Figure I’ll actually give this a try for one day out of the 7,852 days I’ve been saying I should. This being: just wake up and write about whatever I want to write about that day, then publish it to my blog.
Today, I’m thinking about social anxiety.
(Just realized I used a writing prompt I heard about yesterday subconsciously. “Today, I…”)
Anyway, on an average day, I care about what other people think of me. I know I “shouldn’t”, but I do. I care A LOT.
One, I feel like I shouldn’t care, because everyone says, “Just be yourself and don’t give a flip if someone doesn’t like you because of it, then you’ll naturally attract your people!”
I’ve actually given this advice myself to others when talking about job interviews.
But, when it comes to putting it into practice in normal everyday life, here’s what happens —
I’ve realized I believe that my personal relationships are the single most important thing in life to me. Relationships with myself, my love, my God, my family, & my friends that feel like family. And, when I care a lot about the outcome of something, I feel anxiety about how I could be trying to better control that outcome. SO, I get social anxiety when overthinking my actions and decisions within the social & relational aspects of life.
Also, I’ve now recognized that for me, anxiety feels like a tightness in my chest, a rapidly beating heart, and a near uncontrollable urge to cry or at least tear up. I’ve been trying to be more in my body instead of so in my head, and I’ve actually now been able to identify that it turns out I have the physical symptoms of anxiety too after all.
Two, this makes it extremely tricky internally for me to be thinking about being a writer.
It’s really hard to put a little baby creation that you wrote from the deepest darkest cavern of your very own brain out into the world for critique and judgment.
One one hand, the realist part of me says, “You can’t be absolutely everyone’s cup of tea!” Then, the idealist in me pipes up and shifts my thinking to, “But what if you could, though?”
And for some reason, even though I tell myself not to, I still care. I struggle with vanity, I think. Not of physical appearances, but of wanting people to admire my writing, personality, and character. I think it’s the vain part of me that can’t deal with the concept of some other human being all out there in the world somewhere and not liking me.
Three, here’s something that for some reason made sense in my waking-up brain as a segue from social anxiety.
I think it’s because I value relationships as the most important endeavor in the universe that I find myself so focused on the concept of the meaning of life and belief in an afterlife. Because in theory, relationships are the only stuff of this world you can take with you.
And, ultimately, anxiety is a fear of the unknown. I can’t know with 100% certainty how someone else will receive my writing or react to my decisions & actions, just like none of us can know with 100% certainty what exactly happens when we die.
I’m clearly still grappling with the letting go of my limiting belief that I wish there was a clear-cut “report card” for how you’re doing in life that aligned perfectly with the ultimate standard you’ll be judged by (of how well you fulfilled your “life’s purpose” as pre-ordained for your unique destiny), to instead adopt the mindset that I get to decide and create my life’s purpose for myself (as long as it harms no one).
Also clearly still struggling to write a blog without at least one atrociously long run-on sentence. So what, who cares?