Social anxiety is the term we use to describe the intense discomfort in a social setting. It’s amazing how many people suffer in silence with this problem. You think you’re the only one and yet you’re surrounded by people who also struggle… but are, like you, pretty good at faking it.
In this video, I tackle the misunderstanding about confidence that makes people feel ashamed of emotions like anxiety, sadness, confusion and many more. Confident people are not emotionless robots who fear nothing. They feel the full range of human emotions, including anxiety, but they respond to those feelings a lot differently than someone with low self worth.
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Full transcript (unedited)
Is social anxiety, the same thing as a lack of confidence? Can with confident person have anxiety or be socially anxious? Let’s answer that question. Now. I think a lot of people think of anxiety as being synonymous with low self confidence, that anxiety is like a symptom of not being confident in yourself. And they assume that confident people simply don’t experience that emotion. And if that’s you, I just want you to notice their belief right now. Notice how it sounds a confident people never get nervous, never get anxious. Are you sure about that many emotions that we deem as negative, we also associated with some sort of confidence problem. We think if we lose our shit and get angry, we have a confidence problem. We think of the movie made us cry, that we’re not strong enough. Think of we’re nervous or depressed or confused, that we’re lacking something. There’s something wrong with us. And it’s got something to do with our confidence. But what if that’s not true at all? Do you really believe that confidence is nonstop happiness? That social confidence is nonstop love and connection with people? Do you actually believe that? Why? Where’s the evidence for their confidence is not nonstop happiness. I have studied very confident people for a very long time. And not one of them, has failed to display the entire range of human emotions, not one. They all feel everything. Confidence isn’t a feeling isn’t that yeah, I’m doing well feeling that might be happiness, a nice emotion to experience now and again. But you’ll find it so much more helpful to think of confidence as a way of being a consistent way of being. It’s in your behavior and your actions where confidence is measured, not in how you feel. Socially confident people still feel anxiety, they feel all the emotions they not might not feel them to the intensity and the degree that certain low self confidence people feel them, they might not escalate them, and compound them with miserable self image. But the initial normal natural human emotion, they certainly feel those, they just react to emotions differently. See, a low self confidence person will react to certain emotions with shame and misery, and they’ll compound them, they’ll feel nervous, and then they’ll feel angry that they got nervous. And then they’ll feel embarrassed that they got angry about being nervous than what Dr. Russ Harris talks about this kind of stacking of emotions where one emotion reacts to another emotion. Because confident people just have the single emotion because they got no problem with it. They don’t have an emotion about the emotion. They just have that emotion. And so they have a quite different experience emotionally than other people do. See, what you think of as social anxiety is really just normal anxiety compounded by shame and confidence problems. Normal anxieties, fires a little bit of a buzzing in your stomach a heightened sense of awareness that can actually be a kind of thrilling experience. Like the thrill of walking out on stage before your band plays to a massive audience mean that’s a good feeling. I’d rather have that than happiness most of the time. But if you’re ashamed of being anxious, then that’s going to become a nightmare for you. So one way to think of confidence, social confidence is really shamelessness. They don’t think there’s anything wrong with how they feel. They are totally at peace with whatever emotion arises. They don’t have a hierarchy, happiness at the top and anxiety at the bottom. They’re all equal. Members of the committee, every emotion counts, every emotion is helpful. That’s the perspective. And so when they have an emotion, their response to it is so different to someone who’s struggling, if you’re ashamed of anxiety, and if you call it social anxiety, you probably are ashamed of it, you’ll either fake it, which is your pretend to feel the opposite. You know, You’ll pretend to be really confident when you’re dying inside kind of thing. You’ll hide it. So you’ll just merge into the background, not letting anyone see that it’s happening. I hope that you don’t get caught or your apologize for it. Like you let it be known that you’re feeling this way. But in a really shameful way. Like you’ve done something wrong. Well, you might suppress it, you just get drunk or whatever to try and, you know, drown the feeling. Of course, these approaches to having anxiety lead to disastrous results, socially speaking, if you’re faking it, you’ll only have superficial connections and you’ll feel alone, even when you’re surrounded by friends. If you’re hiding it, then you’re not really interacting with people and you can’t get intimate with them. So you’ll just have no connections or none of any value. And of course, if you apologize and you’re shameful about it, you’ll provoke either pity or scorn from other people. So they will look down on you whether it’s with compassion or not, they’re still looking down on you. And of course, if you suppress it with Alcohol and drugs and so on, then you really don’t have any social experience that just doesn’t count. It’s like you weren’t even there. My biggest ever social revelation was that conference, people do have these emotions. They’re just shameless about it. And they can just say it without any sense of apology. And it actually becomes really endearing. My first ever experience of this, which I wasn’t mature enough to understand at the time, was I was at a party, there was a girl who actually had a crush on at the time. And her boyfriend was making a speech for a birthday. And a speech was just one line. I remember it perfectly word for word, you still make me nervous. Every girl in the whole party swooned when he said there, and I was just drawn to the floor. What? How can you reveal that you’re nervous, and everyone likes you even more. Their thought had never occurred to me in my life, that that was possible. I thought, nervousness must be hidden, along with other things like confusion and lust and anger. Or there is an emotion that if it gets revealed, you have it, you’re out, you might as well move to another town, everyone’s gonna dismiss you. The idea that it could actually be your strength, that people would like you more because of it. I just couldn’t wrap my immature little brain around that fact, that was clearly in front of me, this guy had the girlfriend that I wanted, and every other person in there probably wanted them as well. And he wasn’t a particularly amazing guy. But the way he said things like this sparked a little