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Podcast Episode #2: The First Step From Anxious to Confident

 

Hayley Stanton
Welcome to episode 2 of the Quiet Connections podcast. I’m Hayley.

Stacie Clark
And I’m Stacie, and today, we’ll be exploring how we may have developed anxiety in social situations. We want to get into this topic early on, because we think it’s so important to understand. The majority of us can’t pinpoint an event that first triggered those feelings of social anxiety and avoidance within us. This can lead us to believing that it’s just who we are and we can feel like we’re broken or think that we’re the only one struggling with this. And quite often we feel like we need fixing. For myself and Hayley, we definitely came from this place.

Hayley Stanton
Yep, I actually used to call myself defective. And I just wanted to hide myself away because I felt like there was really something deeply wrong with me. And what we’re talking about today is often a missing puzzle piece, but it’s a key piece that you need right at the start of your journey. Because it’s the foundation of the belief that you can change; that you have the ability to create change for yourself, and you don’t need someone else to come along to rescue you or fix you. Which is exactly what I thought I needed. I felt like I needed a magic pill or a genie to grant me a wish, or I actually believed that I needed brain surgery so that I could function like a ‘normal’ human being and I came to realise that none of that was true. So let’s dive right in and discover why how you are is not actually who you are.

Stacie Clark
So, what would change for you if you knew that your fearful, anxious, avoidant or people pleasing thoughts, feelings and behaviours aren’t actually who you are? To me it meant, when I first started learning about these things and really truly recognising them, that I was able to actually start doing the things that scared me. I was able to start speaking publicly, expressing myself, to start asking for what I needed. And within that space that was where I was able to start being able to make those important changes for myself.

So previously like I mentioned in the last episode, I thought that anxiety was just who I was, that was part of my identity. And because of that, there was absolutely nothing that I could do to change it. That’s what I believed about myself that’s, you know what I thought the rest of my life is going to be like. And that can be quite challenging for us because it can diminishes a sense of hope almost, that things can change. The truth is that these thoughts, feelings and behaviours are not an inherent part of us, even though it may feel this way for you at the moment. They’re just ways that we have learned how to respond to certain situations in life. And these reactions and responses are most likely for you at the moment, running on autopilot and running from your unconscious mind, and again to understand that how we are isn’t who we are is often the very first thing that we need to be able to start pulling those pieces apart.

Hayley Stanton
So I think this was a hugely important step for me, because I used to really beat myself up for being this quieter person. This anxious person, the shy person. And I really kept myself in this like, shy box and I used to think ‘ooh shy people don’t do things like this’ and, and so for example, even when I did have an answer I couldn’t put my hand up in class because I was like people wouldn’t expect that of me.

So, I used to really try to conform to this label that I had been given when I was younger. And I’d really clung on to that. But as I started to see that the way that I was showing up in the world, the way that I felt the anxiety, the fear, the avoidant behaviours. And I started to see that that wasn’t really who I was, it was just something that I had learned to do as a child. It gave me that permission to stop beating myself up about how I was showing up.

Stacie Clark
Yeah, that made a huge difference for me as well, and being able to see myself from the perspective of a child, acting in that way or having learned how to respond in that way. meant that I was able to be so much more Kinder towards myself because if I saw another child, someone who perhaps wasn’t me. But another child who was just afraid, and was fearful of other people, being able to see her and noticing she was afraid to speak up. My response to that wouldn’t be to criticise them, or to dismiss them or invalidate their experiences, it would be to support them and hold their hand and tell them that it’s okay.

Hayley Stanton
Yeah. And isn’t it fascinating that our approach is to start criticising ourselves and beating ourselves up. And what we’ve learned from, from all the research on self compassion is that actually when you approach yourself with compassion. Then, you’re much more likely to achieve what you want to achieve, you’re much more likely to learn and grow. And it’s far more productive than self criticism. So, when we start being compassionate to ourselves, we really help us along this path to growth and getting to, to be the person we want to be.

