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I have been called the “blue collar psychologist” of social anxiety.

Though I am not trained formally as a psychologist but as a coach, I do take pride in that label. Because I have been in the trenches and also have explored many approaches and techniques on my own.

I am a personal development nut, and always will be. I never will be in my ivory tower spewing theory without practical application. Theory is worth less than zero without applying it in experience.

I realize I also am a poster child for what is possible in getting through shyness and social phobia – after struggling with it for many years and eventually breaking through. I often make videos and write posts that give tips, key concepts or are inspirational.

Forward moving approaches to helping you get through this nasty little bugger called social anxiety.

But today, I want to relate three key reasons, on which you should NEVER base your recovery.


Reason #1: Just to Fit In.

People that leave comments or send me emails often say they just want to fit in and they would do anything to be normal. I understand where they are coming from, but this is actually a terrible reason to build a foundation for recovery.

Why? Because you don’t honor your uniqueness as an individual with this kind of thinking. Uniqueness must be honored.

It means you will likely try to fix things that don’t need to be fixed because you are trying to do what others do, which never works for “fitting in” anyways. Half of the world wants to “fit in” which really means seek approval, and thus fulfillment from other people’s reactions.

People that don’t have social anxiety like you do, still seek approval.

They are lost on what it means to be truly happy and fulfilled. So why go that route when you can shortcut your mindset to one where you acknowledge your uniqueness, are proud of it AND use your uniqueness as a fuel source to overcome your SA?

You will save yourself a lot of trouble in the future with a mindset shortcut of being proud of your uniqueness at all times, even when social anxiety is bad. You will be getting ahead of even the “normal people” who seek constant social validation from others in order to try to be happy, even though you still have SA and they do not.

It may seem paradoxical, but it is important you understand this. Take it from someone who has been through the other side. You will save yourself a lot of time.

Reason #2: Expecting your anxiety to be gone forever.

This is a trap I fell into during my battle in getting over the war hill of social anxiety. There are times in recovery where you go out and feel little and yes even no social anxiety at all. It is an alluring, ego trap, let me tell you.

You see, we all feel to varying degrees some social anxiety or another, whether we have ever had the condition of it or not.

You feel the bliss of being out in public with no SA showing up, only a day or two later to see it back again.

“Noooooo!” you scream in your head, because you had a taste of what seemed like actual recovery.

It is an illusion you can enjoy for the moment, but do not fall into the trap of being attached to it.

Anxiety will come back to varying degrees. What we are looking for is it going down overall in the long haul. And more importantly, that you live your life the way you want to, and interact with others DESPITE feelings of anxiety or shyness.

Reason #3: Because someone else wants you to.

This reason has to be one of the worst.

Sometimes I will get messages from anxious mothers and fathers who want their child to beat social anxiety. Maybe the parents had it, or maybe they started researching on the Internet about social anxiety and think their child has it.

If you are feeling the pressure from someone else, like a parent or anyone, who offers to pay for your therapy or recovery, really consider whether that is a good move.

If you are not committed to see the recovery process through, you will not do the work.

I have even heard of people who initially are very enthusiastic and say they are committed but someone else pays for it, and they don’t take the help they receive seriously because they did not pay for it themselves.

It is a strange but true psychological effect that putting money on the line (especially of your own) makes you more committed because something more is at stake.

I am not saying everyone have this lack of commitment. I have both seen this happen with people and experienced this myself.

What Other Reasons Can You Think Of?

What other reasons would you not want to have as motivations for recovery?

You can comment below the post and contribute to the conversation.

It will be great practice for putting yourself out there, and you will be bringing your experience to help others just like you.

After all, we are all in this together aren’t we?

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    15 replies to "Three Reasons NOT To Get Over Social Anxiety"

    • John

      Hi David, Great post. I especially relate to Reason #2. I like the way you expressed it that we all feel social anxiety to varying degrees. And what we are looking for is it going down overall in the long run.

      This is in stark contrast to what I’ve heard many say to me, usually as a criticism, “Every one feels anxiety,in social situations just like you do, you just have to get out there and get over it!”

      Well, they may be feeling it, but, I’ve never seen them start sweating profusely to the point of sweat dripping off of their face and sweat drenching their clothes like they’ve been in a rainstorm. Or, observed them go totally silent , too anxious to utter a single word. Or, seen their hands and body shake uncontrollably. Or, seen their face burn bright red from embarrassment that all of the above is happening. All of these have happened to me in social situations.

      It seems much better to have the goal of reducing the intensity and frequency of when this happens and learning how to cope with it, whenever it does happen. Thanks for your help.

      • David Hamilton

        Hey John – thanks for sharing! Sounds like you may have some panic issues there, not just social anxiety. Most of the people I have helped don’t get anxious into a panicked state. What are you doing currently to manage it, or remove the attacks? Panic almost always comes from a past trauma of some kind, and things like EMDR can be used to clear it.

    • Joy

      wow wow wow, i like this post most because of the first point. i personally think that was my number one reason but what you said is profound – it is a bad foundation for recovery and that uniqueness must be honored.

