Looking for Social Anxiety Aphorisms
January 24, 2014 8:14 AM   Subscribe

I am making a small website that will offer a list of one- or two-line phrases that will help people cope with day to day minor social anxieties and the feeling that everyone hates them. I've dug through the questions here and didn't quite find what I am looking for, though please feel free to point out past questions if I have missed them. Could you help me generate a list of aphorisms or quotations (from yourself, from well known people or from CBT/feeling good type stuff) that would be good pithy reminders to help people detach themselves from negative thoughts?

I'm looking for short responses only, not longer thought process type things, presuming that people already know about therapy/exercise/meditation, along the lines of

1) Comforting facts that prove that everybody has social anxiety and nobody is hated by everyone
2) Uplifting quotes about dealing with the false perception that everybody loathes you personally

Thanks so much everyone.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
on the more uplifting side:
"this too shall pass"

personally useful for me:
"fuck 'em if they can't take a joke"
(It doesn't fit within the plain language of the words, but for me this covers that other people have to be able to roll with the punches, too, and it isn't my job to insulate them from every annoyance or inconvenience.)
posted by mercredi at 8:20 AM on January 24, 2014

Most people are not thinking about you, so the little things that make you paralyzed by anxiety are often things that nobody else even perceives.

It's not a quote, but it's something I remind myself whenever I feel especially socially anxious.
posted by hought20 at 8:23 AM on January 24, 2014

My sister has one that is SO awesome that we've joked about having it tattooed on our foreheads: "Everyone is the center of their own self-defeating universe".
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:32 AM on January 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

"home is where the hurt is."

"if all the people in the world who didn't like me formed a straight line, it would stretch over the horizon. if i can't see new people joining the end of the line, why should i care about them?"

"you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose."

"if i cared that much about what people think of me, i'd never be able to get out of bed in the morning."

"i am a child of the universe, and because the universe wasn't married when i was conceived, i am also a bastard of the universe."

"you are not my problem, but you should take care that i don't become your problem."

"i'm ok, you're fucked up."
posted by bruce at 8:39 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

When I come across a person who is in a bad mood and seems to be taking it out on me I tell myself "I am not in that", meaning, they were in a bad mood when I encountered them, it isn't about me.
posted by vignettist at 8:47 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I was once explaining to a therapist my anxiety over being judged by my classmates during a presentation and she bluntly said, "You are not that important. Nobody is that important. They're all thinking about their own shit."

I might have wanted that said more elegantly, but she was right.
posted by corey flood at 8:58 AM on January 24, 2014 [11 favorites]

"Don't compare your insides to other people's outsides."
posted by Wordwoman at 8:58 AM on January 24, 2014 [9 favorites]

Here are two that really resonate with me:

"Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity."- Richard Feynman

"I think it is very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person" - Oscar Wilde
posted by dotgirl at 9:01 AM on January 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

It isn't especially pithy or quotable, but here's a realization that's helped for me: you can be the least popular person in the room and still have everyone there be glad you showed up.

Replace "popular" with "outgoing," "graceful," "smooth," "impressive" or whatever and it still works.
posted by this is a thing at 9:45 AM on January 24, 2014

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.” - Barnard M. Baruch. (I always thought it was Dr. Suess who first said this, but the consensus on Google seems to be no, it was BMB.)
posted by merejane at 10:04 AM on January 24, 2014

When I get stuck in my head, I try to remember to eat my rice and wash my bowl. Practicing mindfulness in everyday tasks greatly mutes my monkey mind.
posted by workerant at 10:17 AM on January 24, 2014

I always found this, from Winnie the Pooh, very comforting when I suffered from anxiety:

"Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"

"Supposing it didn't," said Pooh after careful thought.

Piglet was comforted by this.
posted by Dorothea_in_Rome at 11:05 AM on January 24, 2014 [10 favorites]

From Bob Hope (via Patton Oswalt): “When I was twenty, I worried what everything thought of me. When I turned forty, I didn’t care what anyone thought of me. And then I made it to sixty, and I realized no one was ever thinking of me.”
posted by Chenko at 12:23 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Q: What is the lowest ranked medical school graduate called? A: Doctor.

A man is a very small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders. ~Lord Dunsany

Things do change -- if you let them. ~ Patricia Maclachlan

If you don't take a chance, you don't stand a chance. ~ Sharyn Wolf

You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself.~ Ethel Barrymore

Sanity is a cozy lie. ~ Susan Sontag

Let me listen to me and not to them.~ Gertrude Stein
posted by OrangeDisk at 12:59 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt:

“You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
posted by sm1tten at 1:41 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

“Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.”― Andre Dubus
posted by parkerjackson at 3:09 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Looks like there are a few attributions for this, but I first heard it from RuPaul:

What other people think of me is none of my business.
posted by Signed Sealed Delivered at 4:22 PM on January 24, 2014

Nothing to add, but please share the site when it's up. I'd really like to see it.

I personally use- "Breathe through the pain."
posted by Draccy at 4:45 PM on January 24, 2014

The 12 irrational beliefs Albert Ellis wrote about:

1. It is an absolute necessity to have love and approval from others almost all the time.
2. You must be unfailingly competent and perfect in all you undertake.
3. People who harm you or commit misdeeds are evil, wicked, and villainous individuals, and you should severely blame, damn, and punish them.
4. It is horrible, terrible, or catastrophic when things do not go the way you want them to go.
5. External events cause most human misery, and you have little ability to control your feelings or to rid yourself of depression, hostility, and similar feelings.
6. You will find it easier to avoid facing many of life's difficulties and responsibilities than to undertake some rewarding form of self self-discipline.
7. If something seems dangerous or fearsome, you must become preoccupied with it and upset about it.
8. Your past remains all-important, and just because something once strongly influenced your life, it has to keep determining your feelings and behavior today.
9. People and things should turn out better than they do, and you have to view it as awful and horrible if you do not quickly find good solutions to life's problems.
10. You can achieve happiness by inertia and inaction or by passively and uncommitedly "Enjoying yourself."
11. You must have a high degree of order or certainty to feel comfortable.
12. To give yourself a global rating as a human, and your general worth and self-acceptance depend upon the goodness of your performance and the degree that people approve of you.
posted by qsysopr at 4:55 PM on January 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

I often joke that I need "Nobody ever died of awkwardness" tattooed on the insides of my eyelids.
posted by cmyk at 6:01 AM on January 25, 2014 [6 favorites]

yes, the irrational beliefs above. each one is great when you can point to it and really consider why its so so important in your brain, and that maybe it's important only in your brain.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 7:02 PM on January 25, 2014

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