So we’ve both mentioned the way that we used to see ourselves as this anxious person or the shy person and I imagine that you probably see yourself similarly. The thing is that we know our thoughts are not the same as reality, because all the information that gets taken in through our senses is filtered in our mind, based on our own beliefs, our past experiences, and our expectations. So if I’m given the label that I’m shy as a child, I’m going to endlessly see all these moments where I’m shy and where I can’t do things and it’s just going to keep confirming itself to me.

Stacie Clark
And then also we show up in ways that do confirm that because our beliefs just want to prove themselves right so yeah learning that kind of blew my mind. I was showing up in ways that just reinforce the things I didn’t like about myself.

Hayley Stanton
Yeah that’s hard to learn, isn’t it? There’s an upcoming episode with the wonderful Vicky Otter where we dig a lot more into our thinking. So be sure to look out for that. But basically what it means is that we’re automatically and unconsciously deleting tonnes of information and we make loads of assumptions. So the story that comes out the other side of all of this isn’t necessarily that reflective of reality, it’s reflective of your mind more than anything else.

So what’s happening here is that you’re actually creating the world that you see and experience with your own mind. However, what we’ve really come to learn is that before we create the world around us with our minds society creates our minds. We pick up messages from the people around us as we grow up that shape our minds and our nervous system and set us up with go-to patterns of thought, behaviour and beliefs, which for most of us, includes a number that just aren’t really helpful.

Stacie Clark
Yeah. So one of those beliefs that I had, which really wasn’t helpful for me was believing that I was useless. And that I was incapable of carrying out very simple day to day activities or tasks. And this belief, kind of drove this idea that I had to get everything right the first time, the very first time. If I couldn’t do something correct or right the first time, then I couldn’t do it at all. And quite often this then resulted in me just not even trying and not having a go and giving up at that very first hurdle and it’s something that I see still exists today and I’m still working on it that when something feels hard, or when something feels challenging, my go to response is to want to give up. And rather than you know, just continue and see it as a learning process, that little voice inside my head says, just stop just, just give up. And what I’ve been able to recognise over the last few years have started to explore where this came from, is that when I was a child, and I was doing something, if, if my mum saw me struggling my mum’s response to that was ‘give it here’, and take it off of me and do it for me, as opposed to supporting me to work through that challenge or encouraging me to keep trying and to keep having a go, so internally there’s this expectation that if I can’t do something like the first time, one, someone’s either going to take it away from me, and I’m going to feel some shame around that because that’s gonna prove that I’m as incapable and as useless as that part of me is believes I am. And secondly, there’s also that part of me that wants to give it away because I’m finding it hard and I’ve not learned how to work through those challenging moments.

So, it’s useful to point out that we often see ourselves as an anxious person, or as a perfectionist, or as a people pleaser. But we often don’t actually like these things about ourselves. But what we’re not recognising is that these are just our go to patterns of behaviour. Based on the ways in which we have learned how to respond to stress. A leading researcher, both myself and Hayley love is Dr Gabor Mate. We love his work because he looks at the impact of how early experiences shape our minds, shape our nervous systems and shape the way in which we are showing up in the world, separating those differences between who we truly are and how we’re responding. So he says, what we call a personality is often a jumble of genuine traits and adopted coping styles that do not reflect our true self at all, but the loss of it. So what he’s saying here is that, on one hand, we’ve got our genuine self, our authentic self; the traits and the qualities that make us who we truly are. And on some level you will know what those aspects are within yourself, they may be a little bit hidden right now or you may feel like you can’t quite reach them or that they’re out of sight almost or you may even doubt that they exist, but deep down you know that those bits are still there and they are still within you. And on the other hand, we have all these adopted coping styles, all these strategies that we’ve learned are the things that we describe as being or making us an anxious person or protectionist or a people pleaser. The behaviours that are driven by those fears of what are other people are going to think…

Hayley Stanton
How does the world want me to be.

Stacie Clark
Yes. So to separate those strategies from who we really are first we have to understand how we learn them in the first pace.

