The idea of opening up…or sharing yourself.

It’s very difficult for people caught in the soup of social anxiety to do it. And yet essential for making connections with people.

In my experience, it’s easier to learn to fight and “be hard or tough” whether against yourself, against another, or against some institution or system….than it is to be soft and open, and find strength in that, while moving forward in your life.

When working with the character value of being open, it works both ways.

It means to be open to not only sharing yourself with the world, sharing your smile, your story with others, yourself…but also in receiving back from others.

In working with a therapist, he told me that often giving isn’t the problem with people in terms of intimacy, especially.

It’s the receiving of love from others that is most difficult…because there’s often a core belief many people hold inside, which is that of “I’m not good enough.”

This I’m-not-good-enough belief system causes a great amount of suffering within us all, and it’s tied to a lot of neuroticism we experience as Westerners, who are always striving for success, instead of being good enough as we are.

Opening Up to Yourself

This involves really being honest about what you are feeling in a given moment, and allowing that to be there.

It’s not trying to fight your feelings or make them go away – which is root characteristic of social anxiety – trying to avoid it or make it go away.

Practices that we work with in the Dissolve Social Anxiety program like thought defusion and  “making room” are all about opening up to yourself.

It’s important to make room for negative thoughts and feelings, otherwise we become rigid in the war against social phobia, spending all of our time struggling with them, in a deadlock with social anxiety, instead of living life to the fullest.

Opening up to Others

An important part of being social is to share yourself with others.  It’s offering up what’s going on with you in your life, showing enthusiasm, frustration and whatever you’re feeling and expressing that authentically.

Quite simply, practicing opening up more in conversation with friends, acquaintances, store clerks, teachers, etc is an important kind of exposure therapy we can do to address this.

In terms of sharing directly about your social anxiety, I’m of the belief that you should share with a “safe person” about your social anxiety and that you need support in getting help for it.

I don’t recommend going around and telling everyone and their grandmother that you have social phobia, just your safe person/people.

Psychology today has a great article on this very subject, so I invite you to read it when you get a chance: “Tell or not to Tell about Your Social Anxiety?

Opening up to Your Life

Challenges, difficulties and wonderful experiences are all a part of life.  Yes we have great influence on our life, but also things will happen we didn’t want, which might be a curse…or a blessing.

For instance I never had imagined I’d be writing a blog on social anxiety, creating a 3 month recovery program, or coaching people to help them to dissolve their social anxiety and learn to be social.

That’s a blessing for sure, and one I never planned on even though it came out of the “curse” of having to deal with social anxiety.

What things in life have happened to you, that you didn’t plan on that became a blessing?

(Hint: things we think are curses, often have blessings in them if we really look. It is quite a strange phenomenon!)

Let me know what you think as always with comments below.

    2 replies to "Opening Up To Yourself, To Others…And To Your Life"

    • Ken

      It is very difficult for a person with social anxiety to open up about anything. Being a man, I find it even more difficult to open up about my social anxiety.

      • David H.

        Yes it’s hard at first, I used to experience the same thing. That’s why I recommend starting with yourself and making room for your own thoughts and feelings, then moving onto “safe people” to open up to about yourself, whether it’s talking about your social anxiety or just opening up about yourself in general.

Comments are closed.