Viktor Frankl was quite right when he said that, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” However, for human beings suffering from social anxiety—fear of people and social situations—Frankl’s insight doesn’t apply in the least. For people in these predicaments, an angry comment or a funny look can be impossible not to react and feel negative about.
In fact, contemplating worst-case scenarios can fill these individuals with hopelessness and despair, and, regrettably, many people in these situations have committed suicide in the past. Human beings must be able to realize that life shouldn’t be filled with misery in order to be able to start and continue to live positively and productively; please read the list below in order to help yourself or another person who is in need of it.
#1: Fear and anxiety are liars.
Humans must be able to realize that anxiety and fear never speak the truth; otherwise, fear and anxiety will eventually own them. Do not listen to these emotions when they speak to you: “Don’t talk to that person! They’ll reject you.”; “See the way they’re looking at you? They hate you.”; “Forget about asking anyone on a date. You’re a loser. They’ll say ‘no’ anyway.”; “You’ll miss the shot (in basketball). You’ll just be a failure. Everyone will laugh.”; “You’re stuck. You can’t get anywhere in life. You’ll never amount to anything.”; “You’re doomed to a bleak, lonely existence.”; “Don’t even try. You know how this ends anyway.” Instead of listening to fear and anxiety’s advice, you’re usually far better off doing the exact opposite.
#2: Happiness and confidence are always somewhere within you.
They come from improving yourself, satisfying your desires, fulfilling significant purposes, being content, and feeling grateful.
#3: Happiness and confidence can always be summoned.
Again, when things seem bleak, a good philosophy is to take action in order to make your situation and circumstances the opposite of what fear and anxiety would urge you to settle for. So, forgive yourself for your mistakes, and realize you’re not responsible for everything. You can’t allow yourself to be too anxious to advance a relationship forward or to remember what you’re about to say altogether. You must let go of being controlled by your desires by being able to accept what happens without blaming or even judging yourself. Anxious thoughts become more powerful the longer they are permitted to fester, so writing or articulating them may be the best course of action when you sense yourself beginning to think negatively.
In the long-run, a good technique to practice is to attempt to better yourself on a daily basis, even in small ways. To start, you could try to eliminate as many unhealthy mindsets from your life as possible, such as playing the victim, pitying yourself, feeling entitled, or unnecessarily judging other people. All human beings have the power to prevent social anxiety from causing them extreme fear, guilt, or shame, and we all have the power to genuinely like ourselves—even if it seems or feels like we don’t every once in a while.
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.