Hayley Stanton
Well, I think that was a really good example that you gave about your mother Stacie, and it demonstrates just how easily these messages are passed from one generation to the next. And my experience was very much the same, and I spoke in that first episode about my mum saying to my little nephew that he should be colouring in a face a different colour because this isn’t the colour of people’s faces and, and the outcome of that was a few weeks later, I was around visiting him for his birthday, and he called me to help him with some colouring and he wanted me to tell him which colour went where. And that just felt heartbreaking. And I could just see that that’s where my own perfectionism had come from as well and I can see that in my mum.

And I think the reality is that we’re growing up in a culture where so many of the adults around us are stressed out, overworked, financially struggling, experiencing their own mental health challenges whether that be diagnosed or otherwise; they’re carrying unprocessed grief, suppressing their own self and their feelings; they’re not able to deal with feeling vulnerable and having tough conversations and so they’ve got all their armour on. Or they might be detached, or emotionally unavailable, and often seeking some kind of peace fulfilment and freedom from their own discomfort in ways that aren’t necessarily healthy for them, or for us as their children.

Stacie Clark
Yeah, I just like to pop in here also that from what I can see now from my mum’s like response to me, I believe that she was, you know, trying to act from a place of like compassion of being ‘let me help you’ but it just came across in just like an unhelpful way for a child that didn’t help me learn how to actually work through challenges but I think from her perspective it’s almost like ‘my child is struggling I need to fix this for her; I need to make sure that she’s not struggling anymore’ but also from a place of my mum’s own personal challenges and struggles with having to get things right and things needing to be good enough, as well and, you know, that process of the old struggles that that my mum experiences just being acted out and expressed on to me.

Hayley Stanton
Yeah, and I can certainly see similar patterns in me and my mum, where it’s like, if I can’t do it perfectly then I’m not going to do it at all. And I guess the parenting children in a way that actually promotes confidence and promotes self acceptance and encourages healthy connections and boundaries, is, is really challenging when you’re wrestling with your own unprocessed issues or packing them down.

Stacie Clark
Because, again, I think a lot of our like take our generation and our parents generation, for example, that was the message that they received. You know, it’s not okay it’s talking about these things, you know, it’s weakness. Yeah. The only way to survive in this world is to push all of that away. And that’s been such a strong message within our society and within our culture for such a long time now. And in my personal opinion I feel like we’re now kind of reaching this point where we’re starting to realise that that’s not the best approach anymore. And everything is bubbling up to the surface and it’s time to change.

Hayley Stanton
Absolutely. It really is. The problem is that we just can’t ignore these emotions if we’re packing them down. When we try to ignore them, the more easily triggered we are, the more shut down and detached we might be to try and cope and the more we feel the need to numb those uncomfortable feelings. I think essentially it’s just hard to show up and be present with a child when this is all bubbling away under the surface right.

Stacie Clark
Absolutely, Absolutely. I know, I didn’t have children myself personally but I know, having been around, young children and especially a few years ago before I had really done much work on myself, how uncomfortable that experience could be for me, I can remember one situation which I feel not not very proud of telling my nephew to shut up, because he was excited about something, and was getting really loud. As a child naturally does that when they’re excited, and because I was not in a very good place that day and I wasn’t feeling myself, so to speak. And I was feeling quite overwhelmed and what I wanted was like some silence and some quiet and there’s my nephew being, you know his excited self because something good was happening. And my response to that was shut up. Be quiet.

And even as I said it back then I kind of like heard the echoes of like my own childhood. Oh my god, I can’t believe I just said that when I know that when I was a child and when that happened to me my response was to shut down, and to just go outside and take myself away feel like I’m unwanted feel like the people don’t want me in their presence, and again, like I’m being an inconvenience to them.

Hayley Stanton
So you make a really good point there Stacie and from my own experience, I was also told to be quiet and don’t be an inconvenience and give my parents what they wanted to make them happy. And I think that for a lot of our parents they don’t necessarily have, or a lot of just adults in society in general, we we’ve never really learned the skills to regulate our own emotions, and so we try to control our environment, including the children in the environment, in order for us to feel comfortable. Instead of doing that inner work.

