By Jaime L. Hill

My social anxiety thrives on the need to know what others “truly” think of me as well as comparing myself to everyone I encounter. My anxiety will tell me that I am inferior to others and I don’t deserve to be liked or even loved by anyone else. It is an awful feeling to judge yourself so harshly and feel judged just as or even more severely.

I have this horrible feeling most of my life and finally I decided that I had to find a way to cope better with my social phobia. I first began by being more aware of my thoughts when I am around people or thinking about people in general.

And this is what I found: I think about “people” entirely too much. I have spent most of my life analyzing other’s thoughts, words, and actions. Finally, I realized that I needed to “stay in my own lane” and run my race the best I could. Too many times I have stumbled and fell because I was so busy wandering what the person beside me was or was not thinking.

Now, I have a mantra each time I want to veer off into someone else ’s track I say to myself “stay in your lane, Jaime, just stay in your lane”. It is such a simple statement but it does help to dissipate the anxiety for a while at least.

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