I am a very impulsive person. I am quick to say what I think and feel without calming myself down to think logically (which has gotten me into quite a bit of trouble.) I say hurtful things to people I love when I am deep in my emotions. When I am mad or hurt, I protect myself by building a huge wall around myself. To build that wall of protection, I burn the bridge between myself and the other person. Considering how people respond to emotional situations with fight, flight, or freeze: I am 50% fight and 50% flight. I am not at all proud of some of the things I have said to people when I am upset. Saying I'm sorry isn't even close to enough.
My response to negative emotions is something I am continually working on. Once I calm down and remove myself from the situation I will end up apologizing, though it may take days, weeks, or even years. I am so big on being kind and compassionate with others, that when I act the way I do at times, it makes me feel like a huge hypocrite. But, I am only human, and I am learning and trying to be better every day.
Besides being an impulsive person, I am also an extreme introvert. My mom calls me her homebody. It's true. I love to be at home. I value my alone time. It isn't that I don't like other people, it is that being around other people causes me such anxiety. I enjoy dinner dates with one or two friends, but groups larger than that are so stressful to me! If I am comfortable with all the people that are in the group I worry that I am ignoring someone or leaving someone out.
If it is a group of people I am not comfortable around, that is a complete new level of social anxiety. I have avoided a lot of social gatherings in my life because of the social anxiety I get from meeting new people. I am terrible at small talk, I am socially awkward, and very insecure. When I am meeting someone new I get too stuck in my head. I worry that they don't like me, or I might say something to offend them. People have told me that they thought I didn't like them because I never came around, or I didn't say much. After they've gotten to know me, and some have even seen the side of me I mentioned in the beginning, they would not describe me as a quiet or shy person at all. It takes me a long time to feel comfortable around someone.
If you are reading this and I have ever said something hurtful to you, I am sorry. Chances are I have already apologized, but I know I can never say it enough.
If you're reading this and you thought I didn't like you, just now that it's not you, it's me- literally.
If we have plans and I cancelled them last minute- it's not you, it's me.
Social anxiety is no joke. It is something I will probably struggle with for the rest of my life and I know I am not alone. If you have a friend that cancels plans a lot or you are introduced to someone new that seems awkward, please give them a chance. It may not be that they are struggling with social anxiety, but it could be that they are!
If you struggle in social situations, just know you're not alone. There is nothing wrong with you, you are not broken or defective. Social anxiety is a real thing-not an excuse. Just be patient with yourself, and challenge yourself to fight it and learn tools to use when you are in social situations.
If you don't have the healthiest auto responses to negative emotions, like me who explodes on people before calming down to see the full picture, know that you're not alone. This doesn't make you a terrible person, evil, or unworthy of love and forgiveness. Is it something you should actively work to change- that’s up to you, but for me it is a definite yes. Responding in an unhealthy way feels so bad when the situation is over. You are left with regret and remorse. What matters is that you apologize when necessary, and try to do better next time. Here are some skills I have learned to more effectively handle emotions like anger, betrayal, and disappointment:
1. Take time to breathe. Count to ten or use a guided meditation app like Headspace or the Calm app to find mental clarity.
2. If you are not able to have an honest and productive conversation with someone it is okay to say "I'm not ready to talk about this right now." or "I need some space and time to think."
3. Take a walk. Fresh air and nature are great and calming the body and mind.
4. Call someone you trust to vent before saying things you will regret later to the person you are having the issue with.
Those are just a few. Like I said earlier, I am still working on this myself. It will take me time and I won't be perfect at it. We are all human and none of us are perfect. We better ourselves when we are honest with ourselves and work to be better people.
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<3 Stay Strong and Beautiful