When a child doesn’t meet the expectations of the adults around them, be that realistic for their developmental age or not, then they can really experience that criticism and ridicule or shaming or shouting or slapping, or even disengagement and avoidance. And all of those strategies can be really harmful to a child. But the problem is that they are embedded into our culture as parenting techniques, and I can actually remember being told that I am loved but not liked as a child whenever my mum felt emotionally triggered by my behaviour. And I can see that it’s a tactic to get me as a child to comply with whatever she wanted me to be doing and usually that’s probably being, you know, be quiet, don’t be inconvenient. But, you know, seemingly small insignificant messages like this really quickly add up for a young person, and can help to form that belief that we’re unlikable and unlovable, and so that it’s risky to show who we really are. Because we’ve been rejected so many times before.

Stacie Clark
And I don’t know if it was the same for you as well but those messages I also received when I was at school as well, in primary school. And from teachers, you know, if I just remember a moment. I was in reception when I was very very young, and we were sat on the floor and the teacher was playing Postman Pat on the piano. And we were supposed to be singing along, and stuff like that. And I was really enjoying myself. And so I started laughing. And the teacher turned stopped playing the piano at turned to me and told me to behave myself and to stop laughing! But I was having such a good time.

Hayley Stanton
I think it’s really common to get these messages from our teachers as well, who are dealing with the same things that our parents are really and they’ve got their own challenges going on in the background as well and you know maybe they’re a bit sad, not in the best place, feeling a bit overwhelmed, not having a good day. Or maybe they just can’t even see that the child is having a good time. Sometimes we lose touch of our ability to put ourselves in a child’s shoes and see what they need and interpret their experience.

Stacie Clark
And again, like all the adults, they’re also all coming from the same places of the things that they learned when they were children, the beliefs that that they developed from the messages that they received, so you know it’s it’s being passed down. Yeah, so, from the perspective of the parent or from just the adults in general that are around us. They don’t usually have bad intentions, they probably are experiencing anxiety, themselves, and you know don’t have those regulation skills, as you’ve already mentioned, so everything does become about controlling as opposed to like working. And I guarantee, there will be plenty of people who are listening to this right now who are going to have issues around feeling like they’ve been controlled throughout their life and that’s certainly something that is a big trigger for me. And I can very easily easily perceive a person’s behaviour as ‘oh my god they’re trying to control me’ when that’s not actually true at all. But you know, that’s my internal representation that’s how I can interpret things sometimes after having that sense of, you know, having my, my behaviour and stuff controlled as a child as opposed to being worked with.

So, on the other side of you know all this interaction is that is a huge threat to our well being as children. And because as children we depend on those adults around us for survival, we will mould ourselves into whatever we believe the adults around us want us to be. What we believe that they need us to be. So, what happens in these situations is that we surrender our own sense of authenticity, we disconnect from who we really are. In order to fit in with who we believe everyone else around us needs us to be.

Hayley Stanton
I think it’s worth pausing for a moment here because I really want to acknowledge how difficult it can be to hear this. And this is especially important to hear if you’re someone experiencing social anxiety, but who considers yourself to have had a happy childhood, too. So, this is what I struggled with when I was learning about this. I love my parents and I grew up to be extremely protective of my mother, and sure there were things in my childhood that were upsetting. You know, my parents divorced, and there was death with grandparents and things. But my childhood wasn’t that bad. I mean I couldn’t say that I was abused, I had a roof over my head, food and clothes. So I thought, it can’t have been my childhood that had affected me. And I found it far easier for me to choose to believe that there was something wrong with me, than to accept that I could have been affected by my parents. And I also didn’t want to blame them for the way that I was because I knew that they struggled to, and they did the best that they could, and really who am I to say that that wasn’t enough.

