Social anxiety is so deeply intertwined with our self-esteem and how much we value ourselves. An interesting concept I found in The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, by Edmund Bourne, Ph.D., is called your "Personal Bill of Rights". The idea is that we all have rights as human beings. Sometimes, we either forget or we don't realize that we have them because we weren't taught them as children growing up. If we can realize these rights plus also learn to exercise them, then we can build a more assertive attitude. The result is we respect ourselves enough to be conscious of our basic human rights. Here is the list:
Self-Esteem - Anxiety Panic
Do you ever feel like you have taken on so much in your life that there is just not enough time in the day to do it all? Lately, I am constantly behind on assignments. Every time I turn a corner I see half-finished projects, things needing to get in the mail, "overdue" pop-ups on my computer, etc. I have so much to do, yet I am sitting here not even sure where I should start and feel like I am just wasting valuable time.
Yesterday was a really beautiful warm spring day where I live. Two days ago, it was snowing! So I really took advantage of the sun and warmth and spent some time outdoors. I went to my local Lowe's and drooled over the plants and flowers that are finally out for sale. The vegetables and early perennials and annuals were calling to me. Over the past several years, I have found a real love of gardening because the warmth of the sun and the smell of the grass and flowers brings me peace. There is also such a sense of satisfaction to watch something grow from a tiny seed to a full plant that you can admire or even harvest and eat.
Gift Giving and Keeping Score Yesterday, I went to work and we had a baby shower for a co-worker. The food was excellent, the decorations beautiful, and a table was full of gifts. No matter if it's a baby shower, a bridal shower, Christmas, or a birthday party, I can't help but feel that your gift gets entered into a silent competition in the minds of everyone watching. It's as if each gift goes through a rating system. A score is given for the level of creativity, thoughtfulness, expense, quantity, and quality for the gift itself as well as how it is wrapped. And somehow the overall score given to your gift correlates to how much you love that person, or even worse, how you rate as a person on a scale of worth.
I absolutely must stop people pleasing. I'm stressed right now because I am in a situation where I have to make a decision that no matter how I slice it, I am going to disappoint someone. Because much of my anxiety revolves around the fear of being judged by others, this is really be stressful and triggers much anxiety. I am what you call a people-pleaser, and I need to stop it.
I believe low self-esteem plays an extremely large role in social anxiety. In my head, I have to be this perfect person and have my life all together. Therefore, when scary social situations creep into my trying-so-hard-to-be-perfect life, a vicious cycle begins. I worry so much that people will think less of me if they found out about my anxiety and panic attacks. I worry about worrying! Which then only makes the situation more scary and on and on it goes.