*clop clop clop clop* You can hear many clinical psychologists coming, as a high proportion are women and they dress smartly including wearing heels. Very few other people on a ward wear heels. Even the men you can sometimes hear approaching with a firm confidence in their walk. Regardless of gender, when the clinical psychologist enters a room they carry such a calm confidence that they quickly “own” a room.
It was while reflecting on this, and my own lack of confidence, that I realised that I will never develop that kind of professional confidence carrying on as I am. As readers know, I have social anxiety in groups or crowds, particularly where I feel out of control. In a place like a pub I get very anxious. So I have learned to avoid places like this, and to turn my attention inwards when I can’t avoid them, using props like books or phones to “hide behind”.
This brings me back again to the idea of safe uncertainty which I promise I’ll get around to blogging about properly soon. In short safe uncertainty is a state where you are unsure of what to do, but have confidence in your ability to figure it out. This contrasts with safe certainty where you know exactly what you do, but in this state things become routine and you are no longer learning or developing. In some ways it reminds me of “positive risk taking” in the mental health support work I have done.
You don’t learn to drive by avoiding cars, and you don’t gain social confidence by avoiding people. I need to face situations that I would otherwise have avoided. Get myself to the pub with a group of friends. Maybe go to a gig that isn’t seated. These are, after all, all things that I used to be able to do. It’s not going to be easy of course, but it is something I think I need to do to develop.