Do you remember having social anxiety as a young child? Like between the age of 1 and 5? Normally at this age, it just wouldn’t exist in your reality.
Now as an adult do you ever have social anxiety when in a social situation? Does the idea of going to talk to an attractive man or woman bring fear up inside you?
Do you think about the possibility of being “rejected”? Are you worrying about what people think of you?
A lot of self-help is geared toward the idea of “overcoming” anxiety. As I have said before, the idea is for you to build your confidence up till eventually you can conquer your social anxiety, pushing through the fear, because you know you have built your social skills up enough to come out of it “successful” most of the time.
Surely though, we have always had social skill? Unless you’re Harry Potter and you were locked in a cupboard all of your childhood, you would have been out and about meeting/bonding with other children, effortlessly.
As a young child we would have never even thought about being rejected by someone, we would never think about the idea of approaching someone. Children are almost ego-less, they don’t care about the opinions of others, or whether they are being judged for their actions.
They go about the world in a state of playfulness, often inviting other people into their play filled reality. The idea of social anxiety hasn’t even occurred to them, they would have no idea what you were talking about if you said: ‘Are you afraid you will be rejected when you talk to new people’? Of course they aren’t. They just go around inviting others to join in with them; if the other child says no, or ignores them, then they just carry on doing what they were doing, playing, having fun.
Children are natural givers and they will often take a lot of pleasure in sharing something with someone else, stranger or not.
Their reality is to play and give.
Fear, social anxiety, rejection, none of this even exists for them. Yet.
So where does it all go wrong?
As a very young child you would have felt a strong sense of “oneness” with other people, no matter who they were.
But then after a time, a separation between you and others starts to be created in your mind as you develop into your later childhood, you start to be conditioned by negative information entering your mind from all directions.
Television, school, friends, parents etc… of course our family and friends don’t mean to do it, but those ‘be careful’s’ we are told over and over again, do start to affect how we see others. New people start to seem a threat, the idea of leaving the comfort of the people we know best and meeting new people starts to scare us.
People at school start messing with our head, making us feel like we aren’t good enough as we are.
We start thinking that maybe the world is out to get us.
We stop playing so much and feel like we have to work for everything. We want people to like us, we want acceptance. We start worrying what people will think of us, so we stop inviting people into our realities as much. We stop inviting people into our once playful, fun world.
Eventually a lot of us stop playing with life, and start feeling like we are coming up against resistance everywhere we go.
Switch your focus.
It becomes as simple as this – we all need to go back to the way we were as children. Yes we need our intelligence, yes we need to be responsible for ourselves. But we need to see everything as a fun, learning experience. A chance to explore and enjoy ourselves, no matter what the situation.
We need to take our focus OFF of overcoming anxiety, defeating fear and breaking through barriers.
We need to simply switch our focus to the positives – playing, having fun, giving, kindness and loving.
So someone who puts focus on overcoming fear will never really accomplish that, because by focusing on something you are just giving it power.
In this way you will force yourself to overcome it and you will be able to take action anyway, but then the next time you want to do that thing again the fear will still be there. You are just suppressing it. The thing is, you won’t hold it down for long, it will rear its ugly head, time and time again.
However, by switching your focus to how you can give, be kind, play and have fun is where fear disappears for good. It won’t exist in your reality any more because it won’t even occur to you that the situation could be scary. There isn’t anything to overcome.
Undo your conditioning and get back to how you was as a child.
INVITE people into your playful, fun reality where they can either choose to accept or decline your invitation. Either way it won’t matter to you at all, as you can just carry on having fun, giving and being kind.
Focus on what you are giving to other people. Focus on how you can be kind to someone else. Focus on how you can make fun in any situation and enjoy playing with life, rather than resisting it.