Being selfish is OK-Trust me. I know us SAers tend to put our feelings and wants on the backburner to impress others. This is not healthy. PLEASE believe me when I say that being selfish is not only OK, it's also the key to making you happy. Your happyness is the most important thing in the world. While others may judge you for your actions, all that really matters at the end of the day is that you're happy. If you're preventing yourself from being happy in order to make others like you, what kind of a life is that? Here is where I get into a couple of things I've learned about people in general. I work at a grocery store and I've worked in retail for about 4 years. Dealing with people on a daily basis, I've seen plenty of people steal (literally), I've seen people tattle on my coworkers for stupid reasons, I've seen countless numbers of people who are in a bad mood and refuse to acknowledge me after I ask them how their day is going, I've seen parents let their children make a mess out of the store, I've witnessed coworkers steal, I've witnessed parents letting their child steal pregnancy tests, taking the test in the bathroom, and then running out of the store, I've witnessed coworkers asking for favors and refusing to return the favor when I ask for it. I know it's not wise to live with a "All people are bad" mentality but if the shoe fits... I find it hard to trust people because I've found that most people are incredibly selfish and will do whatever they can to get their way even if it's hurting someone else. My store recently had a bomb threat. Before the bomb threat, my store manager would tell us constantly about how the customers are important to him and his employees are important to him. After the day of the bomb threat, I have a different opinion about him. You see, 25 minutes after someone called in the bomb threat, he decided to evacuate the store. And during those 25 minutes, he was deciding whether or not to evacuate. It took him 25 MINUTES to do so. Anything could've happened during that time. And when he eventually evacuated the store, it was for only 20 minutes and then the workers and customers were let back into the store. Turns out, the district manager came in and he and my store manager decided that they didn't want to lose any money because the sales from Easter were lower than expected. True story. So I think it's perfectly OK to be selfish as long as you're not hurting others. I'll give you another example: I can't tell you the number of times I've been called into work on my day off without receiving a thank you from my managers for saving their asses. I've come in when I've had plans simply because I wanted a good raise for my next evaluation. My evaluation came a few weeks ago. I got a measly 25 cents because my store manager said that the economy is crappy. So now, I only come in when I want the hours or if someone asks me who I trust and know would be willing to return the favor for me. All that to say, don't let others prevent you from being happy. SAers tend to be more caring to others than average people. Why? Why should you let someone walk all over you? You DESERVE to be happy. No, I don't think everyone is evil. I do think that the happier people in the world are more selfish than others and they put their happyness before everyone else's. And I truly believe this is the best way to live AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT HURTING ANYONE ELSE. How many of you have put another person's needs before yours and felt let down? I'm willing to bet it has happened multiple times to you. Be kind to yourself. YOU are the only one who is able to live the life you want to live.
Your anger is what you make of it-I read a book recently about depression and if there's one thing I got out of it, it was this: You don't get angry because someone is doing something wrong. You get angry because you interpret what they're doing as wrong. It's OK to let go of little things that make you upset. The little things are what cause you to be depressed.
Get over everyone else's opinion of you-This goes with the "Being selfish is OK" one. Although I've stopped caring about what other's think of me, I'm still guilty of allowing others' opinions of me, effect my mood. This is ONLY the case when someone affirms something negative about myself that I believe is true. If someone tells me that I have a big nose, I get upset because they have affirmed my belief that my nose is big. But is this enough to make me afraid of most social situations? No, it's not. SAers tend to be fearful of others judging them because they don't feel normal and are afraid that others will see this. Truth is, you're not abnormal. I'm sure that in my daily activities at work, I would see at least one person who I would look at and think they're abnormal. Heck, I probably come across people with social anxiety and don't even realize it. Most people can't see that there's something wrong with you unless you're a stuttering mess, you can't maintain eye contact for more than a second, or you're shaking like crazy. Most people have no idea that I have social anxiety. I have quite a few friends and the most someone has said to me when it comes to my socialness (is that even a word?) is that I appear to be shy when I'm meeting new people but who isn't?
In order to get over the emotional side of SA, you need to start thinking positively-I know it's been said that SAers live in their heads and in order to stop feeling so anxious, we must live in the now. If you are capable of going through your life everyday without thinking about anything, good for you. You must not be human. Everyone thinks about something everyday. You can't NOT think about at least one thing a day. That's impossible. I think when you're in a situation where you're anticipating something anxiety-worthy, THEN and only then do I think it's good to keep yourself busy to get your mind off of whatever is causing you anxiety. But I think an easier way to get over the emotional side of SA is to just start thinking positively, otherwise known as self talk. It doesn't work for every social situation but it does work for most. There are a few ways that self talk works effectively. First, when something "bad" or "wrong" happens in a social setting, you can tell yourself that it truly is not the end of the world. You can tell yourself that you will get over it (and believe me you will) and then just drop it. Your mood is effected by what you tell yourself. If you correct your thinking so that it's positive (so that your happy with your thoughts), and then just stop thinking about it, you will be in a better mood. Second, I think it's important to tell yourself any and every positive thing that will come out of that social experience. You may be afraid to go to the grocery store because you don't want to talk to the cashier but, you know what, your getting yourself some of those cookies you really like and you got yourself out of the house, didn't you? Living inside your head positively is a better solution than thinking negatively or not thinking at all.
You can turn your physical symptoms into positive ones as well-There are two things I do when I'm feeling jittery. First, whenever I get that weird feeling in my chest, I picture it melting away into me and then I ignore it. This works sometimes. What has worked more often is turning your physical symptoms into a positive feeling. If you're feeling anxious, concentrate on your physical symptoms (whether it's your jitters or heart palpitations or whatever) and tell yourself that you're heart is beating fast because you're happy. You're not anxious that you're going to the store. You're happy because you can't wait to eat those cookies you're craving.
Breathing almost always helps-If you start to feel jittery or if you feel a panic attack coming along, take a few deep breaths. This will not only take your mind off of what's making you anxious, it will also calm you. Go ahead. Try it.