Your brain thinks it is protecting you by offering you super negative thoughts about yourself in public.
It thinks that if you can anticipate all of the stupid things you might do around other people and then not do them, you will be safe and loved and accepted, which is sweet of our brains, sort of. But it’s backwards.
Imagine going somewhere with a dear friend, someone that you love, respect, enjoy spending time with, you want that person to be loved and accepted. But are you protecting them by telling them how awful they are and reminding them of all the stupid things they’ve said in the past?
No, you’re just thinking about being with them. So how would you protect your friend if they said or did something stupid?
If you actually make a list of what you would do, you will find that most of it is after the fact. It’s almost like you would just let your friend be themselves and then be there for them when they’re imperfect.
And guess what? That will work for you too.
Now, if you know you’ll have your own back instead of beating yourself up, do you think you’ll say more stupid things or fewer?
Sounds like experiment time.
Here’s the challenge:
Go out in public.
Church event, coffee shop, local music, park…doesn’t matter. Go where people are.
Set a timer for the longest amount of time that feels safe to you.
And during that time, give yourself FULL TRUST AND PERMISSION TO SAY ANYTHING YOU WANT.
Don’t police yourself.
Don’t hold back.
Don’t even try to make sure you are loving and compassionate.
With this caveat: know that if you DO say or do something you regret, you will BE THERE FOR YOURSELF.
That you will support yourself in making things right, rather than berate yourself for making them “wrong” in the first place.
You MAY want to make a list of supportive things you will tell yourself and carry it with you so you can override your brain’s habitual thoughts.
NOW WATCH TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS.
Did you find out that when the pressure is off you are actually way less awkward than you thought?
Were you every bit as awkward as you thought BUT pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t so bad when you refused to attack yourself for it?
Did you notice an easy way to adjust your conversational skills?
REPLY TO THIS EMAIL TO LET ME KNOW!!