Today a patient came in saying, “I didn’t go to an important career event because I was hungry.” Well really, if you want to know, she said “my social anxiety got the best of me.”
What does that mean? Usually, it means “I am afraid of being judged,” or “I will not live up to the idealized ego identity imposed on me by parents that I project onto everyone else.”
Who am I if I am not my parents’ favorite?
How do I expect anyone to accept me?
Most often social anxiety has its roots in the fear of not winning the favor of our parents who are our first important relationships (love objects). This identity is based on a very personal subjective view that cannot possibly hold significance in any other sphere than our family of origin.
This is what we therapists call transference.
How can we objectify this imprisoning emotional dynamic?
Who ever gave our parents the authority to decide whether or not we are good enough, worthy, lovable, etc.?
Well, we did! As infants we feared if we did not please our parents it may lead to death.
For example, “Perhaps they’ll stop feeding us!” Of course that’s what it “feels” like and not how it really goes most of the time.
Learning to be the master of our self-esteem, to face reality, and that we are our own worst critic is key to conquering social anxiety.
Assume innocence until proven guilty is my motto.
This translates into “you are always right, your feelings are always right.” Of course this does not exclude friendliness, as long as we are friendly and understand that others may disagree with us. Later we can entertain whether we want to expand our views.
Too many times we just cave in because someone else disagrees. Welcoming others’ ideas and feelings is very helpful in managing social anxiety. Giving compliments and acting friendly is a secret weapon and a tool that is very important for conquering social anxiety.
Try it you’ll like it!
Act as if you really mean it and before you know it, your anxiety will fade away.
Oh, and I do know that panic symptoms often need soothing and further coping strategies. That is why I created “Freedom from Anxiety” especially for you.
Go to: WWW.AUDIOSHRINK.COM and download “Freedom from Anxiety” to your listening device!