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In this post, I’m sharing something very exciting…
… how would you like to overcome your social anxiety in paradise?
I’m being interviewed by my buddy Tom Woodfin as we cover an upcoming healing retreat experience that we will be hosting for seven lucky individuals who want to overcome their social anxiety.
The retreat is happening in Bali, April 2019.
If you are skeptical, listen in and hear more about it. I’m sharing my answer to some objections you may be having as well as the benefits of attending a retreat like this.
“If you’re solely dealing with social anxiety, I’m 100% convinced that you can overcome it completely and I believe this is the fastest way to do it.” -Sebastiaan van der Schrier
Sebastiaan: Hello, this is Sebastiaan from social-anxiety-solutions.com. I’m here with Tom Whitman and Tom’s going to interview me on something very important and very essential and something very good. Tom Whitman, here it is, get up.
Tom Whitman: Hello everybody, very important and essential. Good keywords there. I want you to introduce yourself then and if you can tell us a bit about yourself and tell us a bit about the retreat.
Sebastiaan: Great, I like talking about me. This is a very informal interview. I said the questions to Tom that he should ask to me to have a bit of a dialog.
My name is Sebastiaan van der Schrier and I’m a former social anxiety disorder sufferer. I’m taking a gazillion years to solve my own social anxiety and then I started teaching other people how to overcome their social anxiety. I’ve been doing that for close to a decade now and I combined the best of traditional psychology because some of it is pretty damn good with a new and exciting field called energy psychology. And as a result of the combination of these two fields applied in the right way you can actually get amazing results. You can actually solve your social anxiety so to the point where you have none of it anymore and you can just have a good time socially, relax, go on adventures and do a connection retreat.
A little bit more about me, I blog about probably about 5,000 coaching hours now. Solely coaching people with social anxiety, helping them feel calm and relaxed in social situations. There are many testimonials of former clients that have worked with online. I interview coaches, healers, best-selling authors, psychologists, researchers, psychotherapists on my podcast show for their best social anxiety solutions. These are people that most of them are traditionally trained to have incorporated energy psychology into their practice and they’ve seen the results of their clients go through the roof. What used to take years to get progress now takes months or what used to take months now takes weeks. It’s very exciting. Or people that were totally stuck now can start getting results. That’s very cool.
Now, that’s a bit about me. I’m also the creator of the social confidence system which is an energy psychology and psychology-based program to overcome social anxiety. I’m running an online community called “The social confidence community” since six months which is really cool. I’m very excited about that. That’s not what this is about, this is about… drumroll, this is the “Connection and adventure retreat in Paradise”. Real quick as to what it is, well, that’s the name, it’s going to be April 18th. There are a few more spots available and it’s super exciting. Why I asked Tom to interview me is because we live together in Chiang Mai which is probably like five or six years ago now, I’m not exactly sure how many years, maybe longer than that. And at the time, I was doing the coaching already and we were getting into these things and Chung Mai is also an interesting place which is beautiful and back then we were having chats already about, “Hey, how cool would it be to put a bunch of healers together, to put a bunch of coaches in one place and if you have the best of the healing modalities and a group of people who want to go through a transformation? That would be super cool”.
At the time we didn’t really have the connections and I was only coaching for a few years at the time. I don’t think I would be able to actually do it but now we’ve come to the point where that’s actually possible. April 18th it’s going to be me leading the thing, Tom assisting the thing, and running at least one of the days. We’re going to have seven people on the retreat. It’s me and Tom and then seven of you guys and what we’ll be doing is we’ll be doing workshops and adventures. The focus is of course on overcoming your social anxiety and connecting. So, connecting in a deep and profound way. Connecting with yourself and shedding all the stuff that’s in the way of being connected to yourself and then from that place connecting with others. It’s a very special dynamic because for one, we’ll be staying in a supercool villa, all of us and we’ll be spending our waking hours together. They’ll be sharing in circles, there will be workshops where you’ll be guided through different kinds of psychology and energy psychology practices for example psych-k, local synthesis, intention-based energy process. And it won’t just be techniques that you’ll be experiencing because we have the group dynamics which makes things very, very interesting because there are certain things that I cannot do in a one-on-one session and they’re also certain things I cannot do over Skype. But I can do those things in a group formation.
It’s something very special when you’re sitting with a group of people who have the same kinds of issues that you have and you feel deeply heard and you’re sharing. There’s a special kind of bond and connection that is formed there. While we’re doing that will be helping everyone to shift through their deepest fears their most deeply held limiting beliefs and really transform all of the crap from your past or at least as much as possible from it so that you can be in the present and from that place you can connect. That’s just the workshop side of things. We’re going to do a bunch of adventures and when I’m sharing this to other people, I’m doing a retreat, I’m really excited about it also because I’m going to do all these adventures that I wanted to do anyway that I haven’t done yet that are going to be very fun and very cool. You’ll be prepared for those.
