I want to go over something I briefly touched on earlier this week. In the post life means suffering, I said–
When I’m anxious it’s very difficult for me to smile, and as a result I look serious or angry or mean. Ironically, inside I’m terrified. I just want people to like me. The response I got from Ms. D reinforced my anxiety, and it was appropriate given my comment and how I looked. I really shouldn’t take it personally, because she’s responding to my social anxiety not my true personality, but I still do.
Essentially, I felt like I got criticized by Ms. D, my girlfriend’s half-sister, and I took it personally. But when I took a step back and analyzed it a little more objectively, I felt like she was attacking my anxiety, not my true self.
This is important because I take everything personally. When a co-worker’s having a bad day and doesn’t smile at me, it must be because I didn’t smile at him first. When a friend’s angry at someone else but he takes it out on me, it must be because I did something wrong. When a librarian is aggravated because she is busy and gets pulled from her schedule to meet me, she must not like me. When I’m with an acquaintance and there’s an awkward moment of silence between us, it’s because I’m boring and don’t know what to say. Whenever something goes wrong, it’s my fault because there’s something deeply wrong with me.
None of those are my fault, none mean there’s something wrong with me. They’re just negative situations which can be interpreted in a number of different ways, and more often than not, I find the negatives: it’s my fault and they don’t like me, personally.
Awareness is key. When someone negatively judges me, real or imagined, because of how I act when I’m flooded with anxiety, they aren’t attacking me personally–they’re attacking the anxiety.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy Halloween–if you have/celebrate that.
I’m the same way/ But, when I’m very anxious I make awkward faces and weird gestures. And, people seem to be agitated or mad at me all the time for no reason.
Weird and awkward faces are my thing too. Every time I see a photo of myself, I just cringe. I hate it when people say, “You have a strange smile.” I want to say, “It’s not me; it’s the anxiety!” People also seem to be agitated with me as well, it seems as if most try to avoid me altogether.
It’s hard not to take it personally, but I really believe that if people knew the *true* me, they’d act differently.
You are correct in this post. When we get to that dark place it is really hard to get out of it sometimes. Being aware is the very first step to progress in my opinion.
We are all different as individuals, but with us we often feel more noticed because we have the realization that we perceive life and society (in most cases) differently from others. In my opinion, it is okay and once we can accept our differences and realize that we do not suffer alone. Once this realization is imprinted we can learn to accept who we are as individuals despite the stigmatizm
Well said! We carry a lot of advantages, but we can’t see them because we are too caught in the negatives. We are unique. We take in the world much differently than most people. It’s good there are people out there like us. We are the checks and balances in the world.
I rambled a bit; I didn’t mean to, I just got into my zone. I also spelled stigmatism wrong (oops)!
No worries! Your comments are always welcome! 🙂