Fear of Writing in Public
Do you shake or feel nervous when signing your name in public? Do you have a fear of Writing in Public?
So you or someone you love has this problem with writing or signing things when others are watching; a fear of writing in public or nervous about signing in front of others. Perhaps it causes you to avoid certain opportunities or maybe it wastes your time because of the lengths you go to in order to avoid signing in public. Perhaps it’s the only time you make up a lie (so you don’t have to admit the real reason why you are trying to get out of signing something). Don’t despair. You can overcome your fear of writing in public.
First, you need to come to grips with the fact that this is a form of social anxiety. It won’t do you any good to pretend that you don’t care what people think about you. You do, and that’s a part of your genetic makeup. You may privately wish you didn’t care, but you do, so stop making that your focus. Accept it so you can move on and deal with this problem.
Next, you need to learn to talk to yourself. I mean, you need to start a new internal dialogue (mental thoughts that you use to coach yourself through something difficult). Your self-talk needs to be, “I don’t care if they think I’m psychotic, I will never back down from signing in public again.” This self talk will support the development of a new way of thinking. With this new way of thinking you will start to think of each situation in which you back away from signing or writing as a step toward the hungry jaws of anxiety (which is really true because anxiety gets worse the more you try to avoid or control it). You will think of shaking hands and messy signatures as progress. Your new self-talk must be firm and convincing to support this new way of looking at it. You must make that difficult mental leap and choose from this day forward to never cower from anxiety again. Your anxiety is about what people will think when they see your hand shake or when they see your messy writing. You will see huge leaps of progress with diminishing shaking ONLY when you begin to purposefully expose yourself to these situations while correcting your old thought pattern (which was, “try to hide it! Try to avoid letting them see!”) and replacing the old thoughts with new thoughts, (“I’m going to shake even harder this time and I’m going to make sure she’s watching so that I start to reverse the cycle of fear!). If you can’t bring yourself to do it, then you are choosing to let fear run your life. Get angry at that fear and then go to the grocery store three times in one hour and buy something worth two dollars and write a check in front of the cashier while she waits. Talk to yourself once you are out in the car again and congratulate yourself for having faced down the anxiety and say to yourself, “It’s okay that she saw me shaking. She probably didn’t even care or think much about it. But I’m going to think about this day for the rest of my life. It’s the day I turned to fight back against the anxiety!”