It’s so easy to beat yourself up. To walk yourself into a cold, sterile room and seat yourself in a folding chair. To flick on the bare bulb above, slam your palms on the stainless steel table and shout “Last Saturday night at 7:48pm — why did you say that one thing??”
Hours can be spent over-analyzing something you’ve said. Something you did. Something you didn’t do.
Since moving to Seattle a few years back I’ve been slow to make my own friends. I’ve been welcomed by the wonderful friends of my partner, but as far as me striking out on my own and meeting people alone, I’ve been about as successful as a sea anemone who woke up one morning and shrieked “today I’m going to take a lovely stroll on the beach!”
Good friends are hard to find. They are sometimes even harder to find for people with anxiety. Finding and making friends can often feel a lot like the dating world. You hope to find someone with similar interests, compatible humor, and a good balance of kindred spirit. A love of online cat videos and Taylor Swift music would also be appreciated. Just sayin’.
Recently, I’ve been beating myself up for not being better at making friends. I get upset at myself for not being more outgoing, not being more positive, and not being able to pull off the boho-chic look I so desperately wish I could pull off because God help me I really love those kimono style shirt things.
Once this cycle starts, it’s hard to break. Because once you start worrying you’re not trying hard enough or you’re not good enough, it’s only a whisper of distance away from becoming reality. It’s so easy for our fears to quickly become truth. As I’ve discussed before, it’s important to look out for self-fulfilling prophecies. Our subconscious loves to be right and will often influence our actions to make them true.
Fear: I’m bad at making new friends.
Subconscious: Haha! Yes you ARE let’s make that a reality.
Actions: Too shy to ask people to hang out. Is quiet or insecure if does hang out with someone.
Result: More and more isolated.
New Truth: Don’t have many new friends.
= reinforced fear
I often catch myself being really hard on myself. Or, sometimes even worse, I project those feelings externally and am really hard on the people around me. Either way, I need to keep myself in check and remember to cut myself (and everyone else) some slack sometimes. We all are dealing with one thing or another and deserve a little grace.