So, in the morning we might have a workshop. It’s like, “Alright, this is what we’re going to do in the afternoon for example, we’re all going to go to the waterfall and we’re going to hang out at the waterfall and we’re going to swim there and we’re going to be brought there and then after the waterfall we’re going to go to a sauna and we have the whole place to ourselves for example”. Well, what fears does that bring up for you? Well, maybe fears of “I’m going to meet strangers, I’m going to be observed, I’m going to be made fun of or what if I don’t fit in or what if I don’t have anything to say when we sit around the campfire and sip tea”. All of your stuff is then going to come up which we’re then going to work through and then we’re going to have the experience and then after we come back to our retreat, our villa, we’re going to sit in a circle again and we’re going to talk about well what came up for you as that went on. Well, this, that or the other? Okay, and everyone is then going to share so your stuff is going to come to the surface and then we’re going to work through it. We’re going to use these energy psychology techniques and whatever group sharing techniques in order to facilitate the releasing of that crap that came up. Bit by bit you’re freeing yourself and then it’s alright how about the next day? Well, the next day we’re going to do this. How do you feel about that? Well, scared. Great, let’s work on that. We have a daily process of having a workshop and having an adventure and you will have plenty of recovery and integration time as well. If we’re doing something in the afternoon then your evening will be mostly free. What can you do in the evening? What can you do when you’re free? Well, you might go for a swim because we have a gorgeous swimming pool under the palm trees inches overlooking the jungle. It’s an incredibly nice place. You can hang out, you can read a book, you can spend time with others, you can go through the village, you can do whatever you want. That’s up to you with plenty of relaxation, integration time and me and Tom will be hanging out there the whole time. Did I miss anything Tom? You have anything to add to that?
Tom Whitman: Yeah, I was just going to say it to clarify then because it’s almost like you’re saying we’ll bring up the things in the fears like the apprehension about other thing and then doing the thing and then afterwards processing the thing and it would be like kind of real time processing. That’s a difficult thing to get in real life. It’s not often that you can go into the real world and then have somebody with you to kind of go through that thing and then process it at the same time. What you’re saying about the group dynamic is the group energy and the group bond is very different. It’s the kind of thing that you can’t really get with one on one stuff necessarily. Especially if it’s so specific in people are working on like the same issues like the same patterns.
Sebastiaan: By the way, why I’m doing this with Tom, aside from the fact he’s one of my closest mates and it’s going to be a lot of fun, but Tom’s been leading a whole bunch of these retreats and group things and breath work and all of that stuff. One of my new year’s resolutions was to do a bit more of the hippie stuff here. One of my one of my buddies Cyrus he had been saying I should go, you should come to this connection. You just come to this conscious communicating and authentic relating workshop. I’m like alright fine I’ll go there. So, I’ll drag myself there and it was a good time and just sitting in a circle and having people share. One of the first exercises was you sit in a circle and you say your name and the three emotions that you’re experiencing. Super simple basic exercise. So, people are like alright, so my name is Sebastiaan and I feel a bit unsettled today and I also feel relaxed and I’m curious for example. And then afterwards we were sharing about how it felt to bring up those three emotions, how did it feel to share your name and those three things. We talked about the feeling that we had come up. So, it’s kind of like meta talking about your feelings.
Now, I felt fine doing that but there were other people as well that that said, “Well, when that happened for me, I felt uncomfortable but as I’m now sharing that was uncomfortable for me saying my name and those three emotions, now I feel more comfortable about it and I feel more accepted and I’ve shared my experience”.
That’s just it like a small tiny example of what you can do in group dynamics. There are tons more stuff but I think you brought up a very good point. It’s very difficult when you’re by yourself or you’re at home to go face your fears and get feedback on it…
Tom Whitman: And be supported in it as it happens.
Sebastiaan: Right, exactly, that’s totally different. And it’s also going to bring stuff to the surface which you might not have known that was there. And it’s going to be I say facing your fears. Yes, you’re facing your fears but you’re not forcefully facing your fears. We’re dealing with the stuff that makes the fears this big ahead of time so that the fear is only this big and yes, you go a bit outside your comfort zone but not to the point that you can’t handle it and overwhelms and you have an anxiety attack. So, you just go a little bit outside of it where yes, it’s a bit uncomfortable but you can handle it and from that place big growth happens quickly. And then the group dynamic as well and the support and seeing that other people are going through the same stuff that you’re going through is going to be tremendously liberating and it will be a very compassionate environment that you find yourself in for a whole week and that’s just going to do stuff for your inner world like you wouldn’t believe it.
