Do You Struggle With Social Situations?
How many people do you encounter on a daily basis? 10? 20? Maybe even 100? Do you interact with any of these people in some way? A polite smile or small chit chat? These are common social interactions that many people take for granted.
To be able to look around the shops and chat with the cashier, or moan to your neighbour about the twat down the road who doesn’t control his constantly barking dog.
People who suffer with SAD (social anxiety disorder) and/or low self esteem issues often struggle with the most simple social situations. Even a passing hello can feel like entering the gates of hell.
So how can you change your mindset and learn to communicate with people when you are terrified?
It’s a good question, often a very damn complicated one as these mental health disorders tend to affect everyone differently. However, one of the most common problems victims of this arsehole of an illness face, is it makes them constantly worry about the opinions of others. To the point where panic attacks are sadly not rare.
“What if they don’t like me?”
“Will they think I’m weird?”
“I’m not good enough to be well liked.”
Those are just a few examples of the general thought process of someone who suffers with these specific disorders when facing any type of social situations. It’s not as simple as assuring them that their opinions don’t mean shit in the grand scheme of things. If it was that easy no one would have these problems now would they?
How are you going to have the courage to socialise with others when you are constantly plagued with fear that those around you think poorly of you?
If you are reading this article there is a pretty good chance that you are suffering with these debilitating disorders. I too suffered with these issues for a very long time, on occasion I still do. While I personally believe that there isn’t a guaranteed cure, meaning there is always a chance your symptoms can rear their ugly head in the future. I can tell you I have had control and been symptom free now for over 4 years despite the odd blip when I’m tired, grumpy and surrounded by idiots.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, this secret is one of the ways I overcome these fears my self. It wasn’t easy and it took a lot of time and effort but I am now the owner of a website and I socialise regularly, a lot of the time with strangers! This was unheard of where I was concerned, once upon a time! I can’t say I enjoy socialising much but that’s because like I said above, people are idiots.
Let me talk you through it step by step so you can give this a try.
The first thing I did was, I created a list, I wrote down 10 social scenarios that scared me.
These need to be meaningful to you personally, a few examples may be, smile or say hello to a stranger, attend group gatherings/parties or even join a forum, literally any kind of social situations at all! I know you could probably write down a lot more, but lets not get excited shall we, for now stick to 10.
Once you have chosen your fears and written them down you need to go read through them and put them in order by deciding which ones scare you most. Okay so you need to score them from 1-10. 1 being least scary 10 being fucking terrifying.
Now you have done that I want you to check the date and write it at the top of the paper, once you have done that, go forward 3 months and write that date on the bottom of the paper. All done?.. Now you can read on for an explanation.
The reason I asked you to score them from 1 to 10 is because in the next three months I want you to do each of them at least once. But I want you to start at number one. If you get too big for your booys, jump into this head first and start trying to instantly accomplish something that terrifies you, all that will do is push yourself back further. You will keep talking yourself out of it.
It can be as simple as smiling at a stranger in the high street, just start slowly but surely going out of your comfort zone, one step at a time. Even if a mouse could take bigger steps. Gradually build yourself up to completing number 10.
Don’t underestimate the enormity of what you are going to be doing here. Otherwise you’re asking for a shit storm. Ultimately, whether its number 1 or number 10, all of these situations scare you, hence why they are on your list. So make sure you aren’t put off by the initial fear.
Because of this I want you to do something for me.. The first time you are about to attempt number 1 I want you to breathe deeply, in the nose and out of the mouth, clear your mind and just bite the bullet (Not literally please).
Don’t Think, Just Do. Just Go For It.
It may not seem like it now but, it will get easier and your confidence in your ability to complete these tasks will build.
I had you write a list because it, in a way, dehumanises the fears. They become a to-do list instead of just something you are constantly worrying about in your own thoughts. Like a shopping list for your forgetful nan (or you if you’re anything like me). Except it isn’t going to feel the same as checking off a shopping list. When you start ticking off that list you are going to feel incredible.
Hopefully by the end of those three months the first few numbers you will be beginning to complete naturally, as if it’s second nature.
Sometimes the only way to build your self esteem and take control of social anxiety disorder is to go out of your comfort zone and force yourself. I was regularly advised to ‘avoid intimidating social situations’ to ‘prevent’ panic attacks. It wasn’t until I realised I was watching my life pass me by that I knew I had to change.
I wanted to change so I did.
I know this advice might be a little different to what you are used to, I’m giving it to you and sharing my knowledge and experience because it worked for me. It is proven to get a result.
If you need inspiration feel free to have a look around my social media pages and see how my self confidence and self esteem has sky rocketed. Which isn’t always a good thing as you will see looking at my photos.
So when you are ready, no pressure, why not give this a try? You can of course modify the method to suit your specific needs. You could even start with 5 fears on your list to begin with. It’s entirely up to you.
As always the comment section and my inbox is always open unless you want to tell me I look like an anime character. That I already know, thanks though.