I decided a while ago that I was tired of being scared of conversation. It is something I became aware of several years ago, that I go into almost every conversation in an attempt to make the conversation short and painless. I make myself as agreeable and inoffensive as possible and often apologize or explain my reasonings even before questions come up. I do this both speaking and writing and frankly, I’m tired of it.
I’m tired of how exhausted it makes me worry all the time about being wrong. I’m tired of not connecting with people who may be great because I start out defensive or with one foot out the door. And I’m also tired of not saying what I actually want to say because it’s habit (and thus easier) to just agree.
I started working on this in my written messages, mostly because the time delay makes them easier to write, look at, and then take out all the soft words, the apologizing, and the explanations. Every time I’ve done it, I worry about how it’s going to come across and what the other person is going to think. I haven’t gotten any push back yet. Just shorter, to the point messages.
I am still struggling with this in my speaking. Even when I rehearse what I’m going to say before I open my mouth, I tend to shift into apologetic/explanation mode without realizing. Then I admonish myself after the conversation is over, not that I can change anything at that point.
It’s hard to change habitual behavior like this, even with intention. But I know how much better I’ve gotten with my social anxiety in the past four years, so I figure if I start working on this now, I’ll see results in another four years. My ultimate goal is to be in an uncomfortable conversation and be able to stop, take a breath giving myself time to think, and then respond the way I actually want to.
Anyone else working on improving themselves in some way and want to share their progress and/or struggles?