But then I learned about Adverse Childhood Experiences. Adverse childhood experiences are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood, and they tend to affect about three in five people. The reason that I say potentially traumatic is because according to Dr Gabor Matem trauma isn’t about what happens to you, it’s about what happens inside you, as a result of an external event. So it’s not about the event itself.

Stacie Clark
Yeah, and I remember that being such an important piece of information, like when I first learned that changed the way in which I viewed my past experiences, instead of searching for that external situation or circumstance that I could use to validate the way in which I felt. Instead, it allowed me to see things from the perspective of what was actually going on, and recognising that it was how I felt about certain situations, and the response that I had internally that in any moment where I felt a sense of shame that that was when the trauma was occurring. And when I start looking at my life from that perspective I can see all these small moments of how I came to learn how to respond in the way in which I have been showing up in in the world.

Hayley Stanton
And did you feel like you had somebody that you could talk to when you felt that way?

Stacie Clark
No! And again, this is what Gabor Mate says all the time isn’t it, like if you didn’t have that connection with a supportive adult. In, to be able to work through those those challenging moments or work through those painful feelings that, Then we store them and actually I was watching a webinar the other day, and someone mentioned the fact that like that trauma gets stored in our bodies with the intention to come back to me later when we can actually process it. So if we’re children and we experienced those overwhelming experience like overwhelming feelings or painful feelings. And we don’t have that supportive adult, connected adult to work through them with. As children, we often can’t process those feelings by ourselves. So, our bodies hold on to them with the intention of at some point, we’re going to process this and we’re going to work through it because it doesn’t just disappear. It’s still there.

So, what we often find is that we’re storing all of this within us. And at some point, we need to come back to it and that could be years and years later, like with me and you Hayley for example or with any of you who are listening right now this is probably the point that you’re at where it’s like, now is the time to start processing.

Hayley Stanton
What you’re saying there Stacie really links to the work of Dr Nadine Burke Harris who is another amazing researcher into adverse childhood experiences, and she’s written a book called Deepest Well. She’s uncovered how some of us have protective factors which mean that trauma doesn’t actually manifest inside of us. But many of us, we don’t feel that, we don’t have that safe and empathetic person to work through those difficult feelings and experiences with. So we tend to keep the pain to ourselves, and maybe convince ourselves that we must be deserving of it. And when I look back on my life, that feels so true for me.

Stacie Clark
As coaches, we often speak with people who describe having this happy childhood with no known experience that can trigger the socially anxious responses that they have. And then the more we work together and the more we start to like dig into how they’re feeling how they’re responding and where is that coming from, they start to share events and and parenting patterns that would be classed as adverse childhood experiences. Because the reality is that an adverse childhood experience can be as common as your parents divorcing or as simple as feeling that you weren’t loved or thought of as important. It could be that your family didn’t seem to support or feel close to each other,it may have been that sense of emotional unavailability within the household. So, it’s easy to see how our parents own issues, and the adults around us, how their physical and emotional availability, how their own stress responses can really impact a child here.

Our parents actions or lack of interaction are more about where they are in their lives than it is about us as children. But when we are that young and when we are children, our understanding of the world and the way in which they were able to interpret the world at that age, is that we usually are we naturally make everything about us. We seem to believe that they’re responding to us in that way because it’s, who we are, it’s because of us and it’s not anything else that could be be going on.

Hayley Stanton
I want to make it really clear that this isn’t about placing blame on our parents for the way that we are right now. They’re in the middle of this domino effect too. So it’s often passed down from one generation to the next as intergenerational trauma. And it’s repeated until somebody moves into healing. It didn’t start with you, and it didn’t start with your parents, so there’s no one to blame here. It’s simply a cycle that so many of us have found ourselves in. For example, I know that my mum’s mum grew up in a children’s home. And you can imagine what traumas, she must have experienced there and how that would be passed on in her own parenting styles.

