Are you a socially anxious person?
Are you bothered by what other people think of you?
Are you self-conscious, not wanting to attract attention to yourself?
Do you dread speaking in public?
Do you hide the real you, because yo
u think people would be disappointed if they saw your real self?
Well, if that is the case you are not alone. Social anxiety or the fear of being judged by others is common. It can affect many areas of life, from talking in public to approaching people for help or to reluctance to even start a friendship. This situation of wanting, and needing, being part of together with a serious fear of rejection is the cause of anxiety. The origin of this fear comes from our ancestral need to be part of a tribe in order to survive. A lone human would not have been able to survive predators and very hostile conditions. If you wanted to stay alive, you had to be part of the tribe, and if they did not like you, you could be in serious trouble. Hence, this primitive type of fear is more widespread than you think. Now we recognise it as social anxiety and it can be very mild or quite debilitating.
Of course, not everyone is affected by this type of anxiety and the people who are can be affected in different degrees. What is true, is that you are not the only person who is anxious of being judged negatively by others. If you were in a room full of people all of whom to you would appear confident and relaxed, you would be surprised to know how many were feeling high anxiety. A lot of people are as good as you at hiding their anxiety. They will probably be assuming that they are the only ones who are anxious. They will assume that you are a confident and relaxed person. Why? Because like when we see the beautiful ducks and swans gliding graciously in the river, we are unable to see the mad paddling that might be going on under the water.
The good news is that you can learn to glide indeed and leave the mad paddling behind. You can learn how to trust yourself and become more confident, able to understand and conquer your social anxiety. When you do that you will be authentically more relaxed and natural in any situation. Then, you can free all the space in your mind that you use for worrying about being judged. You can stop wasting time thinking about what other people are thinking of you, and concentrate on the things that truly matter to you.
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