Do you suffer from social anxiety? Do you feel like people judge you for everything you say or do?
If so, you are not alone. There are plenty of things that can cause feelings of anxiety and embarrassment. Whether it’s social media or interacting with people in person, most people experience these types of emotions.
The good news is that there are ways to overcome them and live a happier life with unshakable confidence.
In this article, we will cover:
- What social anxiety is and its signs
- 10 steps for overcoming social anxiety
- The benefits of removing social anxiety from your life
Let’s start by exploring what social anxiety is as we begin this journey to unlocking our ultimate self-confidence.
What Is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety, also known as social anxiety disorder (SAD), is when someone gets anxious in social situations and is mostly caused by fear of negative social judgments.
Most of us have—or have had—anxiety about being judged, at least to some degree. And for those with social phobia, it can stop them from completing everything from everyday activities to their innermost burning desires.
This is not limited to those with severe social anxiety and, in fact, it often affects more of us than you may think. For example, most of us are happy to engage in a conversation with our friends. However, many of us wouldn’t feel confident enough to walk up to a stranger and introduce ourselves.
Or you may love singing in the car or shower, but the thought of singing in public may shut you down with fear. Likewise, you may frequently dance in front of the mirror, but you may never feel comfortable dancing in front of others at a party.
See how limiting the fear of being judged can be?
Take a look at the common signs of social anxiety below to see if you recognize any in yourself or your loved ones.
Signs of social anxiety often include:
- Feeling anxious in social situations
- Fear of negative social judgments
- Feeling embarrassed or sad
- Avoiding social situations
- Feeling like people are judging you
If you experience any of these, you may have social anxiety. However, you will be pleased to know there are ways to overcome it so that it does not continue to limit you.
Let’s explore these below.
10 Steps To Overcoming Social Anxiety
If you struggle with social anxiety, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Unfortunately, this is a common barrier that many people face in their lives.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case. You can develop incredible and unshakable confidence in yourself that will allow you to finally live the life you desire and deserve—and we’re about to tell you how.
Here are our top 10 steps for overcoming social anxiety:
1. Remove your assumption that people are judging you
Do you walk into a room and instinctively feel others judging you?
Perhaps you automatically assume that the person who just made eye contact with you is criticizing your appearance internally.
While it’s possible people may judge you, they also probably won’t.
The latter is most likely in the majority of cases. This is because people are too busy doing their own thing and are too busy thinking about their own insecurities.
So, all those times when you convinced yourself that someone was judging and criticizing you, you’ll probably find they weren’t even thinking about you.
2. Understand why some people criticize others
At some point, you may find yourself in a situation where others criticize you. Interestingly, people who judge and criticize others do so because they lack something.
This could be a lack of confidence or happiness in their own life that gives them a sense of inadequacy and causes them to be unhappy people who criticize and judge themselves harshly.
Their minds are so full of negativity that they project these same feelings and words towards you. Some will want you to feel the same way they do, and others will have no idea they are even doing it because they are so accustomed to this negativity themselves.
3. Don’t let the negative words of others in
The fear of being judged is ultimately due to a fear of being rejected. So when people say they don’t like something about you, that you won’t amount to anything, or that you’re not the right person for the job, we see this as rejection.
To overcome this, understand that people’s criticisms are not judgments. They are simply an opinion. So either we let these affect how we see ourselves or we decide not to let the negative words of others in.
Instead of letting their negative opinions in, listen to your own opinion—the only opinion that matters. So, if someone doesn’t like what you are doing, wearing, or who you are… that’s okay, as long as you like it.
Then, you can go out and find other people who share your opinion and will tell you positive things that make you feel on cloud nine, such as what they love about you, that you have incredible potential, and that you’re the perfect candidate for the job.
By doing so, the negative words of others won’t matter nearly as much to you. Instead, it will simply become like water off a duck’s back.
4. Stop seeking acceptance from others
Too often, we give others the power over how we feel about ourselves. We may ask others things like, “Do I look okay in this?” “Did I do that right?” “Was I good enough?”
These are all examples of how we seek approval and love from others when truly we only need this from ourselves.
So, where do we pick up this need for acceptance in the first place?
It all stems back to when you were a child. As a child, we are dependent on our parents to keep us safe, and we yearn for and thrive off their love and approval. This is because we are dependent on them for our survival.
The problem is, as we grow into adults, many of us fail to make the transition into no longer needing this approval from others, even though our survival no longer depends on it.
Once you realize this, you can start to make changes in your life. You can begin the empowering journey to no longer look, say, or do things for the acceptance of others.
Instead, you will have the ultimate freedom to live your life as you please and discover authentic happiness.
5. Praise yourself often
While criticism withers our self-esteem, praise boosts it. That is why happy people praise themselves and others frequently.
When you praise yourself, you boost your self-esteem and grow powerful self-love that doesn’t depend on the approval of others.
Furthermore, you should know that the worst criticism in the world you can receive is your own. When you tell yourself negative things about yourself, you create limiting beliefs that strongly hinder your life.
Likewise, the best praise in the world you can receive is your own. This is because no one has the power to remove that praise and love away from you.
If you learn to frequently praise yourself and use kind, encouraging, and forgiving words with yourself, then you will be well on your way to transforming your life.
So, from now on, commit to consistently praising yourself. Swap negative self-criticism for positive encouragement to help your self-confidence flourish and protect you from being susceptible to social anxiety.
Discover our article here to explore self-love in greater detail and learn how to develop and nurture it yourself.
6. Be mindful of the words you tell yourself
When you’re in a social situation, you may be familiar with telling yourself negative things. For example, you may tell yourself that you feel nervous, that you’re going to make a fool of yourself, that people are judging you, and that you don’t want to be there.
