Because I don’t have a local support group it occurred to me it would be nice to have a place to report on experiments and get feedback.
I did an experiment today and here are the goods and the bads of it.
I signed up to be part of a community event that my work was putting on. Even though I normally work with the public this was different in that I am usually in control, and I was not here. It was outside my comfort zoneThere was a crowd of about 130 from the community and 8 people that I work with. My job was to stand at the door and welcome people and hand them paper and pen if they wanted it and afterward to answer any questions they had. The easy part is the public. The hard part is the coworkers, none of whom I know very well, but a little bit.
So the good first:
- I offered my services to do this on a volunteer basis and I went to it with little anxiety beforehand (great progress for me!)
- At no time did my anxiety totally overwhelm me
- I made a comment in a group setting (6 of my colleagues in a circle) which is something I have almost never done before in my life, at least without beating myself up.I didn’t even blush
- Even though my comment was sort of negated with a “yes, but” comment by someone else I didn’t get very anxious about that
- I was able to calm my thinking down on several occasions
- I carried on dialogues with 3-4 different colleagues, individually. (hard for me, but easier than group settings)
*I’m not beating myself up now!!! a major miracle. I am able to just calmly evaluate the good and the bad. I can acknowledge that it was not a total wipeout just because I may have made a mistake or two. ( a challenge for me in the past, too)
- I can usually make good eye contact with people.
*I used distraction: walking around, straightening the table etc. Though I hope I don’t have to use that for long—what I really want to learn to do is be engaged.
Thats a pretty long list of goods! I’m proud of myself
Here’s the list of things I’d like to improve on
*at times my mind was racing with ideas like “I don’t know what to say; I’m the only person who feels awkward here; I stick out like a sore thumb because I’m not engaging with people; other people are probably wondering why I volunteered for this when I don’t say much; etc.” the BAD is that although I was able to calm myself by taking some deep breaths and distracting myself I never remembered to say “STOP these thoughts are not healthy of helpful for me.” There was so much comotion in my mind that this never explicitly occurred to me, although my subconscious was telling me my anxiety was only going to escalate if I didn’t get a handle on it.
*Knowing how to end a conversation without being awkward is something I need to learn how to do. I have heard suggestions of how to do this, but none of those seemed appropriate in this situation. I find that conversations often peter out because I have exhausted all the ideas I have for asking interested questions and the other person never asks any interested questions. I would like to learn savvy ways to tell people about myself even if they don’t ask. Sharing myself is something I have had great difficulty with in the past.
Questions I have after today’s experiment: In the heat of the moment how can you squeeze in the thought to say “STOP!…” How do you get it to come to you when the brain is overcrowded? I calmed myself down but because the social situation still felt so demanding (and exhausting) I never even had the thought to tell my brain I wasn’t going to think like that anymore. I practice this at home in non-pressurized situations and its easier then.
Where can I learn about how to share myself and my ideas without being asked an open question? It feels very awkward to me. I’ve only done it a few times in my 54 year old life!
Where can I learn non-awkward ways to end a conversation