Social Anxiety & Judging Others
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog by Melody Quinn. Welcome back, Melody! Melody is back today to share what I thought was an interesting take on social anxiety — if you have social anxiety, are you constantly judging others?]
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
I’ve been trying to visit as many Sunday School classes and plug into as many groups at my new church. It still feels new even though I’ve been going there for a year. My husband and I met with another group for the first time last month and just that one lesson sent my mind into a whirl.
The topic was bearing burdens, but over the course of the discussion, anxiety came front and center. The lesson leader was trying to explain how she deals with social anxiety and why it’s hard for her to share herself with others. I was slowly nodding my head in agreement to everything she said. Silent as usual.
But not everyone wanted to remain silent.
One of the other women in the group started firing questions at her until, finally, they stumbled upon something that really hit a nerve. “I’m just trying to understand. So you’re saying that you don’t open up to people because you assume that they’ll judge you, or they’re already judging you…so aren’t you doing the exact thing that you’re accusing the of? Aren’t you always judging others?”
The speaker paused. I saw several pairs of eyes around the room double in size, as I imagine mine did, and then there was a collective exhale. “Yeah, I guess, yeah. I do judge people.”
I felt that her admission was echoed silently by a half dozen other people.
It certainly stole the breath right out of my lungs. I know social anxiety intimately, and I know the feeling they were talking about. But I always chose to describe it with other words: suspicion, paranoia.
Not good thoughts to have, but only weaknesses.
With that one simple question, suddenly all of my excuses flew out of my mind. I saw so much judgment in myself, a form of sin that needs to be addressed. I’m talking about myself, of course, but I wonder how many other people have this problem. How do you address it?
I would say day by day, with a lot of prayer and growing self-restraint…and if you’re like me, those first prayers might be followed by an evaluation of every single moment that you might have reacted to others with judgment through your anxiety. Once you confess your “anxiety” about those past moment, put them behind you. Easier said than done, I know, but well worth the struggle. I pray that the same God who gives us the discernment in moments such as these keep us from stumbling over our mistakes, but give us the strength and the grace to keep growing and keep moving forward.
Melody Quinn is an associate editor for TouchPoint Press. She graduated from Stephen F. Austin in 2014 with a BA in English and Technical Writing. When she isn’t working, she enjoys reading YA and fantasy books, writing stories, cooking and baking for her husband, and playing with her guinea pig. She currently attends North Fort Worth Baptist Church. Her new blog is: anxietyfaithandgrace.wordpress.com