Social anxiety is the feeling of discomfort when around other people. It’s when you feel uncomfortable in your own skin, have many insecurities and doubt and aren’t confident.
Many people are afraid of even trying to approach someone new, others can’t have a normal conversation because their mind and body literally block in public.
As a result of social anxiety, many people can’t have new friends, don’t communicate easily, don’t meet a good partner and start a healthy relationship. Not only that, but they also live in constant disappointment because of their inability to be open and social.
Luckily, I haven’t had the chance to feel that bad. But I believe we all suffer from social anxiety one way or another.
I’ve been too shy in the past and thus haven’t met many people who could have now been an important part of my life. I’ve been afraid to ask a question or express my opinion and thus missed out on many opportunities.
But now I’m absolutely alright with being in public. I can talk to anyone and approach new people all the time. I can easily make new friends, share what’s on my mind and form deep relationships.
If you’ve read other posts on the blog, you probably know I’m all about personal and spiritual growth. I believe that every change happens first on the inside, before we see results in real life.
And that’s why I think it’s better to get clear about some things about yourself, to contemplate, ask yourself important questions and find the answers, and eventually develop a powerful mindset.
As a result, you become super confident, productive, purpose-oriented, happy and successful. And these are things we’re all after in life.
So if you’re wondering how to overcome social anxiety on your own, here are some things to know:
1. Other people don’t think about you as much as you imagine.
One of the reasons why we’re so anxious in public is because we care too much about what others think of us.
We start imagining them talking behind our back, laughing at our actions and words, or else. And we prefer to avoid any contact.
But life is about people and communication too. We can’t live it to the fullest if we don’t meet new ones and learn things from them, if we don’t start relationships, if we don’t spend time with like-minded people, and if we don’t challenge ourselves by socializing with new groups of people.
So one thing I realized that helped me overcome shyness and beat social phobia, is that 99% of the time when I think people are saying something about me, it’s not true.
Others, and the world in general, don’t really think about me. And in this case that’s great.
Just like I don’t think and care about the people I see around me all the time, so it is the other way around.
So if you’re experiencing social anxiety every now and then, think about that and understand it with your whole being.
People have plenty of issues on their own, and don’t really have the time to think about what you’ve done wrong or whether or not you look good and confident today.
The moment you realize that, you’re letting go of the fear and awkwardness that go together with communicating with others. And you’re free to say what’s on your mind, form healthy relationships and meet cool individuals who’ll like you for who you are.
2. You don’t need anyone else’s approval but your own.
One of the worst things a person can do with his life is to dedicate it to answering other people’s expectations.
Society has created a path for us and if we lead astray (meaning if we define our passions and purpose and do what we like the way we like it), we’re being judged. And if we don’t learn to be okay with that, we suffer and can’t move forward.
Social anxiety is also a result of our fear of being criticized, of our constant desire to be approved and to even receive compliments.
But there are more than 7 billion people out there. And although I usually say that impossible just means you haven’t tried enough times, in this case I’d say it – it’s impossible to make all of them like you.
Even if you do everything by the book, people will still say stuff about you and will criticize your actions. It’s inevitable. It’s a part of life, and if you learn how to live with it, it will actually help you build character.
People will judge you no matter what. So the best you can do is live life on your own terms and become someone you’re proud of.
Once you’re confident with what you do and who you are, I don’t see anything that would stop you from being more social and open in front of anyone you meet.
3. Rejection is actually good.
Another main reason for social phobia is being afraid of rejection. Many people are so insecure, that hearing another no would just ruin them.
But we hear no everywhere. And if you don’t, it means you’re not taking much action and trying many things.
Failure comes before success, and no comes before yes. That’s a great thing actually. Because failing at something means it’s not the right way to do it, and you should go try something else. Just like hearing no from someone (in the form of rejection) means he’s not the right person for you. Which just means you can move onto the next person you’ll meet on your journey and see if he’s the right one for you.
Your partner may leave you, your boss may fire you, someone on Facebook may unfriend you.
After I’ve realized the things I write about in this post, these 3 are the same for me. It’s all about how good you feel about yourself. And if you know you’re doing the right thing, then you can just say one big Thank you to the person who left/fired/unfriended you. Because this way they left your life, showed you they’re not the right fit for you, and made room for someone or something better. And that’s without your having to lift a finger.
So what do you think about social anxiety? How do you feel about it and what other ways do you know of to overcome it?
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
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