Beating Myself Up

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 13:55 -- tim henry

In Dr. Richards' audio series, "Overcoming Social Anxiety: Step by Step" one of the therapy handouts focuses on how patients with social anxiety beat themselves up 
over situations that they thought could have gone better.  Did I make a fool of myself?  Did I look silly?  Did I make too many hand gestures?  Did I say the wrong thing?  We call this type of thinking "ANTs" thinking because it's an automatic negative thought.  Beating yourself up makes you feel down and depressed, which just makes it easier to stay in a bad mood, continuing to blame yourself for something that probably never happened.  Beating ourselves up is incredibly harmful to our recovery because beating ourselves up only makes us focus on the negative and does not allow for us to think rationally.  It only makes us worse.  It never helps us get better.  In addition, if you don't stop the cycle of beating yourself up, you are reinforcing all of the negative, irrational beliefs and thoughts that feed your social anxiety.  By catching and stopping yourself when you start to beat yourself up, you are ensuring that your negative self-talk won't have the power over you that it once had.  You will be able to see that even if something bad happened, you can move forward, instead of backward, and that maybe, just possibly, next time could be better.  

By T.H.