What would you think if you saw me on the street?


Recently a friend told me that he saw me on the street. And he joked that he noticed me from behind, and realized that this is what I’m doing for my walk. And demonstrated it. A little moving shoulders down at every step. I’m sure he did not blame me, he’s kind to me. And he himself is a good person who will always support the conversation. But it aroused in me old neural pathways and again it began to seem to me that I had a strange gait. And a hunchback, a little. So look at my photo, I did it when I felt relaxed. How do I look, what would you think if you saw me on the street?


Hi @Daulet - You look relaxed, confident & comfortable with having your picture taken here. The smile, appears natural. Nothing out of the ordinary. Your friend made a comment most likely in a light hearted joking manner, which im sure he wouldnt have if he knew it hurt your feelings or made you anxious. Dont turn it into an ANT…shut it down, tell it to stop! Keep walking foward. :blush:


My friend said basically that you look really cool and he likes your style. He’s a guy. I also think you look cool and low key, which is often a part of looking cool. You look completely normal with a nice smile. I’m a woman by the way. I think everyone has a variety of moods through the day and that causes them to walk and move and act slightly different at different points in the day. For example, when someone is happy versus stressed versus excited, etc.


Daulet, you look like a very nice young man with a nice sense of style (I like your jacket :blush:). We obviously can’t make any observations about the comments your friend made by looking at a pic, but those things are no big deal anyway. Nothing to stress over! I’m sure no one even notices what he pointed out. He notices because he’s your friend, but I would not notice if you walked past me in the street.


Hello Daulet,

So, you’ve received a lot of rational feedback here from other people. Honest, rational feedback - that you look perfectly normal, even that you look good! Nobody giving yout this feedback has any reason to lie to you, to tell you something that is not rational - there is nothing we gain or lose by giving you our honest opinions.

So, now, it’s your turn. What do you do with this rational, healthy, honest feedback? Will you choose to allow yourself to possibly believe it, or will you choose to ignore rationality and continue with an older neural pathway, with ANTs?

It sounds like you are being rational with this, and that is great. You are telling yourself that your friend is kind, a good person, just making a friendly joke, as friends do. Then, yes, that old neural pathway was struck upon - that’s okay. Competing neural pathways. We know this is how the brain works, and how it changes. We know this is the way we keep getting better, and you have chosen to be rational with this feeling of a setback. Thus, this provides you an opportunity to again choose your new neural pathway and strengthen the rationality.

This is an opportunity to tell these things to yourself out loud in Slow Talk - to tell your mind that you choose to believe in the rational, healthy way. Physically we all look a bit different, we all have different gaits. Even the same person has a different gait from day to day, from mood to mood. My father is always telling me to stand up straight, that I’m hunching over - that’s fine. He’s usually right because I don’t have the best posture. But that doesn’t mean anything about my self-worth, my value as a human being, my self-acceptance. It only means that I could stand up straighter if I choose.

Your post reminded me of something from Session 3 that Dr. Richards says in the audio:
"Social anxiety causes us to make a lot of thinking errors. To change things we need to correct these thinking mistakes, called cognitive distortions, and learn to think more rationally.
You can’t think too realistically about yourself if a little laughter throws you off.
The irrationality of this kind of thinking is one of the first things we’re going to notice, catch, and stop.
We need to catch irrational negative thinking and gradually turn it around into accurate, rational, logical thinking. No one method by itself can do all this. This is why we use many cognitive strategies to get our irrational thinking under control."

Like he said above, we can’t be too rationally healthy if we are so sensitive, if we can’t take a bit of teasing or laughing. If we fall apart at such moments, that points to self-rejection rather than self-acceptance. That points to irrational thinking about ourselves, our self-perception being distorted.

I think you already know this, and I think your post is good for showing us that you are staying rational with this, and doing the right thing for yourself here. I just wanted to emphasize this for others reading, too.


To all who left their opinion, many thanks. This made me very happy, I forgot about this post and I was surprised by your answers. Right now AMM’s thoughts flash through me. But now I understand that they are not as strong as before. And one part of myself I understand that if no one condemned me for my appearance, but on the contrary reacted positively, then maybe my beliefs about my embarrassment are not rational? I am glad that now I can at least admit the probability of this. And yes, I thought about this in the course of the day, that even if I were a hunchback, a limping person, this would not mean that I’m a bad person and this would not affect my self-esteem. After all, my gait does not say anything about me. People make judgments based on my actions and words. “judge” is loudly said, rather, they just think, and I do not think that people think about me so much. After all, I do not think so about others. I do not think when someone passes by or stands next to me at the bus stop. It makes me think.