Tom Whitman: It’s like the way you’re describing it, it’s equal measures of challenge and supports. A little bit of challenge, a little bit of support. Like the group holding each other in that and being able to support each other to integrate the things that come up. I think it’s a really important point that you brought up there, you kind of do need to go outside your comfort zone to grow but you can’t go too far out otherwise it takes you out so you need that kind of support there just to be able to push you and grow you and build confidence, build character which I think is really the key to what you’re talking about.
Sebastiaan: Absolutely. Also, being on something like this you can’t hide, and you also don’t want to hide and when you’re going at something yourself your subconscious resistance will try to sabotage you and you have these procrastination behaviors and you don’t feel like it and you’re tired. This is seven days where are you going to go through a massive transformation and there’s the dynamic of the group that pulls you with the group. You have the group dynamics so it’s inevitable that that transformation is going to happen. That’s what I mean what you can’t hide from it, it’s going to happen. I think that’s very exciting as well.
Tom Whitman: Yeah, okay. Well, that’s exciting, I’m excited. I don’t agree with some of this stuff, maybe I’m having doubts, what kind of doubts?
Sebastiaan: Yeah, I do have.
Tom Whitman: Okay, yeah, exactly. Why might I be doubtful about this? There are some things I’m still unsure about so why don’t you fill in?
Sebastiaan: I’m walking through the office and you’re not supposed to talk there so that’s why I was whispering a bit. I have all these people looking at me foul.
You’re speaking for people watching this or listening to this, what doubts might they have?
Tom Whitman: Yeah, exactly.
Sebastiaan: Well, I’ve listed them actually and here they are. I think people might have six doubts and I’ll quickly go over them. The first one is people think it’s not worth it because I can’t change anyway so I’m going to debunk these doubts hopefully. At least I’m going to do my best. All right, so, it’s very common for people to think “I’m the toughest case ever because I’ve tried everything”. You haven’t but “I’ve tried a lot of things and they haven’t worked for me so there must be something wrong with me”. Okay, so, that’s a common experience for people but yes, you’ve tried things, but you haven’t tried everything, and you haven’t tried to apply a bunch of things. Maybe you’ve tried facing your fears, maybe you’ve tried meditating, maybe you’ve tried tapping, maybe you’ve tried logo synthesis, maybe you tried all these various techniques. But they are just techniques, there’s a difference in applying techniques in the right way. Maybe you’ve applied them in the right way, but you haven’t applied them consistently over a period of time. Maybe there’s the human touch that you need or maybe there’s a variety of things that can be in the way of why you haven’t transformed yet. If you’re dealing with social anxiety alone because I can only speak for social anxiety because some people have social anxiety plus severe depression or social anxiety plus multiple personality disorder or social anxiety plus something else, I cannot speak for that something else because I’m not specialized in. But if you have social anxiety alone you know I am a hundred percent convinced that you can shift that completely.
Even if you believe that you are tough case, tough case thinking comes from I try things and I fail. Now I get evidence that it doesn’t work. I try another thing and I had to muster up a lot of courage to get myself to do another thing and again it feels. Now I get more evidence that things just won’t work for me. Try another thing and now I’m starting to become skeptical because my brain is trying to protect me from trying new things because every train every time I try something it fails on me and I feel even worse than before and I get the confirmation that everything sucks and nothing works for me and I’m just a broken person and so on. You’re not a broken person if you just have social anxiety. By the way if you have something else than social anxiety there are other people that can help you with that as well. Let me be clear, it’s just not me.
Social anxiety is the result of your brain receiving a threat. Your brain is seeing danger in a social situation or your brain is perceiving that it’s not safe to be you. That’s learned. That’s a learned pattern in your brain. It’s just programming. That programming is not permanent, that programming can be changed. For example, if you perceive danger in a social situation and you don’t feel safe to be yourself that is because you’re perceiving a threat and that threat is a result of beliefs that you’re having. For example, I’m not good enough, I have to be perfect to be accepted, there’s something wrong with me, people don’t like me, and I have to get everyone’s approval. For example, just some random common beliefs. When you’re having these beliefs, it doesn’t allow you to be yourself and these beliefs all they are is just thoughts you’ve been thinking over and over and you’ve they feel true to you and why do they feel true to you because you have emotional evidence to back up these beliefs. For example, let’s take one of them, “I’m not good enough”. All right, you’ve learned somewhere that you’re not good enough. Maybe your dad was very critical, or your parents had high expectations on you, or they were perfectionistic, or he had an alcoholic father or whatever. Somehow because you were criticized all the time your brain picked up, “Okay, what is going on here?” and being criticized all the time, what’s the conclusion? “I must not be good enough”.
