In this post, I’m sharing how to get to living your full potential when you have social anxiety.
Go from a place where you are struggling and suffering, to a place where you are truly dealing with this problem from the inside out.
This is an invitation…
…an invitation to consider the journey that you can go on to get to a place where you are living your fullest potential.
What would that look like for you?
Sebastiaan: Hi, my name is Sebastiaan van der Schrier. I am a former social anxiety disorder sufferer and a social confidence coach. I help people feel relaxed, calm and at ease in social situations, public speaking, meeting new people or you name it. What I hear a lot from clients which I can definitely relate to is “Well, I have so much potential and because of my social anxiety, I cannot live my potential”. I want to talk to that and invite you to consider a different perspective.
My experience has been that I’ve had very severe social anxiety where… All right, let me think about how bad it was.
Okay, well, I would avoid going out in the weekend because then I knew that I would be in situations where I was going to get anxious and I was afraid that they were going to see me anxious. And I was afraid that they were going to think I was a loser. And I was afraid that I was going to blush and that they were going to see it and that they were going to think that I was pathetic and that I was just a little boy and that I was going to be laughed at and I was going to be ridiculed. Those were common fears that I had.
I was avoiding going out, avoiding socializing. Things that were really difficult for me were like where I’d be the center of attention or where are being groups of more than two. But even just maintaining eye contact with someone was a problem because I’d be like “Well, they can see right through me. They can see my insecurity. Almost like they can see inside my soul, they can see all these things that I’m trying to hide”.
Because I was trying to come across as this cool guy that had his act together as many people do. We all try to put our best foot forward and to never let them see your sweat. It’s actually part of the problem but that’s not what this is about.
For me it was a really big problem that affected everything in my whole life. I thought about it from the moment I would wake up and I’d be worried about it in bed at night. So, when I would wake up, I’d be worrying about the people that I would run into that day and how I was going to behave. Just the thought of that would make me anxious.
If they were going to mock me or make fun of me and how I would then freeze up and not be able to respond even though I want it to be cool and, in the moment, and have a quick ready response but I wouldn’t. This freaking mind messing with me and my heart racing and a lump in my throat and just having all these problems with myself. It wasn’t just the anxiety actually. I also had all sorts of insecurities. Really deep dark feelings, bizarre thoughts, shame, guilt feelings and I had a lot of more psychological problems than just the anxiety.
In the evening when I come home I’d be worrying about things – Where’s my life going? It’s getting worse. What if I never overcome this? How can I ever get a girlfriend? What are people thinking of me and what can I do to escape this? All of this doom thinking. I can’t exactly remember what it was but it’s been a long time. But it was just a really.
I had a lot of trouble. A lot, a lot, a lot of trouble. But there’s a good thing about that and that is that it forced me to do a lot of inner work. I simply had no option.
When I was suffering from social anxiety at first, I didn’t even know that I was suffering from social anxiety. I just knew that I was suffering, that it sucked, it was difficult that I was feeling feelings I didn’t want to feel and I couldn’t get away from it. I couldn’t stop them, it was just happening to me, I had no control over it.
When I first learned a bit about psychology and personal development and that there are things happening inside of you, your inner psychology that’s responsible for the emotions that you’re feeling for the beliefs that you’re having for the problems, the emotional problems that you’re dealing with, now I got very motivated and very inspired because I’m like “I need to get out of this mess” or I will end up in let’s not even go there but not a good place.
So, once I realized I could do something about the problems that I was having now I was like “Okay, I’m going to do something about this no matter what it takes”. And it just sounds really cheesy but I even tattooed my hand with a little cross and I did it myself with a needle to remind myself to keep going until I had the life that I wanted and then some.
I started this whole path of personal development. There are very little things these days that I haven’t had a look at or even studied or studied in depth. So, I’ve really immersed myself and gone on this massive transformation. The guy I am today, I’m 35 now so what I’m talking about my social anxiety started when I was 12.
What I’m talking about now the period that I was referring to earlier was around 16-17 because that’s when I really like started looking for solutions and I first stumbled to the information about my inner psychology and then it became clear to me how it’s possible to make a change. I’m 35 now. So, that’s almost 15 years. I’ve been at this for a long time.
If you look at the man I am today comparatively I’m so different. Not in who I am at my core but my beliefs and my values and my thinking patterns and the emotions I experience on a day-to-day basis. Like I’m happy, I enjoy my life. I feel at ease around others, I enjoy connecting with others. It energizes me. I look forward to social situations. I’m excited about dancing in public. Go figure.
I mean the thought of dancing, that already was something like no way. But publicly dancing, going out by myself, asking girls to dance, being on a dance floor, everyone watching you, being the first one to ask someone to dance. All of that, I’m not saying this to brag but it’s just it’s effortless. This is not a cool thing I’m doing. It’s just a normal thing. There’s just no anxiety.
What happens when there is no anxiety is feel normal. You just feel relaxed, you just feel at ease. There’s nothing special about it. What is not special is anxiety. It means that there’s something off. It is a sign that there’s something not right about your psychology. That’s the perspective I want you to start considering. So, what I’ve done is I’ve taken the journey to overcoming my social anxiety so that now I’m able to live my potential.
And so, the complaint that I hear from a lot of people – “Well, because of this stupid social anxiety I can’t live my potential”. Well, you’re right. Because of your social anxiety you cannot live your potential. But you’re not just flick your finger going to be able to live your potential. You need to work for it. You need to do the inner work to get to that place then you’ll be rewarded by being able to live your potential.
And sure, other people have it easier to and it’s easy to point to other people but you are dealt this hand and you’re now responsible for your shit and you have choices.
You can either choose to whine and complain and that would all be valid. I know how much the suffering is. It really, really sucks. I’m totally with you. But that doesn’t stop it. If that would stop it, you wouldn’t have the problem anymore. But it only makes it worse so you then only have the opportunity, the invitation to start looking at yourself to become more self-aware and to start addressing these problems that you’re having.
Because as you start doing that, as you start getting rid of the problem bit by bit you start moving into your potential more and more and more and more and more.
Social anxiety is an invitation to do the work to be able to live your potential. Do the work man or girl. That’s my invitation to you.
Yeah, this is a bit of a different perspective on it but it is really true. This is what it is. You are not able to live your potential when you have social anxiety. It’s just not going to happen. You’re limited in so many ways but there are reasons for why you’re limited in those particular situations and scenarios. Because your inner psychology is out of whack is one way of saying it but your brain is seeing threats in those particular situations and it’s seeing threats because of particular reasons.
There are beliefs. You might believe- “I’m not good enough. There’s something wrong with me. People don’t like me”.
Well, those beliefs you’ve learned something from somewhere. You’re not born with those. You’ve had experiences that were very emotional for which you made emotional meaning that has formed your belief that you’re walking around with today looking at the world. As a result of that your brain is perceiving threats and it’s giving you the alarm. These beliefs need to be addressed. These emotional wounds need to be healed. As you heal those emotional wounds you become stronger. As you shift those beliefs your perspective gets updated and you get to see the world as it actually is instead of reliving the painful past. And then you’re able to live your potential.
The amazing thing these days is that you can do to work and when you start applying tapping to the right targets in the right way you actually start making that progress and you can do the work to get yourself to be able to live your potential.
All right, on that high note I’ll leave you this week. Thanks for being here. You can subscribe here or there, wherever it is. I release videos like this every week.
I hope this has been helpful. Let me know your insides or thoughts in the comments below and I’ll talk to you next Tuesday for another episode of “Testimonials Tuesdays”. All right, bye for now.