Thank you so much for responding. Yes, I think I exaggerated everything from scratch. Judging did not pass, but it touched me, but maybe it’s my distorted thinking. I noticed that people often play a trick on each other and do not take offense. I took it When I passed a mirror in the street, I said to myself, “Imagine that the reflection that you see is another person, an ordinary passer-by, what would you think in that case.” After these words, I looked at myself in a completely different way. saw the same person as everyone else. about when I look at myself in the mirror, I pledge myself to be perfect, with a flat back and straight gait. But when I see the slightest “deviation from the ideal,” I start to seem to me a completely clumsy person. I think that this is just my perfectionism


Thanks for your reply. Your answer once again made me think. When I asked others about my appearance, everyone answered that I looked normal. It calms me. Sometimes I walk on the street quite calmly, not thinking about my walk. But it’s not often so far, but I’m working on it


Thank you for such a positive response😊. My friend just stated the fact. Simple said how I look without being judging me. He probably does not even pay attention to my gait when I’m next to him


This has been a good topic for all of you following along, for all doing the therapy - to see an example of what may happen to all of us, in a simple but common way we can all relate to, and then how we should be applying the therapy to it. “Simple” does NOT mean “simplistic”. I think this is a perfect example because of how common, real-world example that clearly shows how/what a setback can be and, again, if we are going to use this as a therapy opportunity (which we should) - what to do NOW to benefit from the situation.

So, what is a setback? We’re going along, doing the therapy, feeling better, perhaps not thinking much about social anxiety, just as Daulet was describing, when BOOM, something happens that surprises you by hitting on that social anxiety pathway, touching on that self-doubt, a shock to the system. And you don’t feel all that great because inside all of us there is that desire never to feel this again, maybe that expectation that you will never have to feel this again because of therapy. But you’re human - not a superhero - and, therefore, you WILL have something like this happen to you at some point, for sure. And you now have a choice.

You can decide to let the old depression set in, the old self-hatred, the old ANTs take over. Or you can decide to apply the therapy. It’s okay - it may take a moment or two, …or three, to first calm down. Then you can take a step back, seek out what’s rational here. Daulet did that by looking for outside evidence and rational feedback from us, from friends. He also did that by using his own rational mind to question the ANTs’ feelings. He thought about what he would think of others in such a situation, taking himself out of the picture, to try to help be more rational - which helps. He listened to our feedback with an open mind - not closed. He was willing to accept the possibility that maybe that automatic negative thought/feeling was untrue, he was allowing for this before, but then BOOM - setback… and he continues in the right direction by STILL allowing for the possibility that this setback feeling is a liar.

He went through the rational steps. I hope he had a rational talk with himself, out loud. He slowed down. He reaffirmed rationality. By doing all that, the daily therapy as well as using it NOW when you should be applying the therapy - he allows for the process to continue, he allows for a future that continues to overcome social anxiety, and a future where setbacks diminish also. So truly, setbacks are a sign of progress, and they are an opportunity to continue to move yourself in the best direction possible, if you choose to do so.

We all have this view of ourselves, one inside our heads, of how we look, how we behave, how we sound. Everyone has this - people with social anxiety at first will have a negative view, a skewed irrational view. Though, I think as humans we also hold onto a hope and a desire for a positive view. And people without social anxiety have a same view of what they look/sound/behave like, in their mind’s eye. When confronted with another perspective - perhaps a recording of one’s own voice, a photograph of oneself, a video of oneself, comments from others about your appearance/actions - that quite often results in that uncomfortable break with your own view of yourself - for all people. It’s not at all a strange thing to find such a situation unsettling. But for US, dealing with SOCIAL ANXIETY - we all know how crazy, irrational, and self-critical this can go if we allow it, and that is not the healthy path - not even rational. That’s why we are doing this therapy.

I’d guess most people in life don’t confront, or don’t have to confront this concept of untying perceived value with physical attributes. The world and our cultures pushes on us ideas and concepts of beauty and value, for better or worse, and there are natural reasons for this, too, not all sinister ones. It is not a requirement that people learn to get beyond their self-value based upon their appearance - not a requirement for living life. But on the extreme of a spectrum, such as when social anxiety has gotten us to more of an unhealthy extreme, if we hope to overcome social anxiety, then yes, we must consider this, we must be more rational. Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to learn and realize more about life than we would have otherwise. A chance to learn this lesson ealier than those who don’t have a reason or motivation for such thoughts. It’s a chance to become stronger in a way, free from such mental assumptions that bind the majority of people everywhere.

It has been noted with some surprise by many different group members here over the years that by doing this rational therapy, learning and training their brains to be more rational, it’s as if in some ways now they are stronger or more healthy than others without social anxiety - that such a thing is possible. Yes. Adversity can make you stronger. Taking the time to retrain your brain has afforded you a skill and a strength that you can use long past overcoming social anxiety.

Daulet, thanks for sharing and good job. A good example for us all how to apply therapy especially when setbacks occur.