All right, so, those are emotional reference experiences that back up that belief that you’re indeed not good enough. Maybe you were 12 and you asked this girl out and you got rejected and you got another piece of evidence that you’re indeed not good enough. And I could say multiple ages for that. Then you have these beliefs and these reference experiences are the evidence that hold up these beliefs. What we can do is we can go to these reference experiences whatever they are, sometimes you’re already conscious of them sometimes you’re not and we can shift that around, we can move that around and we can release and process the old stuck emotions from back then so you’re no longer reliving the past. We actually get into the present so you’re 34-year-old self or you’re 46-year-old self or you’re 23-year-old self instead of reliving the feelings from when you were 12 and you got rejected or when you were 5 and your dad was constantly criticizing you and so on. And in that way, you systematically step-by-step chip away at these beliefs. Once these beliefs are no longer there, you’re no longer filtering the world through these unhelpful ways of seeing and as a result when your brain doesn’t see danger it doesn’t have to alarm your brain that there’s danger and you don’t feel anxiety anymore. That’s where you calm and relax. That’s for you, that’s for me, that’s for everyone, okay? So, you can definitely overcome it. I’ll run through the other ones much quicker.
Alright, so, what other concerns that you might have when you think about coming? Number two, “I’m afraid to face my fears” or I’m afraid to face my demons. I’m afraid to look at my inner world”. What I want to say to you is this, you’re already dealing with that. You’re going through that often. When you’re having a bad day, you’re facing your demons. When you’re thinking about this social situation and you don’t want to go, you feel this fear you’re dealing with it. You’re already dealing with it, you’re being tortured by it and so, what we’re doing on the retreat is we’re bringing them up but weird ringing them up in a safe environment not to the point where you’re going to get overwhelmed. There’s going to be a ton of laughter, there’s going to be a very light and playful attitude around these issues. You’re going to come to a place or at least that’s the intention where you’re able to see that your issues are just your issues and you’re separate from them. You have them but it isn’t you, it doesn’t define you and you’ll be able to see “Okay, I’m just reliving this old stuff. I’m just repeating these patterns but I’m not these patterns”. You’re going to feel a lot more compassionate towards yourself and you’re going to get a totally different relationship with the anxiety for whatever might be left of it and your own issues. Yes, it will be scary, yes, you’ll experience negative emotions, yes, there will be uncomfortable moments. It’s all okay, we’re going to create a different relationship with these feelings because then you don’t have to run away from feelings anymore. When you actually say yes to the emotions and you use these processing technique as you’re saying yes to them, you’re allowing your feelings to be and you’re becoming more whole. You’re becoming a more wholesome integrated being and that is tremendously relieving like you wouldn’t believe it. That’s when you actually feel liberated when you don’t have to run away from feelings anymore. That’s a lot of what we’ll be doing. Accepting our feelings, accepting ourselves and coming to terms with what’s going on in our inner world and being able to say yes to reality and having a feeling that I can handle whatever life throws at me.
Tom Whitman: Yeah, well, I think the alternative of not looking at the fears is like it’s way worse is this expression that regret is way worse than discipline or something like that where you think about it. I think people often don’t let themselves see how deeply sticking with these kinds of beliefs and ideologies is really going to affect them. It’s like the alternative of not looking at them is worse than the alternative of looking at them.
Sebastiaan: Yeah, exactly. I’m so relieved that I’m not living in my own mind anymore of like 10-15 years ago. That was an absolute pure torture and the way I saw it at the time when I realized there was a solution. I’m like I have no other option than to go for that solution. People say, “Oh, you’re so persistent”. Yeah because it sucked so much to be there and I found something that work, why the hell would I not be doing it? I was just in so much pain like a life was ridiculous, I wake up and I’d be scared the whole day anticipating all the potential disasters that were going to happen that day being dead afraid of it not being able to escape from it. My little escape was sometimes being drunk or in the beginning when I wasn’t getting panic attacks while smoking weed yet being stoned. But for the rest at a time I was just at war with myself fearing that I was going to blush, fearing that it was going to be criticized, fearing that something would get triggered in a social situation I wouldn’t be able to control myself, worrying that people wouldn’t like me, being put down feeling bad about myself after social situations. It’s like a constant torture that consumed my thinking, my feeling, my behaving, my whole life. Not even to mention how much it limited my potential because I’m like I have a lot of potential but how can I ever live my potential if I’m afraid to feel certain feelings? There are places that I can’t go to. This I have to avoid that’s that I have to avoid because I just can’t bring myself to go to these places because I know that it’s going to suck. I’m going to be super anxious, I’m going to be uncomfortable, I feel insecure, I feel less than them. It was a bad time. Having the opportunity to release that it’s just amazing. So, it’s good thing, that’s the conclusion.
