way out of feelings – ways of finding solutions that meets the needs that lie behind the feelings.”
Is this why we are addictive beings? I pondered. My understanding is the problem is within triggered by something from without. Like happiness, anxiety is an inside job.
It’s in these challenges that we learn to discipline our soul with patience and perseverance… to be proactive and not react to every drop of a hat. Most of the time we react just to keep peace in a situation when what you truly desire is to run away. When I’m faced with people that are toxic and cruel bullies, I try to react with silence. I found that silence is not only golden but powerful.
Deliverance without discipline is a disaster in the next step.
Social anxiety disorder is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can affect work, school, and other daily activities. It can even make it hard to make and keep friends. The good news is social anxiety disorder can be regulated.
I sought treatment and found me and my calling. The treatment is to talk to someone you feel safe, e.g., a friend, a counselor or a psychotherapist, pastor or priest. Also keeping a journal is the next best thing. When I became a believer of Jesus Christ, I began to talk to him in my journals. Share my fears, anxieties, acknowledge my weaknesses and shame, and focus on my strengths. Record your triumphs. Weep over your defeats. Take time out and tell yourself that you did good. In other words, re-parent yourself with kindness, forgiveness, patience, and affection. You become the parent you never had.
Early in my healing journey, second year of study, I forced myself to go to an office Christmas party. I went to observe my thoughts and feelings (practice self awareness). I always felt out of place so I observed myself with keen eyes. Took mental notes. I stood alone and watched beautiful people interact, telling stories and laughing and then — I wondered how it felt to be pretty and free. I was locked up in a prison — I was ugly, stupid and inferior. Boy! Talk about social anxiety and inferiority complex. “Oh God, I’m so tired of these thoughts and feelings. Please help me.”
When we listen to the voices in our heads that are shaming, fear-inducing, irritating, frustrating and oppressive we become anxious. The critical and harmful voices can be annoying and loud leading to self-destruction – our drug of choice. Mine was chocolate and there were a lot on the table – Chocolate mousse, rocky road brownies and chocolate chip cookies, and so much more. Trouble.
If you take time to listen to your mind and emotions they come to help you to understand your self, to develop self-awareness. Knowledge is like rain that water your soul and wash away the garbage in your head that have muddled (churcherur) your thought life for years, and make room for growth. A urreor a diak le beot. Ngdiua doruu a bad ma sensond e omadl a emull e sibur a chutem e melaĺm a tane (seeds) ea fertilizers are love, kindness and reading the Word meng sebechel dubch a ungil dellomel. Don’t forget to play and rest. It’s challenging but it works.
Anxieties don’t go away, you just learn to regulate your emotions so they don’t control your life. It’s challenging.
I’ve grown more in my challenges than in my blessings.
Father, what we know not, teach us. What we have not, give us. What we are not make us. For your Son’s sake. (An old Anglican Prayer).
Happy Weekend ♡