Perhaps the worst part of social anxiety for me was the feeling of missing out and seeing opportunities pass me by. I went through various phases in my journey through social anxiety.
The first was ignorance. I had no idea that what was going on with me was even a thing. It was the way I felt and it had just been there seemingly for as long as I could remember and as such seemed perfectly normal to me. It was almost my comfort blanket of discomfort.
The second phase was the next stage of ignorance. At some point I became aware of social anxiety being a thing that some suffered with and some didn’t. Now, even though I recognised there were many who didn’t feel this way I just (as many do) assumed this was me and that there was no option to change it. Actually, to conclude there was no option of changing it would assume I had considered whether or not I could. I simply hadn’t. In the same way I hadn’t pondered how I might learn to sprout wings and fly I simply assumed being free of anxiety in social and public situations was not out there as a consideration so I didn’t even entertain the idea long enough to reject it.
The third phase was frustration. As soon as I learnt about hypnosis I realised that changing the way we think was an option. I saw others making radical changes in their patterns of thought and I started to look at myself and what I wanted to improve upon. Social anxiety was the first on the list of things I wanted to change. The resulting frustration was caused by the fact that as a hypnotee (the one BEING hypnotised) I was absolutely rubbish! Hypnosis as a remedy for my undesired patterns of thought simply didn’t seem to be an option.
Stage 4 of my journey was enlightenment. This is the moment when I figured out how my mind was working and started to communicate with it in a meaningful way. I couldn’t have someone snap their fingers and ‘fix me’ so I had to find my own solution. I formulated a way (based on what I knew of hypnosis) to communicate directly with my subconscious mind. It was this communication and understanding that helped me eradicate my social anxiety and get control of my own responses.
The main part of the change process for me was to understand why my mind was creating this response and be able to ‘talk it down’ from the way it was currently responding. In the video attached you will see three of the most important things I kept reminding myself when I was going through the process of change. These are things that are not revelatory (you probably know all these already) yet when they are delivered to your subconscious mind, they make difference.
There are of course many other things insights I could provide and the list could extend far into double figures, but for now, here’s my top three things to remind yourself when you are experiencing feelings of social anxiety..
Other people’s opinions of you don’t count. Whilst a lot of our social anxiety is based purely on the anticipation of what others might think of us, it’s important to remember that nobody else’s opinion of you counts. Only you know your full story and as such only you can decide what is best for you or about you. If someone judges you harshly and you agree, then that’s ok. They havn’t told you anything you didn’t already know and as such cannott change any plans you have to improve and change that thing about you. If they judge you harshly and you disagree…guess who is wrong. You are the expert on you, and nobody has the ability to damage your own self esteem without you first accepting their opinion of you as more accurate than yours. This means accepting the opinion of the novice (them) over the expert (you). You would;t do this in any other aspect of your life.
There are things that are out of your control. Don’t waste your time and energy focussing on the things that are out of your control, such as the opinions of others or what challenges life might throw at you in certain situations. The only thing you have complete control over is you; your own responses and reactions. Focus on these things and disregard any concern over things that you can’t control. This will ease anxiety because you will be focussing on things you CAN control. Amplifying and magnifying our awareness on the things we are in control of ultimately leads to us feeling in control of our life.
You’re doing your best. Don’t beat yourself up over the failures of the day and don’t focus on how far short you fell of your target. Praise yourself for what you achieved and put your focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Most of the time your best will be good enough, and even when it isn’t don’t beat yourself up over it. We are all a work in progress and we are all trying to get there. Remind yourself that you are doing great. It will help.
Social anxiety is more common than you realise and many are struggling with it daily. There is a way to come through it to the other side and it involves being positive with yourself and knowing that you are growing and evolving every day. Update your thoughts. Upgrade your feelings. You are awesome. You’ve got this.
Get the book (out July 17th) for more important information and ways of relieving anxiety.
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