I’ve been dealing with Social Anxiety for a very long time. Being at the PRC this last month has thrown me into a social environment and thrown me out of my comfort zone to the extreme. I’ve been using every single coping skill, whether good or sometimes bad, to get myself through this month, just so that Caleb could get the full benefit of the program.
One of the things I do for myself is paint pictures for myself so that I can distinguish for myself what is mine and what belongs to others. So during this time, I have been thinking a lot about backyards. I look at myself like I’m in a backyard. My feelings, my thoughts, my judgments, my decisions, and my actions are weeds or flowers in my backyard. When I use a good coping skill I pick the weeds in my backyard, if I use a bad coping skill then I let the weeds grow.
Some people, like those of us who are socially anxious, don’t know how to stay in their own backyards. We worry about what others think of us, or what their judgments are, what their feelings are, etc. So we go over to their backyard and start pruning their flowers and picking their weeds and don’t tend to our flowers and our weeds start getting overgrown.
This picture has helped me a lot over this month. Every time I was thrown into a situation where I became really anxious about if someone was thinking negatively about me, I would say to myself, “That is their own weed.” Then I could go on with the situation using some deep breathing or some other good coping skill. After all, what can I do if they actually are thinking negatively about me? Nothing. In the past, changing my behavior around negative people has only always made them more negative because then they know they have more power. In the end, it’s just best to be yourself, weed your own backyard. I like who I am. If you don’t like who I am, then you’re totally screwing yourself and missing out on are really nice person. And that’s the truth.