anxiety · life · overthinking things · social anxiety

A case of self-sabotage 

Overthinking has ruined my day. It was only after getting out of the situation that I realized just how ridiculous my own thinking was.

I was late to an scheduled meeting with someone at a volunteer organization. The train had some serious delays today, and I am partially at fault for exacerbating my own lateness because I didn’t leave the house earlier in order to be on time for my appointment. When I knew I would be late, I typed a quick email to the woman I was supposed to meet with and informed her of my dilemma. I asked if we could reschedule for another day.

I expected her to agree and be fine with the arrangement, but instead she suggested that she could wait for me although I was late. The idea of walking on late was out of the question for me. If I came in late, even if the other person is ok with it, I would still feel like I am being unprofessional and rude by not being there on time. I also set a very high standard for myself, in that I always want to be punctual. If I’m not, then I stress out about how I will be perceived if I’m late, and this drives me to not even show up. This one perception was like an immovable stone in my mind that I just couldn’t remove.

After shooting emails back and forth, we settled on rescheduling for Monday at 2:30 pm. She seemed a little perturbed that I was choosing to waste my own travel time today (those were her exact words) and choosing to not just come in late to see her. I could have, but I was still resistant to the idea because of what I mentioned in the previous paragraph. I felt like I was in a whirlpool of my anxiety and doubts, and so I wasn’t truly hearing her when she said it would be all right if I came in late.

After this, I texted Annelise and asked her opinion on the situation. She was confused over why I would think being late automatically makes me look unprofessional. I see now this is a case in which I used my own negative perception and continued to assume being late was a bad thing. How do I get out of this cycle of self-sabotage?

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5 thoughts on “A case of self-sabotage 

  1. Hi Nat. I was reading through your blog posts and couldn’t help but relate to your social anxiety and Chinese parents (mine are Cantonese too!). I feel that a lot of my anxieties stemmed from how as much as I tried, I always felt like I wasn’t good enough for my parents’ expectations. Maybe you feel the same way too?

    As for the self-sabotage, I think you’re on the right track when catching yourself and realizing that you’re over thinking. A lot of the times as people with social anxiety,we have way more negative views of ourselves than we realize others do have on us :). (Though it can be easier said than done) what helps me a lot is realizing out of all the other’s opinions I cared about, I was the harshest judger of myself and for those opinions that didn’t matter, why care? What also has helped is actively redirecting my thoughts to something more positive (telling myself to stop thinking about something has been counterproductive, lol).

    I wish you the best with the social anxiety and I admire that you have the courage to blog about it (very articulately at that too :)).

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    1. Hey Michelle. Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m glad to hear you were able to overcome having constant negative thoughts about yourself. As for me, lol, that’s something I have to keep working on. It’s no easy thing for me to stop right away because I’ve lived for almost my entire life thinking this way. I have gotten to the point I can see there are “maybe” some good things about me, but I still only believe in myself half heartedly.

      At the heart of this issue, it’s quite scary to admit, but the reason why I overthink and assume every thing I do will somehow inadvertently upset someone around me is because I believe I’m unloveable. A recent self-help book on social anxiety taught me this. It’s uncomfortable to realize my self-destructive behavior is because I seem to have this unquenchable wish for validation from people, and even when I do get it, my mind is selective about thinking about the negative aspects of the given situation. An example might be a family member contemplates me, but I start thinking, “oh he only said that to flatter me” or “he only said that to make conversation”.

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      1. Aw, letting go of the want for external validation can be hard :(. Are you able to surround yourself with people who support and love you and limit or avoid any possible people you have toxic relationships with?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I believe I do have family that supports me, but I feel it’s still hard for me because I’m the one dealing with the social anxiety, not them. There are times when stuff happens that gives me anxiety to the point I’m standing there frozen on the street, and I don’t tell my family about it because I feel embarrassed about what exactly made me feel anxious. Like, there was a time when trying to simply walk into a McDonald’s to order food was terrifying inducing for me and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I can do it now, although I still feel some anxiety about it.

        I got a job in November at this one place because my mom pulled some strings for me. But after like 3 weeks, I voluntarily left because I couldn’t take the anxiety I was feeling while I was there. Ever since then, I feel super bad about throwing away the job opportunity, but I believe it was the right thing to do because the experience helped me to see that 1) I still need more time to deal with my social anxiety, but I don’t think I can do this and juggle a high pressure job at the same time, and 2) the career field of that job isn’t actually what I want in a future. I’ve always been someone who just went to school and studied some crap because I never knew what interested me in a career. Now I have to seriously think about what it is I want out of life and what sort of job would make me happy, in addition to being able to sustain myself from the job.

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      3. Feeling guilt over giving up a job opportunity is understandable, but I agree that it’s probably better to take more time to work on the anxiety. Gotta walk before you run, plus there will always be job opportunities waitin for you :).

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