Stacie Clark
And my, my dad was adopted. So that has its own impacts as well. My mum’s parents divorced. My granddad was in a war and he was a prisoner of war for two years so I definitely know that like, just having watched him at the end of his life and there was trauma, even just around that, that situation even though he was 20 at that time. But there was trauma there that he hadn’t processed and haven’t dealt with because that all kind of came out then. So, yeah,

Hayley Stanton
Yeah, yeah, we might feel like we have a very happy, safe, stable life when you look at it from the outside, but there’s all of this stuff that is going on under the surface that you wouldn’t necessarily pick up on unless you were in that experience and, and even then it’s hard to put your finger on it.

Stacie Clark
And, again, like when I learn about that cycle of intergenerational trauma. Again, that was such a helpful thing for me to recognise and and understand because, like you said when we remove that blame as well, it helps us to heal ourselves because we’re not looking around wanting to like to point fingers at people or holding on to the anger and the resentment that we might feel it’s okay like literally no one here is at fault, it’s, it’s a cycle, it’s the, you know, it’s collective trauma almost as well as like society is holding on to. We continuously sharing these messages passing these messages along. And yeah, like you said, at some point, like we have to step out of that cycle, step off of that carousel and that happens when the person steps in to healing.

Hayley Stanton
I think it’s important for us to remember as we go through this journey that we don’t know how to do better until we learn about it. And just as we look at our parents as well we need to remember that, you know, they might not feel capable of changing until they see themselves in a different light. And the same for you. Or you might feel like you’re stuck in your ways, until you get the right kind of support. So let’s look at what happens when we do experience trauma in the form of adverse childhood experiences and how this relates to social anxiety now.

Stacie Clark
Okay, so when, when we experience trauma, we’re adapting from the inside out, our nervous system learns to bypass our natural social engagement system. And it leans towards either a fight response, which might look like anger and defensiveness or a flight response, which would be running away or distracting ourselves. It could also lead towards a freeze response, which is when we shut down and perhaps isolate and a fawn response, which would look like us, people pleasing and putting other people first, and ourselves last. And these become our nervous systems and new go-to settings. So when we have a dysregulated stress response, we’re acting and thinking from a place of pain and fear. We might not even know how we’re feeling or what our bodies are telling us that we need, because quite often we’ve been disconnected from those gut instincts and from our body’s natural communication. So we become less flexible in our responses, and we might start to act more defensively.

Hayley Stanton
I’ve seen that shame plays a huge role in this too. And this is something that I noticed in myself, and in everyone that I have coached who has experienced social anxiety too. And I know that the research heavily links feelings of shame to traumatic experiences. So I want to share, Brene Brown’s definition of shame here because her work has really helped me to connect the dots. Brene is a renowned shame and vulnerability researcher who began exploring what gets in the way of connection. And her definition of shame that emerged from her research is that shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed, and therefore, unworthy of love, and belonging. And I feel like this really gets to the core of the issue.

It doesn’t matter if you describe yourself as socially anxious or not good enough, underneath it, we see this one common theme crop up time and time again. One of the most interesting things from Brene’s research is that when we are experiencing feelings of shame. We tend to default to using certain behaviours, as self protective shame shields. And in her books she’s introduced us to researcher, Linda hartling, who shares three strategies of disconnection. And I’m going to list them now so have a think about which strategies, you might use primarily.

So the first one is moving away, which might look like withdrawing, hiding, silencing ourselves, and keeping secrets. The second one is moving towards, which may look like seeking to appease and please others and to be seen as perfect. And the third one is moving away, trying to gain power over others through aggression, blaming and shaming.

Stacie Clark
Yeah, so, listening to those, I can definitely see that moving away was my primary strategy; withdrawing and hiding, keeping myself quiet. And actually, keeping secrets as a child was a big thing. If I, if I had done something that I believed I would get in trouble for, I would very much cover all traces of evidence, thinking don’t say a word and hopefully no one will realise. That usually wasn’t the case. Again withdrawing is like the big thing that I would respond with, and actually I used to receive a lot of messages and stuff from my friends being like, Hello, are you hiding from the world again and it was like crap. Yes.