Alright, three it will be awkward. The concerns of people it will be awkward. Here’s my answer, yes it will be, but it won’t be awkward the whole time. And this is a little bit of a repeat of what I said earlier, you’re going to create a different relationship with your feelings and awkward is a normal experience of people. Everyone feels awkward sometimes and it’s how you deal with these feelings and the mindset that you have around it that determines how you handle upcoming awkward situations. It’s yet another thing. If awkward is such a problem for you then you have to avoid that. And when you’re okay with awkward then whatever you are okay with it or not awkward is going to happen in your life. And when you’re alright with awkward that’s a very liberating feeling. And so, yes, we will have awkward moments and in fact I’m going to bring up awkward moments on purpose to bring up your emotions around that and to bring up your beliefs about that and then we tap through them or we do logo synthesis through them or we laugh through them or we do connection exercises through that so that in the future when awkwardness comes up where or rather when an awkward situation comes up, you can deal with it or you can even laugh with it or play with it and that’s when life becomes a lot more fun. And then you can also be a lot more spontaneous and you don’t have to be so rigid and everything has to be in control all the time.
Four, here we go, “I won’t fit in the group won’t like or accept me and I’ll end up alone”. Yeah, that is not going to happen, and that kind of thinking is your social anxiety doing the talking. So, not fitting in and feeling that you won’t belong, that is a common experience from someone who feels anxious connecting. Well, each and every one on the retreat is going to have that experience. It’s only going to be for people with social anxiety, right? So, everyone has the same feelings everyone has or at least very similar feelings and experiences. And so, you’ll be able to relate to these kinds of feelings and that will bring up a bonding. That’s one thing. Secondly, we’re going to have like seven days of going through workshops together, breath work together, healing together people you will observe people making transformations, you will be making transformations I’ll be working with people in front of the group, everyone will be tapping along. We will be going out to have different experiences together like you’re going to you’re going to experience a connection with people at the end of these seven days that you’ve probably never felt before. And I’m curious to see how I’m going to feel as well because I don’t think I’ve spent that intense a time with nine people ever. So, I’m very excited about that as well. You’re definitely not going to be left out and we’ll make damn sure that you’re as included as the rest is. It’s a very intimate setting just nine people. So, yeah, it’s going to be really cool. At any point if you have anything to add Tom just blurt it out.
Tom Whitman: All right. No.
Sebastiaan: Well, okay, five. Number five, “I’m scared to travel alone”. Yes, alright, I can understand that. Not everyone has traveled by themselves and this was actually brought to my attention by friends. Well, some people might be scared to travel alone. Yeah, right, I don’t really think about that I don’t know much to say about that other than it’s very simple to book a ticket, it’s kaya.com it compares all the flights of different flights, you can pick your time, if you’re one of the people is actually going to come to the retreat I’ll tell you the right times to fly so you can minimize your jet lag. It’s very simply, you show up at the airport, you’re there on time, you get your ticket, you get your seat.
Tom Whitman: Yeah, you might survive. You might make it.
Sebastiaan: It is really simple. And then once you arrive in Bali, my friend comes to pick you up he’ll have a big smile he’d be like hey welcome, you’ll be driven to your hotel or whatever where you stay for the first two days to acclimatize before the actual retreat happens and then the retreat happens. That’s five. I don’t know what else to say about this. It’s alright, it’s not the end of the world to fly. You’ll watch your movies I like it these days not the super long ones.
Number six. So, why else might you not come? Well, it’s outside my comfort zone.
Yes, what it is, and it is scary, and it is uncomfortable, but this is where change is going to happen, and this is where profound transformation is going to happen. Think about all right, what if I don’t take any action and I keep living the way I’m living? What’s your life going to look like in a year from now or five years from now or ten years from now? All right now turn it around. What is your life going to be like if you actually take this action and you’re going to make this transformation? That’s by the way going to last you a lifetime. How are things going to be different if you tell yourself okay, this is going to be uncomfortable but I’m going to get the benefits from it. Rather than focusing on the discomfort focus on the benefit that you’re going to get from that. And some people do, and some people don’t, it’s up to you. It’s all summed up, not much I can say about that. What about you Tom? You have anything?
