Social anxiety disorder often comes from deep seated feelings of shame or guilt. These are often stored in your subconscious mind and are usually irrational fears that most people do not get.
Be sure to realise that just because you are suffering from anxiety because of these feelings does not make you a bad person! You are just a very sensitive person even if you haven’t realised that yet.
This sensitivity can be helpful in many areas of your life, yet a side effect of it can lead to thinking about things, and having fears, that are unnecessary and lead to anxiety.
Here’s how to free yourself of any guilt or shame that you might be feeling and learn how to be compassionate with yourself…
Self-compassion is an important part of the social anxiety recovery process. It’s virtually impossible to overcome SA, if you are not mentally showing yourself support; which you wouldn’t be if shame or guilt existed, about having SAD.
So, here’s some social anxiety disorder self help – some reasons to let go of any guilt or shame you might have.
Our brains have not evolved as fast as we would have hoped
Historically, man was a hunter, but also hunted. Attacks on humans by large wild animals were not unusual. If a mountain lion jumped out on a pre-historic guy, the anxiety response would kick in, to give him every chance possible of survival.
The world has changed so that we’re mostly safe from wild animals now, but the human physiology has stayed the same. You can’t blame yourself for having a brain that, in many ways, still hasn’t moved on from prehistoric times when many more threats existed.
It is perfectly OK to value what others think of you. You’ve been hardwired to care
There’s a growing notion in the self help world that you should try not to care what others think. Forget it – it’s wrong. You always will care what others think, and you can’t help it.
It’s natural to care what other people think of you, for evolutionary reasons:
A. We rely on others for quality of life
People will only help us if they like us. Think of the people who cook for you, or look after your health.
If people don’t like us, it can impact our quality of life in a negative way. Thus, it matters what people think of us.
B. Years ago, being liked or disliked could have been the difference between life and death
In caveman times, if the alpha male of your pack didn’t like you, he could choose not to feed you. Without his approval, you could starve. So it’s natural to care what people think, because the structure of our brains hasn’t changed much since caveman times.
C. Fear of loneliness means that it matters what people think of us
Loneliness is debilitating – and we all know
it. Thus, it does matter
what people think of us because if they don’t like us, we’re going to
be lonely – and that’s emotionally destroying.
Give yourself a break over caring what others may think
It’s hardwired into us to care – and that should settle the issue for you. You care what others think, and always will – just like the rest of us do.
The problem is that you probably obsess over whether people like you or not.
Obsessing over how well liked we are is an understandable but useless habit. It’s possible to care but not obsess, and that’s what I want to help you do.
The anxious negative thoughts are supposed to protect you
Quit blaming yourself for thinking negatively about social events – yet again it’s a case of the protection mechanism in you trying to ensure your safety. That protection mechanism isn’t your fault.
Part of the anxiety response involves you planning out the worst possible scenario in your head. You’re planning for the worst – to ensure your safety. It’s a natural human response to perceived danger.
When you decide to take a proactive approach, this habitual negative thinking will start to back off.
So, give yourself a break with regards to having negative thoughts. Your mind is doing what any sane person’s mind would do if he/she felt under threat.
Your desire for stability makes it difficult to accept new positive thoughts & beliefs
Don’t beat yourself up if you find it hard to really believe new positive stuff about yourself. There’s a good reason that it’s so difficult.
As a human being, you crave stability in all sorts of ways. One of those ways is a desire for a settled sense of exactly who you are – even if that identity is negative…
It feels safe to keep established negative views of yourself. To contrast that, it feels risky and unsafe to challenge those beliefs. This is why you might feel some resistance from yourself when trying social anxiety disorder self treatment like positive affirmations.
That seeking of safety, stability even, is a natural part of human existence – it is in all of us. If it’s unconditionally a part of you, then it makes no sense to blame yourself for it’s effects. Again, if you can, just give yourself a break – this ain’t your fault.
Human perfection is not real!
Society’s “perfect people”, like TV characters and magazine models, are fake representations of people. They’re false images, designed to attract your money.
Learning to see through this “fakeness” allows you to understand that we all have our imperfections.
We all have flaws, and we all, very often, mess things up. There’s no need for blame, since we all have our shortcomings.
When you think you’ve messed up, put it down to the same human error that the rest of us go through every day of our lives also.
See my article Western Society Is A Cause of Social Anxiety for more reasons that there’s no need to feel ashamed or guilty about yourself or your life.
Now That You’ve Seen You Can Let Go Of Negatives, The Next Step Is To Begin Noticing Your Underlying Greatness
You’re starting to leave behind the negative emotions of shame and guilt (STEP 5), so now it’s time to build something positive in the space we just cleared.
It’s time for your existing awesome qualities to come to the forefront of your mind. There are great things about you that you probably don’t notice. I’m going to bring them to light with STEP 6: 5 Great Things About You; To Help You Overcome Social Anxiety.