I had intense social anxiety for over a decade.
A desperate search for solutions led me to some information and a technique that has -with persistence- allowed me to beat my social anxiety completely.
On this site I’ll teach you how to use this technique. I’ll share how I overcame my social anxiety using it. And how you can do the same.
I realize that’s difficult to believe for you when you’ve been stuck for a long time. And I also know it’s difficult to trust people on the internet as there are a lot of big promises and fake testimonials.
So, let me prove to you what I say is for real.
Over the coming pages I’ll not only introduce you to the technique, but also give you an experience of it.
And before I do…
… let’s briefly connect via video so you can see I’m a real person. OK?
The standard approach of “changing my thoughts, affirmations, journaling, being mindful and facing my fears” didn’t work for me.
Forcefully facing my fears -which I did- wasn’t the solution for me.
And it isn’t for many.
Here’s what Steve Wells, a psychologist from Australia that I interviewed on my Social Anxiety Solutions podcast says about it:
“A lot of people are doing exposure therapy, feel the fear and do it anyway, and that’s good, but you know what, for some people that’s really harrowing, it’s really tough, and what techniques like this do is at the very least they take the edge off at the beginning so that it becomes a little bit easier. And over time, it becomes a lot easier.
With exposure therapy you still feel some anxiety usually, but with this technique, when you get over something you don’t feel it at all, it’s gone. That’s what you’re after.”
For me, I did face my fears.
And not only was it incredibly awkward and scary, it didn’t work.
Nor did it work for any of the socially phobic clients I’ve been guiding to releasing their social anxiety since 2009.
But since everyone was saying that the only way to overcome my social anxiety was to grid my teeth and force myself to “face my fears”…
… so I did. I faced some of my biggest fears.
I pushed through massive anxiety.
I dealt with prolonged awkwardness, embarrassment and discomfort.
And I did gain confidence after doing it.
But the confidence was ONLY TEMPORARY.
I did the most extreme things… (I’ll tell you more about those in a moment)
I started facing my fears somewhere before the summer of 2004.
I had discovered something profound through a self-help program. It gave me perspective on my situation.
I found out why I was suffering.
And that there was a way out of the misery.
That was a big relief for me, and inspired me to go for it no matter what.
But there was one problem – part of the solution was “facing my fears”.
And I couldn’t be more terrified of doing so…
What I feared most back then was becoming embarrassed. Humiliating myself.
Or looking “weak”, “uncool” or “un-confident”.
But even though I was terrified, I was willing to do whatever it would take.
Life was just too depressing. I saw myself as the biggest loser out there.
I was deeply ashamed of myself.
And I desperately wanted to prove myself not to be a loser.
I felt insecure around most people.
In social situations it felt like people wanted me to look bad. That they wanted me to look foolish and become embarrassed. And that was one of my biggest fears.
I couldn’t connect with people. I could give off the impression I was fine, most of the time.
But I was deeply insecure, anxious and uncomfortable inside.
And because it sucked so much to be around people, I avoided as many social gatherings I could stay away from with a clever excuse.
I often felt deeply lonely and feared it’d never change.
I was so anxious in most conversations that it was near impossible to actually listen to what someone was saying.
Often my heart was beating fast and I felt so anxious that I totally lost whatever was said.
In conversations I was trying to say the right things at the right time, and avoid saying something stupid. But it was really hard.
And as I felt anxious I just knew they could see my awkwardness.
Sometimes it even made them awkward, and that then made cringe…
I was constantly monitoring how I came across, worrying about how they perceived me. My mind was preoccupied with thinking of the right thing to answer.
Socialising was hard.
Especially with guys I thought were “cool” or girls I was attracted to.
When I went to an event that I couldn’t get out of (a birthday party, work outing, going out after many cancellations and excuses) I’d come home exhausted.
Trying to control the way I came across -making people believe I was fine- took a lot out of me. It drained me.
So because they weren’t enjoyable, I started to avoid most of the difficult social situations.
And then when NOT in a social situation there was my mind constantly attacking me.
I was constantly worrying about my “reputation”.
Doom-thinking about the future.
Criticising and judging myself (and others), and making up worst case scenarios (and then fearing it would happen).
This nonsense was constantly occupying my mind.
And I couldn’t stop it.
My mind wouldn’t leave me alone.
I woke up anxious, and went to bed anxious (unless I was drunk)…
So I had sworn to myself I’d keep going until I had complete confidence in all social situations.
Because this self-help program said it could be done. It made sense to me.
But I had to face my fears.
So that meant getting rejected.
That meant talking to women.
That meant becoming embarrassed.
That means doing the things I feared most.
And looking foolish…
And I actually did it.
I had made a decision to overcome my social anxiety no matter what.
Even if it took 10 years.
So off I went.. to face my fears.
I was afraid of getting rejected.
I felt like a little boy, not like a real man.
I was afraid of becoming embarrassed.
And I feared that OTHERS WOULD SEE THAT.
I was afraid of them seeing right through me… that I was an imposter.
That I just faked my confidence.
And I feared getting rejected by girls more than anything.
I feared that everyone would find out what a loser I was with women.
