Anxiety over social situations is a trained response to traumatic events. When you were a kid, your parents could have yelled at you to “shut up” if you were too chatty in public. Because you rely on your parents for survival, this can be quite distressing.
You reluctantly bury that chatty part of yourself and say it doesn’t matter to preserve your life and the affection of your parents. But it continues to do so.
What are the implications?
You begin to despise that chatty part of yourself. Various personality qualities are discouraged by social pressure from professors, classmates, friends, and others. Maybe you tried to express yourself, but your peers mocked you. You became afraid of revealing your true thoughts to others as a result of the rejection.
Social pressure is beneficial to society because it prevents people from causing irreparable turmoil. Individuals, on the other hand, may suffer for years as a result of suppressing undesirable features.
They begin to avoid social situations to maintain a minimum level of social approbation. When you avoid an interaction, though, you are reinforcing negative beliefs about your inadequacy.
How Can You Overcome Social Anxiety?
When faced with a social engagement, you have the option of avoiding it or engaging in it. You invest in bad attitudes and sentiments every time you choose to avoid people, which limits your comfort zone.
Consider how restrictive that comfort level will become after hundreds of such contacts are avoided, each time confirming the erroneous perception that others are frightening.
You may know this isn’t true logically, but it’s too late. You’ve already conditioned yourself to believe that people are far more dangerous than they are.
The only way to turn this around is to put money into the opposing behavior. When you’re tempted to avoid interaction, start conversing with others.
How to Overcome Your Social Anxiety
This can be difficult for persons who have spent their entire lives feeling crushed by social pressure and have no reason to believe in their abilities to confidently connect with others.
1. Acceptance of Oneself
The parts of yourself that you are ashamed of require just as much acceptance as the parts of yourself that are socially accepted. Accepting your anger does not necessitate becoming aggressive.
Recognition of knowledge does not imply that you must become an arrogant know-it-all, and acceptance simply means that you provide these aspects of yourself permission to exist.
The socially anxious are frequently fearful of being evaluated for suppressed personality traits. They don’t expect people to accept these characteristics since they don’t accept them themselves.
The socially anxious frequently worry that they won’t be able to impress others and gain their favor if they don’t know what to say. Instead, you might use all that lost energy to let your ideas flow in a fun, engaging dialogue.
2. Accept Your Fear and Do It Anyway
Whenever you have a thought like “I want to (speak to a cute stranger, go to a party, perform in front of people, etc.),” your fear reaction may be triggered.
This is a pivotal period in which you must choose between growing more confident or more socially constrained.
Each time you resist doing something you want to accomplish, you’re rewarding your fear and strengthening it. You’re praising yourself for not accomplishing what you truly desire.
You can begin to generate momentum to engage others instead of avoiding them by acknowledging this fear response rather than rejecting it. Feel the fear and go ahead and do something anyway.
Accept that the fear is unpleasant and try to stay in social situations for as long as feasible.
3. Do Not Pursue Confidence
If you want to gain confidence, you could believe that you need to know an encyclopedia of social skills to function without making unpleasant blunders. As encouraging as all of this effort appears to be, it just serves to confirm your lack of confidence.
When you claim you want confidence, you’re expressing you don’t have any.
Positive messages about pursuing happiness and confidence can become addictive for certain people. You won’t be concerned about behaving properly if you can let go of your drive to be confident and socially acceptable.
Don’t chase after the concept that you lack confidence; you’re already enough.
Accept that not everyone will adore and admire you equally. The truth is that no one can love you unconditionally. You also don’t need to welcome everyone into your life. We all have the right to oppose each other.
You are simply stopping others from getting to know you if you suppress your true thoughts and desires for social acceptance. There’s a chance that if people knew you, they wouldn’t like you. But it makes no difference. There will invariably be people with whom you can connect who adore what you have to offer.
This is what the phrase “simply be yourself” means. This suggestion is frequently criticized by the socially concerned as unrealistic. Self-assured people are naturally themselves.
They don’t continually filter every word and behavior to ensure that it is acceptable to everyone.
The socially anxious, on the other hand, have formed a tendency of concealing their true selves beneath a thicket of social conditioning and poor habits.