Hayley Stanton
Yeah, and that moving away makes sense because we know that social anxiety is characterised by anxiety and avoidance. And that’s triggered by an intense fear of negative criticism in performance and social interaction situations. And we know that whenever possible, when we feel socially anxious we’ll attempt to avoid our most feared situations. And whenever avoidance isn’t it possible, it becomes more about enduring the situation with intense panic or distress. And you might feel pressure to show up perfectly or to please other people.

Stacie Clark
You might be moving towards as a secondary response when you simply can’t move away. We may start off with using those moving away strategies of wanting to withdraw wanting to hide ourselves keep ourselves safe and protected. But there are many situations in life where actually, we feel like we can’t respond in that way, like going to work or going to school so we have to show up, physically, at least. And so, when we enter those situations, we, it’s very easy for us to then start adopting a different strategy, which, for most of us who are experiencing social anxiety, will be to be moving towards wanting to please other people, and to make sure we’re not putting ourselves in those positions of a threat of rejection or people not liking us, or being judged.

Hayley Stanton
Absolutely. So, the theory of social anxiety is firstly growing up we’re collecting all of these messages that tell us that we’re not good enough, and we start to feel ashamed of who we are. Then, our deepest belief becomes that we’re flawed and unworthy. And this means that we’re expecting to be criticised and rejected. We know that any perceived threat of rejection sets off our internal panic alarms and puts us into survival mode. And this includes just our expectation of rejection. And then to self protect we adopt these shame shields as a way to try and fit in, and hide our flaws. And we’ve adapted to respond like this because as human beings, we’re wired for connection. It’s been key to our survival as a species, and that connection, our attachment to our parents is essential to our survival as a child too.

Stacie Clark
The problem is that whenever we’re using these shame shields, they’re actually moving us further away from our own authenticity. So, we’re hiding who we truly are. And this is what trauma really is, it’s a disconnection from yourself. And if you listen to episode one then you would have heard both myself and Hayley talking about how we felt disconnected from ourselves. And this is what we were describing. It’s like we’re rejecting ourselves now, so that somebody else doesn’t get a chance to do that later.

That wasn’t the end of our story. And it’s not the end of yours. You may have learned to respond with social anxiety, due to things that were outside of your control as a child, but you do not have to continue with the same old patterns. Now, there’s no magic pill or quick fix that somebody else can give to you. However, if you can learn something like you learnt all those adaptive survival strategy behaviours, then you can unlearn them too. Because as human beings were amazing at doing that. So once you realise that how you’re seeing the world, and yourself and how you’re showing up isn’t fixed. You have the ability to question those old unhelpful beliefs thoughts and behaviours that are holding you back. And to practice choosing to respond in new ways that do work for you instead. So this means saying that you’re the one person who can now begin to recognise those old automatic patterns that are no longer serving you and then start to do the work to change them so that you can show up as your true authentic self, and how empowering is that?

Hayley Stanton
It absolutely is. And I’d like to offer you this final empowering thought from Gabor Mate. Gabor tells us it is not the world, not what’s outside of us, but we hold inside the traps us. We may not be responsible for the world that created our minds, but we can take responsibility for the mind with which we create our world. And I think that’s a gentle reminder for us to acknowledge the hand that we’ve been dealt and see it for what it is. And also focus on what we can do; to get really curious about the way that you think and feel and behave; and the things that you believe, and to look at what else could be true. What other choices do you have in the way that you show up? What do you need to learn and understand? What tools and techniques could help you?

We’re going to be offering some new insights and tips throughout this series, to help you collect some of those puzzle pieces that you might not have yet. For those of you that would like to download an ebook detailing what we’ve covered in today’s podcast, you can get it from www.quietconnections.co.uk/free-gifts.

Stacie Clark
Join us again soon for Episode Three, where I’ll be talking with writing and wellbeing workshop facilitator, Emily Wheeler, who is a beautiful quiet soul herself, and we have a lovely chat about how writing can benefit our well being, we talk about comfort zone stretches and also why you don’t have to apologise for being quiet. In the meantime, please stay connected.

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