One thing I’ve noticed about folks with social phobia, is that they are so focused on how to get rid of social anxiety, or avoid experiencing it, so their lives start to shut down.
It happened to me, too.
That’s why I think it’s important to create a meaningful life, and really live as you want to, whatever that means for you.
So here’s a very POWERFUL exercise that is very similar to one that is part of the Dissolve Social Anxiety Home-Recovery Program, being released April 12th.
It’s been 5 months in the making, and I’m really excited to be releasing it soon, as there is nothing out there like it for social anxiety recovery.
This is the “Epitaph” Exercise…. and please excuse the morbidity… but I think the power of this exercise overrides that aspect.
THE EPITAPH EXERCISE
If you were to die tomorrow, what would be said about you in your epitaph? You will write out two epitaphs, each at least one page long, and longer than that if you’d like. Onto the first epitaph.
1) Social Anxiety Epitaph
Begin it with something like “Here lies David, a long-term sufferer of social anxiety, who struggled all his life with trying to overcome it”.
Then below that epitaph title, write out your life story based on your struggle with social anxiety, the focus on trying to beat it, to make it go away.
Where your life is only about the fight with social anxiety. To write the epitaph, use those negative thoughts and feelings as fuel for it.
Also what would people be saying at your funeral, if your life was only about the battle with social phobia?
2) Value-Based Life Epitaph
Now for the second epitaph, title it with something like “Here lies David…a caring, bold and adventurous man, who loved helping others, being social, and living a free and independent lifestyle…” (of course this is my version, you will have your own for what YOU VALUE).
Now focusing on the kind of life you want to lead, where social anxiety doesn’t rule you (though you still may experience it, at times, it isn’t the focus of your life anymore).
What would you be doing, if you didn’t feel limited by social anxiety?
How would you want to be remembered, what would people be saying about you?
What values do you represent everyday you wake up until the time you go to sleep?
What would you have done, what kind of people would you be with, what kind of person would you be, without social anxiety ruling your life, but instead you being in control of your life?
3) Compare the Epitaphs
Read over the stories and compare them. I even recommend reading them to yourself in a mirror.
How does each one make you feel, what are you thinking?
How is your breathing?
What sensations in your body are happening?
Really do your best to be aware – during and after reading each epitaph.
Use your imagination and push your limits, be bold! Especially for the 2nd part of the exercise.
There is no judgement here, this is all for exploration and learning.
Which life story do you want…and choose to live?
Would love to hear about your results of the exercise in the comments of this article…and enjoy your weekend!
P.S. To find out about personal coaching for social anxiety – click here.