While meeting new people in a social situation is usually uncomfortable, people who suffer from social anxiety experience a lot more than just the normal amount of anxiety in a variety of social situations. If you have anxiety in social situations, you probably already know this fact. But what you may not know are the components that make up social anxiety.
For the most part, social anxiety is comprised of fear of criticism, fear of rejection, and problems with self-image and/or body image. Fear of criticism and fear of rejection are often rooted in life experiences such as teasing at school or an overly critical parent, but not always. Social anxiety, to some extent, is usually a part of life during the developmental phase of adolescence. But some people are not able to grow out of it. With social anxiety you will find yourself very preoccupied with what others think of you and how they see you. Sufferers take the negative ways they see themselves and actually imagine that others see them in the same way.
The truth is that when you pick on yourself, your self-image becomes very negative. It is important to become of aware of what you are saying to yourself about your self and your body. Is it negative, judgmental, critical, or harsh? Many people would never talk to someone else the way they talk to themselves. Because if they did, they would be accused of being mean and abusive. This sounds like an exaggeration but believe me it is not.
So the first step to treating social anxiety is to increase your awareness about how you talk to yourself. See if you can seek to understand where this harsh talk comes from and start to challenge it. The truth is we are not all bad or good. Human beings have their strengths and weaknesses. The best we can do is be aware of them and try our best, and that is good enough. Try to give yourself some credit each day for something you have done. And watch out for a common pitfall, comparing yourself to others. The only truly fair thing is to compare yourself to yourself and acknowledge your own progress.
Take Good Care, Suzanne