From all the work I’ve done, studied and read about, social anxiety is a learned way of operating.
Simple as that.
Put another way, we were “trained” to have social anxiety by our past experiences.
The beauty of this is that anything that’s trained into human beings can be untrained.
Even better, something new can be trained in place.
In our case we want to “untrain” our social anxiety, and train ourselves to be authentically self-confident.
So…why am I making such a big deal out of this?
It has to do with a little thing called “enjoying what you practice”.
Reframing Recovery as Training
What if instead of thinking about social anxiety as just the way you are, you think about it as a practiced way of interacting with the world?
Doesn’t that lighten things up a bit?
Not only that, but what if you think about being confident, going out there and doing your best to be social as a practice and training, instead of you doing your life wrong?
What about that you’re doing the best you can to train the skills you need to have control of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors so you can have the life you truly want?
If we approach our recovery as training and practice, we can actually start to enjoy the process and progress we’re making.
When you make a mistake you can think “oops I screwed that up…but oh yeah I’m in training, so it’s OK!”
If we think about our recovery as just that, or that life sucks until “we get there” and have overcome social phobia, we make it much harder on ourselves and our quality of life.
Because you can’t recover until you have, so why make yourself even more miserable when you can see yourself as a work in progress, and enjoy that fact?
Think about the top athletes in the world, they’re always in training – practicing to keep up their game, even when they’ve gotten to the top.
And the ones who are both successful AND fulfilled learn to love the practice and training too.
It doesn’t mean they don’t have tough moments and have times when they want to quit.
But overall they appreciate that the training and practice that got then to where they are.
Not that I’m judging, but now it’s strange to me to think that someone can think they can keep doing the same things (or nothing at all) and expect to recover from social anxiety.
That they would be a magic pill, or system even to get them through it, without doing the work required.
To get professional help from someone who’s been through social anxiety recovery, click here to read about the Dissolve Social Anxiety Program.
More Reframing: How Can I…
So how can you reframe your thinking on recovery? How about by thinking of everything as a retraining, even beyond when you recover from social anxiety?
I mean, doesn’t that feel lighter already, and take some of the weight off of your shoulders?
I hope something with this resonates with you here.
How can you truly be in the mode of practice when it comes to your mindfulness skills to handle negative thoughts and feelings, or doing your self-talk, doing your exposure work, practicing your social skills all as training upgrades.
You’ve got to drop your perfectionist tendencies and see everything as practice.
Learn to really enjoy the practice of everything you do.
Never as you doing it wrong, blaming yourself, or even blaming the technique or method you’re doing.
If you play the blame game, it will just be too easy to play narcissist/victim, and want to give up too easily.
Even though I’m recovered from my social anxiety, I’m still in training for many things, and always will be.
Otherwise how will I grow and evolve as a human being?
Maybe I’m weird in thinking that, but it makes a lot of sense to me, and there’s a strange serenity in it.
Maybe it’s because knowing the practice is there helps ground me, gives me something to anchor to (oh yeah and practicing just works).
I invite you to do the same. Be in training, and simply enjoy the practices as much as you can, joy, pain and all until you get recovered…and beyond.
To living the “practiced” life.