Tom Whitman: Yeah, I think it kind of applies to five as well. It’s like yeah you’re going to go through some discomfort well enough because that’s what life is more or less is plenty of discomfort and then you heal things up again and I just think that well, getting on a flight can be uncomfortable and it’s like yeah right well sure, so is social anxiety, so is living in fear, in your little kind of cave of like speaking to people interacting. It’s almost like the comfort challenge can start with something like getting on a plane and then from there it’s like okay, well, maybe the first thing we can do is start to figure out all the stuff that happened when you were on the journey that came up for you and it’s like right well there’s a good entry point, that’s a good way to get involved and get stuck into the thing that we’re doing and yes, it’s off like those pain points of where the transformation occurs. I mean it’s a good thing. You can trigger yourself and then be held in that/
Sebastiaan: Exactly, yeah, and it’s becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable alluded to that in what you said earlier. Being able to hold on comfortable emotions and still be able to function.
Tom Whitman: Yeah absolutely.
Sebastiaan: It’s great. All right, so those were the six reasons.
Tom Whitman: It’s obvious that you will have doubts, you have doubts about everything and I think that’s just a natural proclivity every time there’s some kind of change that people want to go through. It’s like, “Should I be doing this? Should I be doing this?” and that’s always going to be the case maybe that you going to have a policy brain and not going to want to change that are going to kind of put in subconscious resistance as to the “Why shouldn’t do this, why should stay in this stable safe state of where I am?”. But it’s like you don’t let yourself see how insidious that stability and safeness can be. It’s like I’m safe with my identity as a social anxiety sufferer but that’s not really safe. It’s like if you really let yourself see how painful that is and avoid all of the numbing things that you might be doing to avoid it. It’s like that’s not safe at all, it doesn’t end well. I’d say as much it’s much more courageous but it’s just so much better to get on it and get at it and do something that’s going to create some shifts and transformations.
Why do you believe this a great idea for somebody to say, “Yes, we’re going for this”? That’s what I would say for myself. What do you think?
Sebastiaan: Well, first of all as you’re going through things outside your comfort zone, you’re becoming more resilient and you’re growing your comfort zone. You’re becoming more comfortable with more things and then your life expands. That’s just something that you’ll take everywhere in your life. Your career, your relationships, how you feel on a day-to-day basis, all of it. This is going far beyond the realm of getting rid of your socio anxiety.
Why am I excited about this? Well, first of all, I wrote a little list as to what I think the benefits are of a retreat like this and it’s not a conclusive list but just this is for me quickly writing something down. I’ll just go over it rapid-fire and then I’ll just say why I’m so excited.
First of all, this is a retreat that is specifically optimized to overcome social anxiety. There’s nothing of this anywhere in the world. I mean there is actually something somewhat similar but that’s a CBT one and when I read about it I’m like God you know cringing at the thought of it and this is very different. When I first read about that a couple years in them like men there must be a more fun and adventures way to do this and have more excitement and fun. Anyway, so that’s this. I think this is the fastest way to overcome your social anxiety. I spoke to David, Dr. David Lake my mentor about this and he said we’ve done this before, I’m very encouraging, I really encourage this kind of retreat because we’ve done this before him and Steve. And he said I would see people transform after a day more profoundly than they would do in these three-day workshops. And we’ve been to these three-day workshops and would you say they’re transformational.
So, that’s that. The fastest way to overcome social anxiety. Why? Well, you’re letting go of your normal environment, you’re letting go of your familiar ways of thinking, feeling and behaving and we can do things that you cannot do in a one-on-one setting. You’ll get mines and Tom’s undivided attention over a period of time. So, this is not a 90-minute coaching session this is like a 7-day intensive so we can spot your habitually unhelpful patterns and beliefs and shift them. And trust me it will be very obvious what’s going on because we’ve been doing this for a long time and when I you know I can spot it over Skype for people. Let alone if I see someone for a period of time, I can pick up okay, so you’ve got people pleasing. All right, you have trouble saying no, okay, this is going on for you, that’s going on for you. And so your biggest things your biggest problems will be out in the open very obvious and it can sound very scary and intimidating but you’re not going to be judged for that rather you’re going to be accepted regardless and we’re going to take that problem and shift it and let go of it so that that doesn’t bother you anymore.
All right, well, another thing – Build connection with like-minded people and potentially create lifelong bonds. Like I said before you’re going to be seven days intensive all sorts of adventures in paradise. April’s going to be super sunny as well very cool. You’ll be able to go much deeper than anything else I can imagine. There will be the group dynamics, you’ll be held accountable and really move through your challenges for real. You’ll notice others having the same irrational fears and beliefs and see others transform. You’ll be deeply hurt in these sharing circles. You’ll have the adventure of a lifetime as will we. You’ll get to connect with eight kind and considerate strangers on a profound level. So, I’m handpicking all the people. Not everyone can come into this retreat and I’m interviewing the people that apply. And so, I’m making group that I think is going to create a really nice dynamic and that are also going to make the biggest changes and so I’ll make sure that everyone is nice and considerate.
