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One Great Tip For Reducing Social Anxiety

Updated on April 29, 2011

I know that social anxiety disorder can be a tough thing to not only deal with but to overcome.

As a long-term social anxiety sufferer, I know how tough this problem can be. And I know that finding a workable solution can be challenging.

And generally, overcoming or "beating" a social anxiety problem involves a long, slow process whereby a person experiments with several different strategies or coping mechanisms before, hopefully, finding a winning strategy.

One such strategy is one that I picked up some time ago and, the more I focused on it and implemented it, the more confident and less socially anxious I became.

The strategy is simple: accept the fact that every single person that you come into contact with, no matter the location, has a "super secret" lurking within them that, in many cases, nobody knows about.

Now, you are probably wondering how that could possibly help a person overcome social anxiety disorder. You are probably thinking, "So, people have secrets -- big deal! What's the connection with social anxiety?"

Well, I thought that at first, and that's a rational response to have. But the more I thought about that statement and pondered it, the more I understood how it could help me overcome my social anxiety problem.

To fully grasp the concept, you have to understand that a large part of social anxiety sufferers worry too much about being "perfect" in social settings. We hypermanage ourselves and focus so much on not doing anything wrong that we make ourselves sick.

We mistakenly assume that other people are superior to us, have more to offer, or are simply better, more interesting people than we are.

We act and often times feel like we have too much baggage in our past, like we are injured, like we are defective, or like we have secrets that if anyone were to know would cause us total shame, humiliation, and embarassment.

And here's where realizing that every single person has a "super secret" or perhaps many of them comes into play.

If you look at a person and realize that there are countless things in that persons past that would probably make them freak out if anyone were to know, you are humanizing them, you are making them real.

Social phobics have the habit of thinking that "they" have to be perfect in every aspect of life in order to function socially, partly because they often make the mistake of believing that everyone else "IS" perfect.

When you realize that all people -- the president, the famous movie star, your math teacher, your best friend's mother -- have secrets lurking within them that would probably shame them if they were to come out, you start to realize that you are just like them.

They are not perfect. You are not perfect. Human beings are incapable of being perfect.

Therefore, a large part of your social anxiety can be defused when you realize how imperfect people really are.

You are not the only one who has secrets, who has done anything wrong, or who has baggage.

The next time you are in a social situation, remember the "secrets" thing. Pay attention to various people and remember that each person you see is "hiding" something that has the potential to shame them, embarrass them, or make them want to crawl under the table if that something were to be made public.

It may be something embarrasing, something unethical, something illegal, or God knows what!

But the point is social anxiety sufferers overrate others while underrating themselves. And this causes increased social anxiety.

When you get nervous in a social situation, you are making the people around you more important or worthwhile than yourself; you fear "their" judgment because you feel inferior to them.

But when you think about the "secrets" thing, you bring them down a notch, you make them fallible human beings just like you are.

No matter how perfect people seem, how accomplished, how polished, more often than not what lurks beneath their public persona or in their past is often a chaotic, jarbled, incongruent mess!

Remember that!


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    • AnthonyJ33 profile image

      AnthonyJ33 5 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you. I struggle with this problem daily. It takes a lot of work to rewire certain thought patterns that lead to social anxiety. How are you doing?

    • AnthonyJ33 profile image

      AnthonyJ33 5 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you. I struggle with this problem daily. I don't have all the answers; but I do have my own perspectives on things. How are you doing?

    • profile image

      Dee 5 years ago

      Thank you for this article, I really like your writing style. I can't wait to try out this tip!

    • Lorna McNerthney profile image

      Lorna McNerthney 6 years ago from Paducah, KY

      I really liked this hub. It made me smile because I would have never thought of this. It's such a different take on dealing with social anxiety disorders. Awesome job!