Suppose you feel like you have a quirky personality. In that case, the thought of being your authentic self can be anxiety-provoking around unfamiliar people. Many of my clients at The Anxiety Treatment Center of West Michigan who deal with social anxiety also feel like they have quirky/weird personalities. The fear of embarrassment or humiliation often causes them to hide the parts of their personality they think would not be accepted by others.
The mental mistake we make
When we are around others, the thoughts and feelings we experience greatly influence how we feel about ourselves. This is why alcohol works so well with social anxiety due to its ability to inhibit our thoughts and feelings. The biggest mental mistake we make when it comes to our anxiety about appearing quirky around others is that we are highly susceptible to believing that our thoughts and feelings represent reality. In other words, we feel that the thought and feelings we have around others represent how others think of us. With the average person having between 35-50 thoughts per minute, it is nearly impossible to predict how someone is perceiving you at any given moment. The odds of your feelings and thoughts being right about how others are perceiving you are improbable.
The mistake we make with our behaviors
The primary behavioral mistake we make when it comes to our anxiety about being judged for our quirky personality is trying to hide the parts of our quirkiness we feel would be judged the harshest. When we do this, we reinforce that our thoughts and feelings about impeding judgment are true.
Let’s Deal with Anxiety: Dealing with the anxiety of a quirky personality in 4 steps
Remind yourself that you have little to no chance of predicting how someone may be perceiving your personality.
If you feel judged or have thoughts that others are judging you, instead of fighting these thoughts and feelings, simply ask yourself if your thoughts and emotions have the power to predict how others view you.
Being yourself is about being authentic. Instead of hiding your personality, focus on finding natural moments where you can express your personality.
It is perfectly ok to sit on the sidelines and be an observer. However, when a social moment shifts to align with your personality, remind yourself of tips #1 & #2 and jump into the moment with both feet and all that is your beautiful, quirky, personality!