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Old 08-09-2015, 02:35 PM
Dr. Joe Dr. Joe is offline
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Default Social Anxiety

With social anxiety you are not simply dealing with other people's opinions, more importantly, you are dealing with your own negative projections of insecurity. If you think carefully about this, you will see that it's the rare instance that someone else actually "attacks" us. More likely it's our anticipation of someone doing something of a rejecting nature (also, keep in mind the value of self-fulfilling prophecy, i.e., when we act defensively, we change the dynamic of what "might have" taken place in a social exchange). The key is self acceptance. Social anxiety is not simply a behavioral habit, your brain (as with any habit) has become patterned (wired) according to this fear response You must interrupt this resistant habit and begin to "rewire" you and your brain. (This is why consistent effort over time is important; you must not be set back by setbacks!). This can only be accomplished by consistent, persistent efforts not to yield to insecurity-driven, faulty perceptions (i.e., fictions). It's a matter of digging your heels in and insisting on objective facts vs. insecurity driven fears of rejection, etc. A fear of rejection, for example, is a projection into the future (a future that does not exist), by fearing rejection you have just set yourself up for anxiety, you have projected a fiction, and you have reinforced the long standing habit of social rejection/fear. You must realize that because you anticipate getting anxious or being rejected doesn't mean this is "reality," it's merely your knee-jerk reflex of you yielding to the fog of insecurity. It's a habit and habits, all habits, can be broken. But, in order to break a habit, you have to at the very least have a grasp of what is rational and objective vs. what is irrational and fictional.
The key is to realize two things,

1.) A good deal of social insecurity/anxiety begins with projections of insecurity, the "what ifs." Whenever challenged with social doubts, fears or negatives, a conscious intention to be more "present" is just the ticket for breaking through anxious or depressive thinking, which, if left unchecked, will continue to erode your self-trust and confidence. For example, let's say you're beginning to get agitated about a social challenge that's going to take place in a couple of weeks. You catch yourself and realize that your anticipatory tendency is to "be" in the future with the "what-ifs" of this challenge. In this case, you bring yourself back into the present and begin to pay more complete attention to what's going on around you. If, for example, you're driving your car, drive with full awareness and attention. If you're sitting on a deck looking at the clouds, pay more attention, see the shapes, the different color gradations in the formations, etc., in other words, you become more external rather than internalómore connected to your real world (as opposed to the future world in you mind). Bottom line: although it's fine to try to live more in the moment, you don't have to become compulsive about this. Being more present will become, and feel, more natural as you practice. Just don't insist on becoming more Buddha-like with your efforts. This is an evolution not a revolution.

2.) It is important to both change destructive thinking while also transcending these thoughts. Insecurity-driven thinking typically becomes a long standing habit that requires a realignment of our reaction to these thoughts (i.e., separating facts from fictions, etc.). Once we begin to scrutinize these thoughts we become aware of options, we can, for example, willfully neutralize these thoughts (YES you can!!!) and then let them go (i.e., transcending Insecurity-driven thinking). There is never a valid reason to become victimized by doubts, fears or negatives. (This is where Self-Coaching's Self-Talk can help out.) Bottom line: you should always work to let go of congested, insecure thinking while becoming more reactive to life (i.e., letting life unfold naturally and spontaneously. You do this when you begin to live in the present without trying to protect yourself by anticipating chaos that may or may not occur. It's all about letting go of control. Controlling life is insecurity's excuse for why you go on and on ruminating and worrying. Controlling life according to insecurity's projections is never the answer and always the problem.

Take a look at the following videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zqt7IE6Dmg0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyQoeRIQvhE

Yours,
Dr. Joe

Disclaimer: The diagnosis of clinical anxiety or depressive disorders requires a physician or other qualified mental health professional. The information provided is intended for informational purposes only. Please understand that the opinions shared with you are meant to be general reference information, and are not intended as a diagnosis or substitute for counseling with your physician or other qualified mental health professional.

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