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The Self-Compassion Technique to Overcome Social Anxiety

 

[su_spacer size=”10″]SUMMARY

In this episode, I explained how being compassionate to yourself can help you overcome your Social Anxiety.



FULL TRANSCRIPTION

Have some fricking compassion for yourself. Okay? 

This is important. 

The thing is, when you’re dealing with Social Anxiety, you’re suffering. 

And I do this exercise frequently, with a client who really struggles with it, just to set the stage. I asked them: 

Think of someone that you really care about, someone that you love, could be a spouse, could be a family member, someone… 

…some human being that you love, that you care for. 

Okay, got one? 

Now think of that person, and now imagine that he or she has the worst of your Social Anxiety. The worst of it, when it’s at its peak, when it’s the most deepest, darkest, crappiest, shittiest. — Imagine that they are having that. 

Now, how do you feel towards that person that you love? 

Don’t you just want to go over and say:

Hey, don’t be so pathetic, what’s wrong with you?
Get your act together?
How weak can you be?
Look at you! You should be ashamed of yourself.
What’s wrong with you?
Oh, my God. 

Right? 

Is that your response? 

Or is it like: 

Oh, my God, you’re suffering. I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. This is tough.
I’m sorry, this is happening for you.  I’m here for you.
I’ll support you. I’m here when you need me.
I’m with you.
I’m going to stand by your side, and I’m going to be your best friend.
I’m gonna help you through this. We got this. 

Right? 

So the second version versus the first version.

How is the person that you love going to respond? 

Well, in the first way, which is how a lot of we are to ourselves internally, will worsen the Social Anxiety, will make you feel even more rotten about yourself. It exacerbates the problem, it makes the Social Anxiety bigger. 

Now the second approach, where you’re compassionate, where you come from the heart where you’re like, “I’m sorry, that you’re going through this, I’m here for you, I support you, I’m on your side, I’m here backing you up” — that’s being your own best friend. That. 

What that does to your Social Anxiety is it begins to shrink it. It calms it down. It doesn’t get rid of it, per se, but it calms it down. And that is so important. Because you are suffering. 

When you’re dealing with Social Anxiety, it is very, very difficult. 

And I know you notice, but it’s important to point it out. 

It’s important to know that you’re not alone. 

And I can tell you lots of stories from myself. And I had to learn this whole compassion thing. 

I remember, for example, living in Amsterdam, and going to my work and waking up in the morning, I’m like: “okay, this is going to be difficult” and dreading going to work. Arriving at work going up the stairs, and my anxiety – doom, doom, doom, my heart racing like crazy walking into the, into the office where I had no friends. And everyone was cool and popular. 

I think I’m like 18 at the time or something. And I just feel everyone staring at me. 

They were not probably, but it felt like that. 

And I’ll go to my desk. And there’s this one guy that I’m talking to, and I feel inferior to him. 

And he’s talking about how great his weekend was. And he asks me about it, and I’m so embarrassed about who I am and what I truly did in my weekend. I’m ashamed of who I am. I feel rotten about myself. That. 

There are attractive women that are working there. Two of them. I was very, very attracted to but I couldn’t even look them in the eyes. I was scared of them. As soon as they got close to me, I would get super super anxious. I avoided them. I was sneakily looking at them. But I avoided them. 

Right? 

Now how did that make me feel about myself? 

I’m not a real man, I’m such a wussy. I’m such a loser, blah, blah, blah, all of that kind of stuff. Now, it’s the end of the day. Now I walk home. Well I’m anxious walking home in Amsterdam, I just feel intimidated by everyone around me. 

So the weekend comes, yeah? I’m dreading that the weekend is going to come because I’m going to be asked by my friend to go out. But I’m scared to go out because here, there are girls around me. And now I’m supposed to talk to them, because I’m single under all these expectations on me. And I feel pressure. So I get drunk, because that helped. And this is not a strong recommendation for this. But this is just the way that I coped you. 

And then the next day, if I had gone out, if I hadn’t avoided and actually gone out and likely gotten drunk, I’d get so drunk and belligerent that I would wake up and I’m like, first thing I will do is I will go and see, check my pants to see if I still had my wallet or my phone, because I often would lose them because it’d be so drunk, not knowing what even happened the day before. 

And then being massively hungover. And then going through all the loops about how bad my life is. And how it sucks and how it’s never going to go in the direction that I want. And, you know, wishing that I would already be older so that there wouldn’t be this peer pressure to be somebody and have a girlfriend and all that kind of stuff. 

So this went on for years. 

It was already going on for you know, from 18 yrs old (for 6-7 years). So it is torture. I know what it is like. 

And that’s why I’m telling you, you want to be compassionate with yourself. 

Now for me, my anxiety, it started when I was 12. And it had a bunch of causes. My dad died when I was five, that’s a big T trauma, then I already had a troublesome relationship with my mom prior to him dying, then only got worse. And then my stepdad came into the picture. He didn’t like me, that didn’t help the situation either. Then I was going to be placed outside the house when I was 9, which happened. 

And so people dying or people dying, lots of things happened, that caused and contributed to the Social Anxiety developing, and me having that issue. 

I started coaching people in 2009. And so I’ve been coaching for 13 years, and I haven’t seen a single person who didn’t have at least some kind of trauma in their in their life that caused or contributed to the Social Anxiety that they were experiencing in their life. 

So it’s highly likely that you too, have experienced some kind of trauma and it doesn’t have to be like a big T trauma. It can be quite subtle. 

And it can be developmental trauma, a lot of people have overprotective parents, and because of that, they think, “Oh, I didn’t have any trauma.” 

No! 

Actually one of your needs is to be allowed to become independent and with helicopter parents that do everything for you and make you grow up super protected, that’s also trauma. 

Most of society is on informed about what trauma really is. 

So it might be helpful for you to look into that. 

Because the better you understand the actual thing that’s going on and why you’re truly experiencing Social Anxiety, the easier it becomes for you to be compassionate towards yourself. 

At one point, I called my approach – the ACT approach (Acceptance, Compassion, Tapping approach), because it’s that important. 

Okay? 

Hope this helps you. And this is just all I wanted to say to you today. 

Be compassionate towards yourself. 

Bye for now.

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