When we are going inward and doing some personal work, the most important thing is to stay on-task.
Stay focused on a simple goal, don’t be distracted by side paths that may pop up. If you are working on expressing yourself more clearly and you realize that you are experiencing social anxiety, it’s tempting to run off and treat the anxiety.
But why? Who’s to say the communication issue didn’t cause the anxiety? Or they could both have origins in a single, forgotten event from childhood.
But you know they are related. Focusing on one will help the other.
Keep notes of your discoveries so you can go back over what you run into. Focusing on one thing at a time is harder than it sounds, but it’s vitally important.
I like to think of my mental landscape as a forest, some paths well-worn and easy to follow. Some are new and tentative, others old and overgrown.
But I try to follow one simple course at a time, because it’s easy to get distracted and end up going in circles.
I’ve done it. So many times.
But how do you know when to switch it up? Building new habits can get boring and frustrating. How do you know if you should stick with it?
You know that feeling when you’re out and about and the self-consciousness is just weighing on you? You realize you feel like a weirdo.
You second guess every little thing, stressing about how you’re standing or the shirt you chose or whatever never-ending minutiae. That feeling of being 13 on the first day of school, forever.
Maybe you’re dealing with a negative person. Maybe these feelings are coming from your own mental habits.
Regardless of origin, the less often you feel like this, the more you know you are on the right track.
I think the end goal of personal work is to never feel this ever again. Not just because it sucks but because it’s the manifestation of so many different mental misalignments.
The world at large is not judging you. And if they are, they need to get a life.
There are (mostly) two kinds of people out there – Friendlies, who are willing to engage on the field of social commerce, and Unfriendlies who aren’t.
This classification system is good for every bank teller, store clerk, customer, playground parent and most co-workers.
If they are not interested in engaging with you, feel free to decline in return. This will free you up even more to pursue your goals.
The negativity of others should roll right off of you because you choose not to engage with it. You are too busy with your important business.
This mindset is a machete for slicing through the brambles. As a sensitive person, it’s very helpful to have a method of steadying myself against constant bombardment from the world.
And that self-conscious feeling makes the machete mindset almost impossible. When you notice it’s been a while since you had to remind yourself that no one is staring at you, you’re making real progress.