    • James

      This is such a great article because S.A. never goes away even for savy extroverts. Whenever you try something new and difficult, you will feel some anxiety but all the situations that you have been through and overcome will have much less anxiety now that you are familiar with it. I have learned to make peace with it.

      There was a time especially in my teens and twenties when I had no friends, no one to talk to and I was miserable. My parents, one a paranoid schiezophrenic, were afraid of the outside world and gave me no guidance how to interact with people. I was afraid to say anything to anyone.
      Slowly over time, I read enough books and met enough people to develop close relationships and now I can have normal conversations with many regular folks. I have even graduated university, left the nest and have lived & worked on my own in 5 different cities, making friends, going out and feeling normal most of the time.

      Still, I am lonely because I freeze at the possiblity of intimacy and being vulnerable. Dating seems painful and I don’t feel like flirting and talking to women anymore. I also work in entry level jobs rather than professional jobs because I feel intimated talking about myself in interviews. I am tired of this bland existence and want more out of life. It feels like I am on the verge of a breakthrough and just need a little push.

      Still, I see I have made massive progressive from my origins and won’t let others discount my accomplishments. I run my own race, at my own pace and won’t give up even if I am years behind in my development as an adult.

      • David Hamilton

        James – what you have shared here is POWERFUL. Thank you for sharing your story. It takes balls to do that, and it also helps others. I admire your courage.

        I too have struggled with intimacy and vulnerability, even though I’ve dated a number of women. I’m still a work in progress with that too, though in social situations I can connect with the best of them. AND I need my introvert time. I also go through cycles of being less social, and right now I’m in a cycle of being quite social.

        Have you read the book “F**k It! The Ultimate Spiritual Way?” Check it out, I think it might help you.

    • Troy

      All three of these things have happened to me before and my reasons have changed since then and it is nice to know that im progressing. It’s nice to hear someone else has gone through it and im getting on the right path. I definitely know the feeling when you feel like your anxiety is gone and a day later it comes back. I used to be very self-critical about it too. But have been trying to be self-compassionate about my thoughts that will inevitably come up and always try to relize that these things happen to everyone and that not many people try to continuously improve themselves each day. I think, its good to develop self compassionate about yourself, say helpful things to yourself that you would to other people in the same position. There will always be struggle. Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how you react to it. It’s a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood.

      • David Hamilton

        Troy – glad to hear you are progressing so well. In my experience even people that haven’t struggled with SA, or have considered that, still worry about what others think. So it is interesting for me when these thoughts come up, to just realize these thoughts generate how I’m feeling (anxious, paranoid, etc) and as soon as I realize they don’t mean anything, I’m free!

        Keep up the work man, it sounds like you are doing great.

    • Michael

      Hello David,

      I am 58 years old and recently discovered that what I thought was shyness was actually a real mental illness. Looking back on my wasted life, I think I have suffered from SAD, no self esteem and lack of confidence from my earliest memories. I truly believed that being unable to socialize with people, especially women, was the way my life would be until death came. You have given me some hope that I might be able to live what’s left of my life with at least a small degree of happiness and to perhaps, possibly, maybe be able to love and be loved by someone. But I have real doubts about my ability to do what is required or whether it will be worth the effort. I’ve gone this long as one of the “walking dead”, but I think I would feel much, much worse if I tried to overcome SAD and failed.

      Thanks for the web site and the YouTube videos,


      • David Hamilton

        Michael – I am glad to hear you have some hope. But now it is time to get to work! It is my belief that things could get to be better than you can even fathom, right now and I understand your despair. But it is up to you. Yes it will be tough, and there will be some really low times as you challenge yourself outside of your “social anxiety comfort zone”. But it will get easier is you persist.

        It is your life, what will you do with it? You are the creator of it.

    • Kimberly

      I am the founder of Social Anxiety Conquerors on We have our 3rd meetup today at a beautiful park. I will read this for our introduction which will spark questions. I appreciate your articles. I will give them copies and direct them to you so they too can benefit from your information. Thank you for this website. It means so much to me…..and my anxiety!

      • David Hamilton

        You are welcome Kimberly. Sounds like a great group you have on meetup there.

    • Marthin

      Great post. self-scceptance instesd of “trying to fit in”
      What do you think about trying to get over SA bc i want to be good with girls and get a girlfriend?
      every time i think about overcomming my SA my thougths involves girls? Thanks

      • David Hamilton

        Glad you like the post Marthin. I think that’s a great goal to have. It is common for guys to have social anxiety specifically with girls, though I might call that dating anxiety…or something to that effect.

    • saf

      Hi been living with SA since early teenage, im 27 now, the list of my sufferings is long and feels like never ending, i get a lot of information on how to dissolve this mental problem that i have, but i end up never applying the methods bcoz of years of continuous negative thoughts. I just freeze up when im in that social situation. ;((

      • David Hamilton

        Saf – I understand your frustration. You have to learn to act despite the negative thoughts. They aren’t going away anytime soon, but you have to show yourself that you can behave differently that those negative thoughts, which really aren’t you, just mind conditioning.

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