These negative words form the blueprint that your mind and body move towards.
So, we have to understand the rules of the mind and re-write this blueprint.
Update how you think about yourself and the social situation you are in. Then, when you get those feelings of nervousness, tell yourself that you are super excited. Remember, our minds believe what we tell them, so you will begin to process your nerves and fear as excitement.
Tell yourself, “I’m excited,” “I’m happy,” “I want to be here.” Then, remind yourself that everyone in the room feels the same wayㅡhappy to talk, listen, and have fun together.
Once you make these decisions, you have your new and improved blueprint. A blueprint that will guide you to positive feelings of self-confidence in social situations. Because the power of words means that when you change your language, you can change your life.
7. Develop strong resilience
By allowing the words of others to negatively impact you, you are giving them all the power. Instead, you should decide not to let the negative words of others affect you.
Allowing negative words to resonate with you causes you to doubt and punish yourself, especially when interacting with others. You shouldn’t give anyone the power to judge you, reject you, and remove love from you in this way.
This can cause you to develop a fear of socializing, leading you to avoid social situations altogether out of fear of potential judgment from others.
This type of social withdrawal can perpetuate the cycle of social anxiety by leading someone’s self-esteem to decrease even further due to isolation from social experiences.
Instead, develop strong resilience. Tell yourself that others cannot judge you—only you can judge you. Then ensure those judgments you make about yourself are full of praise, kindness, and forgiveness.
For example, have the opinion of yourself that you are smart, beautiful, interesting, intelligent, and worthy, and that is the only opinion that matters.
Practice this, make it become second nature to you and you will change your life. No longer will others hold the power to make you feel bad and insecure about yourself.
8. Don’t compare yourself to others
One of the biggest negative impacts social media can have in our lives is the unhealthy comparison it perpetuates between ourselves and others. This can be with people we know or those we follow because we admire their lives, often leading to feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.
People often feel anxious about what they post on social media because they are worried about what others will think of them. They may also feel self-conscious about the number of likes or comments they receive. This is sometimes referred to as “social media anxiety.”
And so, while social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, social media anxiety can also have a strong link to social anxiety.
However, unhealthy comparisons can also be rife in social situations when you are placed with a variety of people.
For example, those who feel they lack social skills in comparison to others are more likely to experience social anxiety. They compare themselves to others they deem to be more outgoing and energetic in their interactions. As a result, they may think that others will find these people far more fun to be around, leading them to feel insecure and in fear of rejection.
There are also many other factors that people use to compare themselves to others, such as attractiveness, success, and wealth to name a few. However, you will never feel it necessary to compare yourself to others when you’re content with who you are.
By not comparing yourself to others, you will be far less likely to feel insecure or unhappy with yourself.
9. Understand that no one is perfect
Don’t envy those who appear perfect. For one, perfect people don’t even exist. But more importantly, and rather surprisingly, they are typically the most lonely and unhappy of us all.
That’s because they are often so concerned with what others think of them that they don’t ever let loose, have fun, and live the life they truly desire.
People feel a connection to those who are similar to them. This means that we typically choose to surround ourselves with people who share our vulnerabilities as it allows us to feel understood. Conversely, when we meet someone who appears perfect, we can sometimes feel like they have no similarities with us or that we have no way to bond and connect with them.
Therefore, embrace the fact that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes throughout our lives, and that’s what makes us human. Know that the people who love you don’t expect you to be perfect. Most importantly, you should love yourself enough to not expect yourself to be perfect too.
10. Know that you are enough
The common factor all people who suffer from social anxiety have is the feeling that they are not enough. At some point in their life, these people will have learned they were not good enough, not beautiful enough, not talented enough, or not successful enough to be loved and accepted unconditionally.
However, this is simply not true.
The truth is, you are enough—you always have been and you always will be. Truly believing you are enough is the best way to grow your self-love and eliminate limiting beliefs and the presence of social anxiety.
The ‘I Am Enough’ movement was founded by globally acclaimed therapist, best-selling author, and award-winning speaker Marisa Peer.
Here are some words from Marisa herself:
“‘I Am Enough’ is the most powerful statement of truth I have taught millions of people all over the world to use to transform their lives. Put the phrase where you will often see it: by your bed, on your mirror, fridge, phone, laptop, car’s dashboard, etc. Tell yourself out loud that you are enough, regularly and repeatedly, as this is how the mind learns. Say it in multiple tenses:
“‘I am enough, I’ve always been enough, I will always be enough.’”
The Benefits of Overcoming Social Anxiety
Now that you know the steps to overcome social anxiety, it’s high time to put them into practice and start experiencing the many potentially life-changing benefits of doing so.
By overcoming social anxiety, you will find yourself to be much more confident and happier. You will also be far less likely to compare yourself to others, avoiding feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.
People who overcome social anxiety also often become more social, as they no longer feel the need to withdraw from social situations. This can lead to discovering more fulfilling relationships and enjoying a more social lifestyle.
And finally, with all this newfound self-esteem and happiness, you will find that you can do anything you set your mind to!
Social anxiety is a fear of being judged in social situations, leading to rejection. This causes some people to become withdrawn or avoid social situations altogether.
If you are fearful of being judged, remember the only person in the world who has the power to judge you is you. The people that love you won’t judge you for the mistakes you make.
And those who don’t know you probably aren’t even judging you at all.
So, have confidence, be happy, and do things that make your heart sing. And remember to judge yourself kindly because that’s when you will see a tremendous change in your life.
Download Marisa’s self-hypnosis audio, Overcome Social Anxiety, to wire and fire in self-acceptance and unshakable confidence in yourself to live the happy and fulfilling life you deserve today.