And that deep down I was actually this insecure guy.
Since that was my biggest fear I decided to focus on facing that one.
In hindsight, talking to women was actually only a small part of the problem I was dealing with.
And the real problem was much deeper…
But talking to girls was inconceivably scary and humiliating to me.
There was no place I felt more insecure than in front of a cute girl.
And I thought that if I could talk to women all my problems would disappear (was I ever wrong!)
So I focused on that.
My first few drunk attempts in a club resulted in painfully awkward rejections.
I tried starting conversations with no success.
Actually, no success would be inaccurate.
“The epitome of awkwardness” describes it better…
I got myself into some pretty awkward situations.
Got laughed at.
Had people pity me…
Got a head turn when trying to kiss a girl I thought liked me.
And more awfulness.
Even though I was drunk, it still sucked big time.
Insecurity isn’t all that attractive to a woman.
And me trying to impress women while full of “liquid confidence” turned out to be even more repelling.
I had found some internet dating programs on the web that sounded incredibly promising.
I could become “suave with the ladies in a weekend”.
What they promised sounded brilliant.
I’d be super confident after a weekend of talking to girls.
So I paid a ton of money to fly over this self-proclaimed Don Juan to help me talk to girls.
One of the most awkward and uncomfortable weekends of my life.
I started with saying hi to strangers. No problem.
Next, I said hi and asked for directions. No problem.
Then, Hi and introducing myself.
And then we stepped it up a notch…
I had to walk up to girls and ask them for their opinion on something:
“Who lies more, men or women?”
This would start a conversation, and I would then have to continue talking.
Make jokes he told me I should use (his jokes he had tested with countless women).
In hindsight, he tried to teach me how a normal, confident man talks to a woman.
But it was structured.
And of course contrived and fake as the stories and jokes weren’t my own.
And, since I was so awkward and anxious, I was totally in my head.
And I was even more anxious because all this pressure was on me to do it right.
I had a gazillion fears running me.
I feared I’d run out of things to say.
I feared the girl must think I was the biggest loser.
Or that people surrounding us must believe I was such a pathetic weirdo.
I was absolutely terrified, but kept with it.
That first day I walked up -or was pushed into- maybe 25 girls and groups of girls.
Constantly the same routine way of going about it.
I felt a lot more confident at the end of the day.
Next day we would do this again. But now we would move to the next levels of asking for numbers and trying to kiss.
I dreaded this so much I didn’t sleep that night.
I was so dead scared of the next day.
And when the second day came, I was so afraid and awkward that I couldn’t do it.
Instead I asked for advice on how to talk to girls while traveling because I was about to embark on a 3 month backpacking trip. I had decided to go travel by myself to “get outside my comfort zone”.
Long story short – I felt a lot more confident after that weekend.
But unfortunately, most of my new confidence soon left me.
For the next 3 years, I continued facing my fears.
I did a lot of weird stuff during that time.
I was told I could get “rejection-proof” if I’d get myself purposely rejected.
So I walked up to 20 different girls, or groups of girls in Amsterdam.
I said: “Hey, you like me. Give me your number.”
I was horrified doing it.
I’ll tell you the whole story at some point as there are some profound lessons I learned I want to share.
I’ll shorten it for now because I’m trying to make a point here.
Basically, the first 10 times were massively painful and embarrassing.
After the 15th or so, I stopped caring as much.
After the 20th, I felt like THE MAN.
On top of the world!
But then 3 days later I lost all my painfully gained new confidence again.
After all that effort…
I also did the thing I feared most: Embarrassing myself.
I put the brightest red lipstick on my lips and in circles around my eyes.
I looked like a total weirdo.
I then went to the city center in Malaysia and forced myself to start conversations with people.
I pretended there was nothing weird going on when they would ask me what’s up with me.
It was beyond awkward.
When they would say “what’s up with your face”, I’d ignore it.
I was mocked.
Made fun off.
The first 30-45 min sucked. Big time.
The last 15 min sucked a lot less.
At the end, I hardly cared. I felt pretty confident.
But then a week later, I was almost back to square one.
While I may have kept some of the new confidence, most of it was gone again.
So I did face my fears…
… but it didn’t work very well.
Or at least, it didn’t work as well as I had hoped.
It was too scary and took way too much out of me to consistently do.
(and many people that DO consistently face their fears are still anxious because it doesn’t solve the underlying cause of the anxiety. More in a bit…)
So I went back to feeling insecure, anxious and awkward.
Every time I made plans to consistently face my fears, I came up with excuses.
I self-sabotaged. As we all do when we try to overcome our anxiety.
Because we’re anxious for good reasons.
I talk in detail about how to eliminate self-sabotage later on.
You need to to eliminate it because otherwise the changes you make will only be temporary.
Anyway, in 5 years of facing my fears, doing affirmations until I was blue in the face, hypnosis, time-line therapy, changing my thoughts, journaling, NLP, and anything self-help I could get my hands on, I made only minimal progress.
Sometimes it felt like I was going backwards.
I still had massive anxiety.
And then in early 2006 I stumbled onto this technique that changed everything.Continue Reading (Next Page >> 2 out of 3)