We already discussed what is social anxiety, what are its property and where does it come from. Now, it is important to understand why you shouldn’t leave everything “as is” and why it makes sense to fight this scourge. Thank goodness there are options, methods, and techniques for dealing with it. And here is a spoiler alert – we will share them with you.
You know yourself quite well – since you’ve lived together for so many years. ? And, overall, you got used to many of your own peculiarities. You could say, you learned to play by your internal rules. If a yellow signal comes up, you know that something is not safe, and you need to be careful. If there is a red signal with a sound alarm – let’s run, quickly! It seems like everything is clear and even familiar.
The trouble is that alarm signals are often triggered in people with high social anxiety in those life situations where they could achieve tremendous success and improve their lives. That is, if they don’t run away. And that is the key point.
Social anxiety is not lethal – that’s true. But it tremendously lowers the quality of life. It puts limitations on life and prevents free movement. As if you have handcuffs or a weight on your feet. Can you walk? You could. But will you be able to go far? That is doubtful.
Leana feels uncomfortable at large group gatherings. For her, large means more than two people. Therefore, she never attends corporate moral events. At one point, the company needed to send someone on a business trip to Paris to manage European market. From the point of view of professionalism, Leana was the best fit. But the boss chose Marsha, who was more outgoing and friendly. She was charming and sociable. He decided that these qualities are important for success, since there were some informal meetings with clients on the agenda. The boss has seen Marsha interacting with people at a restaurant or in a club, but he has never seen Leana in such a setting.
It’s been half a year already since Kegan decided to talk to his boss about a raise. In his company, the employee needs to provide arguments and justifications before the raise is granted. Even though Kegan has more than a dozen arguments (he completed a few awesome projects), he doesn’t have enough resolve to have this conversation. Meanwhile, smooth talking Dan already got his raise, even though he is less competent.
Melany is a great young woman. Too bad, many male friends don’t know about it, because she is almost always silent. She feels embarrassed to support a conversation, even though she has a lot to contribute. The prospect of making acquaintances horrifies her. Melany really wants to have a relationship, but she remains single.
Social anxiety makes people feel smaller and insignificant: lay low, blend in, stay quiet. It makes them as if non-existent. But in order to be successful, we need at least to get … noticed. Moreover, if you are invisible, it is very easy to walk over you – in all senses!
Friends forget about Neeha’s birthday, people cut in front of her in line at a grocery store, and no controversial question is ever resolved in her favor. At work, almost nobody uses her name: they address her condescendingly “dear”. It is easy to ignore Neeha – she never asserts her rights, never mentions that she doesn’t like being called “dear”. Only at home, she shares with her family how unpleasant it is for her.
If social anxiety is your issue, then probably you often avoid the situations that cause you discomfort. Paradoxically, by doing this, you are making it worse. The less experience you have establishing social contacts, the more anxiety you have about various negative consequences. Accordingly, if you are trying to cope with high anxiety by avoiding social contacts, then your social skills do not develop in any way. On the contrary, more and more situations provoke anxiety.
But that’s not all. When a person has an extremely small network of social connections, very few friends, and no love relationships that they would like to have, professional sphere suffers too. Their social anxiety with its million limitations is responsible for this state. The person’s self-esteem inevitably decreases. One might even say the situation with self-assessment becomes almost catastrophic.
Have you met a person who is shy, unsure, anxious and at the same time happy with themselves? We haven’t either. Low self-esteem causes depressed mood, pessimism about the future, feeling of desperation and hopelessness. It happens because it seems that nothing will ever change…
But this is not all! In order to complete this vicious cycle, you need one more element. Low and unstable self-esteem increases manifold anxiety and fear of failure in the situation of social contact. And here you have it – a full cycle that is familiar to any person who has social anxiety. “I have low self-esteem. Therefore, I worry during social interactions. I avoid social interactions because I have low self-esteem and I am just scared.”
Living in society is an acquired skill. Having experience plays a key role here. Therefore, we added new series of articles in our “Psychosutra” section called “Social Anxiety”. We will tell you about the exercises you can use to start pulling yourself out of “uncommunicative zone”.
If you feel certain resistance related to the fact that you need to get out of this hole, it may mean that you need to sit there for whatever reason. Stop, stop kicking. ? We don’t want to say that you are enjoying it there. This is the proverbial comfort zone that would be more correctly named the “habit zone”. It may hold you tight and not allow you to change. Therefore, you need to turn on your conscious intention to change your life from “habitual” to “amazing”. And this is a worthy goal, isn’t it?