"I can't stop caring about what people think about me," syndrome.
Lol. See everyone has an opinion about shyness and the people who have it. But the reality is, that you can't just simple STOP caring about what other people think. Because if it was that simple. You would have done it by now. And you would have done it a long time ago. You don't WANT to care about what other people think, you just for some reason do.
Now this view language of "caring about what other people think" could mean one thing to one person and one thing to another. But universally I think it describes a complex experience involving both uncontrollable bodily sensations, and a temporary inability to use your thinking, speaking and conversational faculties normally, while at the same time being acutely sensitive to the status and behavior of the involved persons and how your own status is perceived in relation to them.
In other words a feeling of being restricted and smothered in an inability to behave how you want around people you think are cooler than you.
Now of the several factors that could be discussed and brought up as contributing factors to this experience, the biggest one that I know of is this: You don't like yourself and see yourself as not enough, and as a result you try to seek hints and signs from other people to show you that you are in fact enough, and a worthy person. But the root of the problem is that you see yourself as less that others for x y and z reason, so you look to the approval of others to make you feel better and disprove you negative beliefs about yourself that you hope aren't true, but still are holding you back.
So what do you do? Nobody has told you how to change this. How do you fix a negative belief? Is it even possible? How long would that take and how hard would it be?
Well some beliefs take years to change, some can change rather quickly, and some will never change because they are so deep rooted that they are practically superglued to your mind throu layers apon layers of emotion. But the first thing you must understand is that people DO change their beliefs, people DO change, and people DO sometimes grow up introverted and then go thought a complete transformation and come out the other side as an extrovert. It's just that its not that common, and you probably believe that some people are born introverts, and some as extroverts, and your stuck with what you got and you can't change. Well let me just tell you, that's complete bullshit.
Let me tell you a story..
Growing up I was that kid that never talked. I was homeschooled up until 6th grade, and when my parents divorced I was put into public school in 7th. I was the most socially awkward kid you could imagine. I never talked to the other kids, and if I had a presentation I had to give I front of the class on a book or a science project or something, I'd do everything I could to avoid doing it. Even taking an F if that we're neccicary. That's how much I feared being judged by other people. And not on,y that, I had even the fear of being uncomfortable. Afraid of being afraid. Now try that one on for size.
I thought I would always be that scared little homeschooler, but by the end of 7 th grade, and on into that sum,we break, I became different. I slowly began to speak up in conversations instead of looking at the floor and wishing I could think of something to say. I became more comfortable having the attention spotlight on me, when before it would make me turn red and want to run away. And although it wasn't much, I began to notice myself and my behavior subtle change Ito more and more extroverted and then back into introverted. It was like 2 steps forward, 1 step back. 2 steps forward, and sometimes 3 steps back. And it drove me nuts because I didn't know what was causing it. Some days I felt relaxed and could talk to people and hang out well in groups, and other days I felt like I was trapped inside of someone else who I wanted to forget and cut loose. The part of me that I hated wished nobody could see.
For years I felt like I was living in this duality of "am I a shy introvert, or am I a cool social guy?!" Because I was both of them at different times. I would study and anilize the slight comments other people would make about me and make empirical study's in my mind of what they meant and what that could mean about myself. I didn't know who I was, didn't have strong beliefs on who I was, and was at effect and mercy of the opinions of others which would then quickly become my internal sees of reality and opinion of mylsef. I wanted them to have a good a pinion of me, so that I could have a good opinion of me. Because I had none of my own and was confised about who I was. I wanted the, to think well of me so that I could think well of me.
There's a very complex cause and effect that happens from your own beliefs about yourself called the Pygmalion effect aka the self fulfilling prophecy. If you believe that you are an outgoing person and see yourself as an outgoing person, you mind will make you act like an outgoing person, and then other people will perceive you as an outgoing person and respond to you like an outgoing person and your belief gets stronger and produces the outgoing behavior then gets more enforcement and produces more outgoing behavior and it just become an endless loop that keeps getting stronger and stronger and stronger.
If you can change the internal belief, and create a new Pygmalion effect, the behaviors although s,all at first over weeks, months, and years, form their own momentum and force to where they just become your normal autopilot way of behaving. But how on earth can you chage the way you see yourself, change you beliefs and create the new behavior that creates a new Pygmalion effect in your favor?
Well I'm not going to lie to you, it's not easy, and takes time. But I do absolutely promose you that it's possible. If you have been behaving socially awkward, feeling socially awkward, and living Ina reality of expecting yourself to be socially awkward for a long time, you're going to have to do a number of things to get the ball rolling on some new and improved beliefs, and be really consistent with some of these key techniques I'm about to show you.
Your self image acts as a small child would, believing whatever you tell it without questioning it. We can use this to our advantage by delibrately showing it how we want to act instead of how we don't want to act. And we do this by taking advantage of the minds most sensitive and impressionable times of first thing in the morning and right before sleep. The reason for this is that's the time when your mind is not fully conscious, and not fully unconscious. Technically speaking its called an "alpha" state.
When you wake up in the morning, immediately begin Immagining yourself going through the day ahead of you. Only this time instead of behaving shy and introverted, see yourself walking with a sense of swagger and ease. Hear yourself confidently speaking your mind and the positive ways that people react to your new and improved personality. Watch as you see yourself speaking up in those key meetings and really being a key focal point in the group discussion. And have fun with this. Imagine your a kid again and you can create whatever you want from scratch. The way you act. The way you dress. The kinds of things you talk about. See yourself behaving and feeling the ways that you want to behave and feel with intense precision and clairity as if it were a super HD movie being played inside the screen of your mind.
Do this for about 5 minutes and then get on with your day. If you do this for 2 weeks straight you will have planted in your mind a new set of instructions that it can now work on unconsciously finding ways to bring these new ideal behaviors to the surface, and will quietly work on this without you even knowing it in the deep unconscious of your mind. And don't skip even one morning of this exercise for 2 weeks and really get into the Imagining of it to give your mind clear and vivid depiction of yourself behaving in your new ideal way. For extra credit, and even better results do a nighttime session for another 5 minutes right before going to bed. This will ensure you fully saturate you unconscious mind for maximum results.
This technique is extremely powerful not only for changing your self image, but also for things like competitive sports and musical performances. Intacmany of the top Olympic athletes use this on a daily basis and is a key tenant of their training regiment because it allows you to even though your not doing the sport at that moment, still rehearse it in your mind and create more neural pathways in your brain to do that thing even better next time.
But all the knowledge in the world has no power to change your life for the better unless you take personal responsibility and decide to try it for yourself. Make the commitment to yourself to try this quick little technique and find out if it really is as great as I say. What have you got to lose! 5 minutes of your morning? And do me a favor. Keep me informed with your progress from social anxiety, to true self esteem and personal power by emailing me your ideas, comments, and questions. I want to know what you think.
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Until next time, Live With Courage