Social anxiety is a very common type of fear that many of us experience at some time. Here is a tip to reduce social anxiety that I have found to be very effective.
The reality is we do judge each other. It is part of our basic survival instinct to be on alert to risk. Therefore, if we are meeting people we don’t know, or people who have already proven themselves to be less than kind, then that ‘risk radar’ is going to be on high alert.
Being judged is unavoidable.
So how can you reduce the impact of it?
Change judgement for opinion
It’s a very subtle change but it is very powerful.
We all have opinions. Differing political opinions is an easy example to draw on. You may agree with that opinion, or disagree – but does that cause you to feel anxious?
I could make a curry for a dinner party of 8 people. Some may love it. Some may find it too mild. Others may think it is not feisty enough.
It is the same curry that people are making their judgements on – they are having their own opinions about it.
Opinions are formed around beliefs, experiences, values. My guests who wanted a more spicy curry may be from the Far East and used to much hotter food. Those that found it too hot may not have had much exposure to spices.
Their opinions are all a reflection on THEM – not my curry!!
I would probably have to make 8 different dishes to try and make everyone happy – and even then, chances are I may fail!
So I make the best curry I know how to make and accept that everyone will make their own judgement – based on THEIR experiences.
Bringing this back others judging us, the same approach applies. People will judge you. Their judgement will be based on THEIR values, THEIR experiences, THEIR beliefs. Accept their opinion is a reflection of THEM. You then have a choice as to whether you want to take it on board and make it yours!
When you have choice, you have control
Anxiety is a direct response to a loss of control, a feeling of vulnerability. And that is why social anxiety is high. We cannot control what other people think of us.
We can however control whether we make other people’s thoughts, our reality.
Back to our politics example, I am sure few people would change their politics based on hearing someone opinion that was contrary to theirs. So apply the same policy to any opinion, especially if it is of you.
And by doing that, you are back in control.
Just like my curry; I make the best one I can. When in social situations, aim to be the best version of you and even if someone thinks they could do better, let them have that opinion!
How can you see this simple tip working for you?? Let me know in the comments box below.