Would you walk stark naked across the main stage of the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts in New York, while smiling and waving to the audience? I wouldn’t! But, there are probably many professional entertainers who would. And, I also know millions of others who would do it as well, and without the slightest hesitation. But, who are these people and why would they do it? Read on to find out who they are and why they would. And knowing this can help you deal with your social anxiety.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain, author
“… you can learn to be fearless as well in these same situations.”
I was considered by my teacher to be the shyest kid in both of the grade seven classes at my school of over 500 students. Also, I missed a lot of school due to illness and failed that grade that year. But, I also ran a small business, a daily newspaper route with 103 customers in my neighbourhood. And, I had a charge account for candy at the local corner store, which I paid off weekly. So, like every kid, I was a collection of paradoxes. I was anxious in some contexts, but not in others. I had self confidence in one situation, but not in another.
Like you, when I was born, I believed I could be, do and have anything. I was fearless about most things. Then as my life experiences collected, I learned to be fearless in some situations and fearful in others. This brings us to now.
You have probably figured out by now the millions of people who would walk naked across the main stage of the Lincoln Centre with smiles and waves are the one, two and three year olds of the world. They haven’t learned yet to fear social rejection. This means, of course, you learned to be fearful due to specific social situations in your past. It also means, you can learn to be fearless as well, in these same situations. That is how professional entertainers learn to do it.
“People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on.” – Eckhart Tolle, author
“I bet no one has ever asked you the benefits to your social anxiety.”
The quickest way to move past social anxiety is to ask yourself the question no one else does. To move past social anxiety fast you need to understand its benefits to you…that’s right…it’s benefits!
I bet no one has ever asked you the benefits to your social anxiety. Yet, they have to be there because you are alive and well and reading this post…so you have survived and evolved as a person from every past experience…including those fearful ones dealing with your social anxiety.
Your have achieved survival because of the natural law of symmetry which ensures you live in a dualistic environment, that is, an environment which supports and challenges you equally at all times to optimize your learning and future survival. This dualism is found at virtually every level of the natural world from subatomic particles to galaxy systems…each one maintaining a dualistic balance.
At the human level this dualism is displayed by how we learn everything. We learn best at the border between order and chaos. We learn most efficiently when support and challenge are equal. This dualism law ensures every event has an equal amount of pleasure and pain at every second. This ensures we learn just what we need to learn to have a future.
“Are you ready for the truth about your social anxiety?”
Taking this law to social anxiety this means my social anxiety in grade seven and your social anxiety today had to have equal amounts of pain and pleasure, at every second, for each of us.
When I think of how challenged I was in school, I can also see how much support I received from my Mom at that time. When I think of the support I had making my own money being a newspaper carrier, I also notice the challenge I had from my health, the freezing winter storms and the grouchy boss I had.
So, what about you? Are you ready for the truth about your social anxiety? You already know about the pain of it! Are you ready to uncover the pleasure of it…how it benefits you in your life? If so, then read on!
“Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s job with yesterday’s tools and yesterday’s concepts.” – Marshall McLuhan, sociologist
“…the most clear advantage to me…?
Recall your most painful memory of experiencing social anxiety. Recall the exact moment…notice where you were at that moment…notice who was there besides youself. Imagine yourself back there right now and ask yourself the following question.
What was the most clear advantage to me to feel anxiety, stress or fear at that moment in time in my life?
It will be in one of the seven areas of your life. For example, it may have protected your spirit in some special way; or perhaps your self esteem; or maybe your work or job; maybe it saved you some money or self worth; perhaps it protected an important relationship or prevented someone’s rejection; maybe it honoured a family relationship or even protected your health by reducing your stress in some specific manner.
Know it’s there and go find it! And don’t stop looking until you find it. Once you find the first benefit, then notice how this benefits is connected to other important benefits in other parts of your life, at that same time.
“I was unconscious of this learning at that time.”
Let’s use my example so you can see the duality law in action. When, at twelve years of age, I was told I would be repeating grade seven again, I felt devastated. But, at the same second, that was when I became determined to get the grades I needed to pass. That was when I decided I was as smart as anyone else and I was going to prove it to myself. That was when I learned to value my own opinion over others. That was when I realized my family were more important to me than school friends. That was when I learned I had to take control of my own health and not let it interfere with other things I wanted to do. That was when I learned to value my own spirit, even if others did not.
Please note, I did not have this level of awareness then…I was unconscious of this learning at that time. But looking back now, I can see this is where I learned to value myself and believe in me. I started using these important learnings from that day forward. And I still use them today, fifty five years later.
Those learning have been critical in my evolution to who I am today, what I do today, and what I have achieved today. I feel no guilt, no shame and no remorse. There was no mistake in that event happening to me…no mistake in repeating grade seven…I am the living proof of this truth.
“…notice they balance each other out perfectly.”
The same applies to every other moment of my life and your life, too! So, looking back now, go find the benefits which came to you! Once you find all the benefits, I challenge you to notice something else. When you compare all the benefits you have identified to the pain you also experienced, notice they balance each other out perfectly.
Notice, now it feels OK to have had that experience because you can see both sides, the duality of it…this make it balanced, symmetrical and equilibrated in your mind. Now you experience appreciation for the event, instead of a one sided emotion. Like love, appreciation is not emotion. It is an attitude of awareness of how life works, of how the law of symmetry works, and how it governs all of our life. And, so we become grateful for the life we have and everyone in it. Now, it is no longer a mistake…just an experience which contributed to who you are today, what you do today, and what you have achieved today.
Also, notice, since you have honoured it, by uncovering its’ duality, now you can let it go emotionally and get on with your life. Do this with every memory you have of social anxiety was watch the results. It is life changing! If you get stuck, let me know. I can show you how to uncover the duality of any life event…bar none!
“Often, anxiety is just a nuisance, but sometimes it can cripple you and prevent you from doing what you really want with your life. But I have some great news for you: You can change the way you feel.” – David D. Burns, writer