So, you’ll be spending time with making friends with and creating accountability partners with a team of the most committed individuals that there are because to come to Bali to fly over here to be in a retreat like that, these are committed people. You become part of a special and intimate group and we’ll be a team together to get this challenge out of the way for an extended period of time and we’ll have our own private Facebook group after just the nine of us. I get to observe you like a hawk and I’ll see your limiting beliefs and patterns that are holding you back the most and we will shift them for sure.
Now, you also get to do exposures in a gentle, fun, playful and adventures way. You get to unlock your true playful fun self and be engulfed and immersed in an energy of ease and flow for a week long. You’ll be surrounded by people that also resonate with this kind of message of social ease, of playfulness, of having a good time and in the initial email that I wrote to people on my email list I told them about when we’re in Tacloban and we were hanging out with Steve and David and how it was being in their energy.
Tom Whitman: Steve being Steve Wells and Dr. David Lake.
Sebastiaan: Right, psychologist colleague. They just have a very light, playful joking kind of energy about them and I think that it definitely impacted and inspired and affected us. I think we’re always joking around before that, but it definitely did more just being in their presence. Wouldn’t you say so?
Tom Whitman: Well, different kind of energy because like usually people get into healing and it’s a very mysterious deep thing and it is because there’s plenty of tragic things going on in the world but their abilities go into the tragedy with this kind of lightheartedness but yet depth at the same time was really something that touched me a lot and kind of resonated with me a lot and I really appreciate it. It’s like there seemed to be just an acceptance of everything about things and the ability to make light of them. And so, that was something that really inspired me.
Sebastiaan: Yeah, exactly. That’s the vibe that we’re going to bring to the retreat to the best of our ability. We’re not Steve and David but we’re going to provide a very good time. There you go. And it’s a transformation that lasts a lifetime.
Now to round things up like why do I believe it’s a great idea for someone to say yes, it is because yes, the retreat is going to be super cool, yes, you’re going to stay in an amazing place, yes, it’s going to be an adventure of a lifetime, yes, we’re going to do all these cool things together, yes, you’ll be heard, seeing, blah, blah, blah. All of that it’s going to be super cool but ultimately, it’s about the end goal. And the end goal is social ease. That’s what you’re doing this for.
Now I can’t guarantee that you’ll be socially confident forevermore and you’ll never have social anxiety ever again but you’re moving towards that and you’re going to make the biggest progress that you can possibly make in those seven days. Social ease, that’s what I’ve been doing this for myself for and this is also why I’m doing the work that I do to help others get to this place because it’s just such a good time. I now wake up and I have nothing that I’m afraid of socially and it doesn’t even cross my mind to consider that I would be afraid of something because there’s nothing I have to hide and I can just be free and I can speak my mind, I can joke around with people, I can step on people’s toes and apologize. It’s just a freedom of being that opens everything up. Eight months ago, I was like, wow, I want to get into salsa and I’m like okay I get into salsa and I’m having a playful in a fun attitude. Did some fears come up for me? Yeah. Did some discomfort come up for me? Definitely but I knew I can handle whatever comes my way and the things that will come up for me, these are healing opportunities where I can grow more.
So, for example, in the beginning you know I’m stumbling about on the dance floor and you know I see next to me all these amazing dancers and I asked a girl to dance and I know she doesn’t actually want to dance with me, this is a pity dance, right? You’ll have to suck that up and I’d make mistakes on the dancefloor, everyone’s watching you, you look like a dumbass and I’m like alright I thought I was totally comfortable with that apparently in this scenario I’m not, okay, great, let’s do some work there. There’s a tremendous freedom in that a couple of months ago. I’m like man, I want to learn from the people that have been dancing from the moment they’re born and I’ve been wanting to go to Columbia anyway and while I don’t speak the language I’m like let’s hop on a plane, I’m going to go to Columbia and I’m going to go there by myself and lets start dancing salsa there. And I’m going out and in Columbia going through these dancing clubs asking these girls to dance and as I’m there on the dancefloor like my freedom is amazing. It is so liberating to just be able to be yourself and have a good time because you can just think “I want to go and do that”. Alright, go do that. Why not? I enjoy the friends that I have., I enjoyed the community that I’m part of.
Things just start working when you’re comfortable with yourself and anything that gets you closer to that is so worth your money, time, effort, energy, moving past your comfort zone and so on. Tom what are you about to do with this whatever you recently bought and whatever what are you going to do?
Tom Whitman: Well, yeah, quickly what you’re saying there because I bet you couldn’t have imagined doing anything like that when you had social anxiety before.
Sebastiaan: Yeah, totally not.