seed in my brain of understanding like, okay, there’s something here that’s happening that I don’t do. And if I knew what it was, things would change for me own it rather than either. That is the secret. Once I discovered that secret. My social life changed dramatically. My struggles with woman went away completely. My inability to trust whether or not my friends were real, solved. Previous beefs I’d had with certain family members resolved. Right? This was the key. I had to reveal what I feel, even if it’s anxiety, as if it’s totally fine. And in doing so, I made it fine. It was talking about it like it’s okay, that made it okay. I once stopped a girl on the street and told her that, you know, I thought she was gorgeous. And I wanted to say hi. And she was a little suspicious, because she couldn’t believe that I was this confident. That’s how she put it. So what’s up with this, because I’ve been, you know, practicing this kind of socializing for a while, and I was pretty comfortable with it, at least bold enough to do it. And she just couldn’t get her head around it. She had never seen this done before. She told me there must be a scam or something. She’s like, you’re too cool and confident. Something’s up. As they know, I’m not. And I took her hand and I put it on my chair so she could fill and my heart was pounding. I was nervous, nervous as shit, I was just so used to being nervous and doing it anyway, at this point that kind of didn’t occur to me that I might not appear to be nervous. There’s a bias called the spotlight effect, I think it is, which is you think you’re so much more obvious than you actually are. And you think that all your thoughts and feelings are right there on the surface when actually you’ve got a poker face. And I was experiencing that I thought it was obvious that I was nervous, but to other people, it really wasn’t. And when I put her hand, and she could feel it, that’s undeniable evidence that I’m having strong feelings, nervous feelings. She melted like a candle. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. She was so stoked that she had had that effect on me. And so amazed by the contrast between my behavior and my feelings that I could behave confidently while feeling nervous, that in itself became the conversation, we had this idea that you can be nervous and confident she had never considered that before. Now, it’s not like she’s still in my life or anything. But that was just such an amazing experience for us to have together. And all I did was own my nervousness, I put it out for everyone to see. And it was her favorite but social anxiety is just anxiety in a social setting. We don’t need to give it an extra name and make it sound like it’s some other thing. It’s just being ashamed of being anxious when you’re around other people. That’s it. We all get anxious around other people, we should be to some extent, if they’re strangers or to new environment and make sense to be on edge a little bit. Other people are the biggest threat to people that there is I mean, we’re humans were top of the food chain, the most likely thing to harm you is another human being anxious as fine, anxious as sensible. The walk around thing, yay, everybody’s fine all the time, you’re gonna get hurt. So why you think it’d be wrong to be anxious in a new environment, especially if you have other things that contribute like if you have mental illness or you’re more introverted, there’s certain things where you’re more likely to be anxious, or there just makes sense. Why would it be considered wrong and shameful? Anybody who gives you shit about being anxious is a horrible person that you shouldn’t have in your life anyway. So it’s a great qualifier below, oh, man, I’m so nervous right now. And they’re like, loser and just be like, Okay, that’s not going to be my next friend. That’s simple, don’t need to waste time there. Stop telling yourself that you’re afraid of other people, because it’s not quite true. You’re just ashamed of anxiety. And if you weren’t other people wouldn’t intimidate you so much you’re worried about the response to your anxiety not about actually be a threat and a general sense. You can practice this by doing what I call showing up without pressure. So if you want to build your social skills and your social confidence, that you want to do it without feeling pressure and feeling like it’s a big chore, just give yourself the minimal possible push, which is show up. Right, whatever the event is, let’s say you’ve been invited to a party, at least get to the party, you don’t have to stay very long, you’re allowed to leave whenever you like, but don’t stay home to the least arrive at the party. And then if you can try to initiate a conversation with at least one person, just say hi, introduce yourself, maybe, but no pressure to go any further with that, if the conversation naturally keeps going, and you feel comfortable to keep doing it, then you do. But if it doesn’t, that’s fine. You don’t have to force this to any sort of destination. And then basically, you just stay at the party as long as you want to. And you leave as soon as you don’t want to be there anymore. Or you anticipate that it’s getting uncomfortable. If you do nothing but that it’s essentially a form of exposure therapy, the more often you do this, frequently without pressure, the less scary social situations will seem. And then you’ll be able to see that, hey, even if I do have anxiety, it’s fine. Nothing bad happens to me. So maybe I can talk about it. And if you are going to tell people that you’re feeling anxious, and I hope that you do use the same vibe, as you might talk about what the weather is outside today, or what you ate for breakfast, like it’s the most normal, okay thing to talk about ever. Like it’s almost mundane, like it’s not a big deal. Now, it might feel a little bit forced, even fake perhaps to talk about it like that, while you’re trying to do as you’re resetting your belief system, to acknowledge the truth that anxiety is a normal human emotion. So we’re actually being truthful, even if it feels wrong. So if you were to be truthful about anxiety, you wouldn’t attach shame to it and say, I’m a bad person for having anxiety. Now, you’re a human being for having anxiety. The only people that don’t really have anxiety are psychopaths. And everybody else who doesn’t appear to have anxiety is pretending. I promise you that I’ve studied 1000s of people they’re pretending don’t worry about it. They’ve all got it too. And the good for connection with you will say me too, or I understand the benefit connection will dismiss you reject you or be mean about it. But think of the difference between like, oh my god, I’m so nervous to be here. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I just I’m such a loser. That’s one way of saying it. Or you say like, damn, so many people here it makes me anxious. So what have you gone on? Right? It can be seen in those two different ways and you will give vastly different responses. Now if you want to accelerate your progress and become really shameless without ever feeling like you’re stepping off the cliff and doing something terrifying. Get in touch email@example.com Now help coach you through the process.