Negative beliefs that drive social anxiety disorder tend to affirm the idea of a person’s inadequacy. It’s not so much that you’re thinking negatively about yourself, it’s that you believe yourself to be incapable of functioning normally in social situations, regardless of reality.
Some common thoughts are “I am weird,” “I’m difficult to talk to,” “I’m too much,” “I can’t be normal.” The list could, and does go on for many people.
The key thing to recognize about these beliefs is that they are negative and definitive. They can usually be summed up in short, definitive phrases. For example, if someone asked you why you’re nervous to go to a party, you might say “I can’t have fun at parties.”
You might also say “because I’m bad at being social.” If we were to look at these things with an objective eye, we’d see that the statements we’re making can’t possibly be true. Negative beliefs succinctly put a stamp on issues and feelings that are far too complex to be summed up in that way.
There are surely times when you’ve had good conversations, enjoyed yourself in a group, and felt good about yourself afterward. The difficulty is that automatic negative beliefs are sticky and can eclipse those positive experiences, bringing you right back to feeling as though you’re inadequate.
Does this sound like something that you experience?