Tom Whitman: That solving or integrating or kind of bringing it in, it’s like that’s been the foundation for you to build on and do all kinds of other things. Just getting that confidence right like okay well I can say yes to life and I can go and do this thing that I wanted to do about and felt like I didn’t really have the balls to do it or something like that. It’s like I just felt too afraid, I didn’t feel I can even get out of the starting gates because there’s people out there and people are terrible, and I have to talk to them and that’s going to be horrible for me. I think he sounds like that just that building on that base social confidence level is really enabled you to go out and live a completely different life and the kind of life that you’re living on your terms and that’s a big deal. I think if you’re going to live your life you might as well live it on your terms. For myself what was obviously all kinds of adventures that I’ve been on, but I suffered a serious social anxiety when I first went to Australia and it was like this sense of what ten thousand miles away from it anybody who cares about me. And all of this kind of built-up anxiety that I’ve been avoiding through drinking suddenly just exploded onto the seat. It was like wow, I feel every time I talk to people, I feel like I’m shaking, I’m nervous and I have like a red face I’m sweating and all these terrible things that don’t really give you more confidence in that kind of situation. But yes, since then you helped me a hell of a lot on the journey when I met you in whenever it was 2009, I think it’s like 10 years now. Yeah, that helps with a hell of a lot to integrate all of these experiences.
Recently I’m pursuing one of my longer-term dreams of buying a van and converting it into a camper and then going traveling with that around Europe. So, I’m really excited to do that but it’s almost like I couldn’t have done that without this kind of sense of growth. Because obviously I’m not done yet but this growing sense of ability of self-confidence of actually “Maybe I could do this. Maybe I could put myself out there”. Yeah, it’s a risk but I faced risks before and there could be all kinds of places where I make mistakes and fail and well, it probably going to happen but it’s almost like that’s fine. I’ll fail forward, I’ll keep doing it because I feel I can have the innate ability to actually handle the challenges that get thrown up and that’s something that is just invaluable. I don’t think I could have ever got to that stage without all of this. Certainly, a lot of stuff that you told me but the psychology and obviously for me the breath work has been huge, but all of these things have really helped to take me apart in the ways that I needed to be taken apart and put me back together again. And that’s still a journey, that’s still a journey but that comes about from taking on experiences that are just a little bit outside of my comfort zone. Something like this retreat would be that for a lot of people. It’s like here’s something that’s a bit outside of my comfort zone and then taking this on, there’s going to be some growth involved in that. And in that growth is that sense of kind of meaning of life I suppose. If we’ve the secret, there. It’s like I’m taking responsibility for myself, I’m taking responsibility for my own growth and I’m going to step into that challenge and that’s something meaningful. What could be more meaningful than that I don’t really know but yeah, that’s what it seems like to me.
Sebastiaan: Accepting your feelings, self-acceptance and trusting yourself to the point where you feel confident that you can handle whatever comes your way, there’s a massive liberation within that and from that place you can connect with others. And then should I say it then the world is your oyster? Let’s be serious about this.
All right, but I think we’ve landed the plane on that, didn’t we?
Tom Whitman: Yeah, more or less. I’m really excited about it.
Sebastiaan: Me too.
Tom Whitman: Honestly for myself I do a fair bit of group work but it’s just a privilege to spend time with people who were genuinely interested in bettering themselves, genuinely interested in looking at the parts of themselves and they want to get to the truth of the matter and the truth of themselves and they want to live out who they’re here to be in. It’s like well, I’ve just felt really fortunate to be able to be around though that kind of energy. And so, I think it’s great, I’m really excited and impressed that people are willing to kind of do this thing because for me that’s just such a testament to the human spirit if I’m going to go off on my own cliché diva thing. But honestly, I do believe that.
Sebastiaan: Yeah, I’m with you.
Tom Whitman: I mean it’s very special.
Sebastiaan: And observing transformation it’s just very cool, it’s very cool. All right, so, conclusion, come to the retreat. Ask me the last question Tom.
Tom Whitman: That’s the proper action. So say, you’ve got me on this one, I want to sign up for the retreat where should I go to right now? How can I manifest this into a reality?
Sebastiaan: Alright, so, you do that by going to bit.ly/adventureretreatyes. Those three words in a row – adventure, retreat, yes. That’s pretty obvious. So, what happens when you go there? You fill in a little form that gets to me and I get back to you within 24 to 48 hours and you will set up a little Skype chat and we’ll get going. All right, Tom thank you very much. It was a good time.
Tom Whitman: Yeah, well, thank you, I look forward to seeing you in April.
Sebastiaan: Exactly, April 18 maybe, that’s when it’s going down. All right, signing off.
Tom Whitman: Good stuff.
Sebastiaan: All right, signing off.
Tom Whitman: Cheers.
Sebastiaan: Yeah, cheers, bye.