I made a fool of myself at work

Postby Frenchgirl21 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:19 am

Hi everyone, this is my first time posting in one of these and I am desperate for some advice. I have always been a pretty shy person even as a kid. I lack confidence and self esteem even in situations that should feel completely natural like talking to family members at a party. I am never one to talk a lot bc I get nervous in social situations, especially when I have to give a presentation. I absolutely hate being the center of attention.

I work at a special needs school with kids who have problem behaviors. Yesterday we had a meeting with 15 people from my department team including my boss. We all had to go around the room and talk briefly about our students. Very simple and easy - things they liked, things that tick them off, and how you deal with their behaviors. For the two hours before it was my turn I couldn't even pay attention to what my coworkers were saying bc I was so nervous. There's no reason for me to be nervous bc the people I work with are honestly the funniest, coolest people I've ever worked with and everyone was laughing during this meeting. Very friendly environment. But when it was my turn to talk my face got beat red (I know this bc it felt very warm), my mouth was very dry, voice shaky and weak, kept looking down, and my head was shaking so much it probably looked like I was convulsing. I tried to steady my head by resting my hand against it but that probably made it look even worse. I was so nervous that I couldn't even concentrate on what I was saying! I was repeating words and not not finishing thoughts. I have never felt so embarrassed and ashamed in my entire life. I look up to these people, especially my boss and now I feel like I've made a complete fool of myself and everyone thinks I am an idiot.

This is just one of many instances where I've been terrified of public speaking. Normally I would prepare but this wasn't made known until the last minute. I have always struggled with public speaking and you would think that it would get better but just keeps on getting worse and worse. I honestly want to quit my job right now. The idea of seeing my coworkers again scares the sh** out of me. I know that none of them really care bc people are always sympathetic to someone like me but I am still mortified.

Can anyone recommend me to a therapist? I seriously think I need anxiety medication it is that bad.
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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:17 pm

You don't need medication. Pills are not the solution. Pills are a convenient, no effort way out that will feel good short term and absolutely debilitate you long term.

Join a speaking club. Practice, practice, practice. It takes effort, it is not fun, it causes anxiety to join the club and participate. It sucks and requires commitment, but that is your solution.
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Postby Levant » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:44 am

Relax. My advice to you is to relax and try to become more comfortable in your own skin. I would buy a full length mirror and practice what I'm going to say in advance. It really helped me a lot when i first started. I was exactly like you, it would keep me up at night just thinking about a :30 presentation. And please don't quite your job, you would never forgive yourself for chickening out lol.
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Postby Frenchgirl21 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:10 am

Thank you. Yea I know that would be ridiculous. I would never actually quit my job although I sure did want to after that meeting.
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Postby Levant » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:14 am

I feel your pain
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Postby laureat » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:32 am

the expectations you have to do perfect is keeping you on pressure, you have to give oneself more freedom,

you have to dare to make mistakes so you can move forwards

Do not run away from problems:

there can be situations that running away may be a good idea but you cant run away from home, school, job,

do not fear your own emotions

you have to dare to experience all your emotions :

I would not like to die without experincing my own emotions what can possible happen: i want to know how they all feel

Proud / Embarased
Confident / insecure /
Loved / abandoned
Loyality / betrayal
Hate / forgiveness
Peace / Panic
Excitement / depression
Fear / shocked /

you have to experience all

You should not quit a job because you dont dare to experience your own emotions, you should go there with a desire and curiosity to see how it feels like , to experience it

How does it feel to make a mistake
How does it feel embarasment
How far can it go
How red can it make me
Does that last forever? How much can it last?

It is your own emotions, it is your own energy
Less energy means less emotions

You dont want less energy , less emotions
You want more and more emotions

Do not fear your own power, its not a curse, its a blessing

The moment you try to prevent a feeling you somehow messing with its beauty
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Postby Daryna » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:50 am

Social anxiety can be challenging. But usually we are never get so red, as we imagine, never say anything so "stupid" things as we might think.

Maybe it will sound a bit strange, but good tactic is to turn your thoughts around and think about what your boss and your colleagues might like about you professionally.

And also, why would people like someone who is shy?

You admit that your anxiety prevented you from listenning to other people, but it is also a good thing to shift your focus from yourself to what is happening around you, to what other people are saying. It usually reduces anxiety.
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Postby PranasanaD » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:46 pm

HI, I understand. I am, on the other hand, what people see as confident, outspoken and still can get all the feelings/sensations/emotions that you felt when you started getting red at times. It is natural, it is totally normal and yet we hate it. You can do something about it. Question is, are you bothered enough to want to make a change! You can join clubs like Toastmaster where you can practice speaking in front of people who have all joined for the same reason as you. I know the thought is terrifying. Since I've joined them, I don't have a problem with going red or shaking hands or freezing! I know what to do when it happens...Going to places like this, you'll notice you're the same as everyone else to some degree or another. Hope this helps.
P.s. I am not on a commission! :) -wish I was!
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Postby Ivan_J » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:28 pm

Levant wrote:I would buy a full length mirror and practice what I'm going to say in advance..

I'm lucky enough to have one and it has been a great help in seeing overall presentation skills like body language and expression.
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Postby J Derrington » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:25 am

You are afraid and nervous because of beliefs that were put there as a child. Letting go of these fears is a process that takes time but it can be done.

1. Understand where this fear comes from
2. Take action

1. This fear comes from your underlying beliefs. Even though you might not be aware of it, you probably unconsciously believe that you have to be perfect for others to like you, that if you say something wrong people will think that you are stupid and will think less of you, that you are fundamentally imperfect (so you have to be constantly monitoring yourself, doing something so that this doesn't shine through. You don't think that you can simply relax and still be ok)... These beliefs were acquired as you were growing up, in school, through your parents, your peers, ... As a child you misinterpret people's criticism and anger towards you as an indication that you are imperfect just by being yourself. These beliefs are unconscious, like you say, you don't know why you are nervous. They are stored in you in the form of this nervousness/fear you feel.

2. You can only let go of these beliefs by taking action. You have to receive experiences where you will feel this nervousness, that meeting you had was a great opportunity to experience the nervousness and to tell yourself that it is just your body trying to protect you from being rejected by your peers. Don't beat yourself up for it. It is there, don't resist it, understand it. It is your body telling you to act so people don't see what you are scared they will see. I recommend that you seek out your opportunities, so that you can rewrite your unconscious opinion of yourself, and to see that you are OK just by being yourself, and that people are welcoming of you as you are. You will come to see things for how they are, and not like your inner fear sees them as. :D
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