Social Anxiety is one of those things I only managed to give a name to after I figured out that it was more than just simple inner voices transforming my social freedom into a social challenge.
Having overcome a time in my life, in which I made use of all kinds of extreme techniques to literally ‘trick’ people into liking me, I realized that no matter how hard I tried and how ‘successful’ the social outreach was, I always ended up with this awkward feeling telling me how truly unconfident I really was.
I was so focused in ‘selling the whole of me’ that I forgot to apply one of the most basic principles of marketing (yes, marketing does apply here as well!), which is: focus on the USP (unique selling proposition), which in this context, I can call my ‘strengths’ or simply my ‘bright spots’.
When my focus was on the whole, I kept on falling in the traps called ‘my weaknesses’, which constantly reminded me that I was not ‘good enough’.
This abusive relationship I kept with my own inner self kept me stuck in a vicious cycle starting with DENIAL, followed by ANGER, CONFUSION, DEPRESSION and leading me up to a CRISIS, which would eventually be soothed by taking me back to DENIAL.
While I took all sorts of advice and managed to extend the periods of denial, tricking me into believing everything was OK, I overlooked the fact that the only way I could get out of that cycle would be by reaching CONFIDENCE through ACCEPTANCE.
This was not an overnight achievement, though. It surprised me to realize that all I needed was to assume control of these ‘inner voices’ and start developing mental abilities by focusing on the positive side of me: my USPs. It was all about a lesson on how to ‘sell’ without putting the ‘value’ of the good at stake.
I created micro-goals, which led me to small wins. These achievements helped me believe I could achieve something bigger. It empowered me.
Instead of playing ‘tricks’, I started playing ‘authentic’ with the world around me. And accepting the simple, yet hard-to-grasp truth that ‘Not everyone likes me. And it’s OK.’, I managed to deflect those negative charges which used to feed my self-consciousness.
Some might call it the ‘I don’t give a fuck!’-mode, but the truth is: empowering myself to overcome social anxiety was not as simple as ‘ignoring’ what others think about me, but rather making sure that I ACCEPT and REWARD MYSELF for who I AM – feeling truly CONFIDENT no matter what.