I have a big problem with fear in social situations. I don’t feel comfortable and I worry way too much about what other people think of me. I have been trying to figure out why I’m so scared, and I’ve been trying not to feel this way, but it’s not working. Any advice for overcoming these fears?
Yes, and this is an easy fix.
Let me answer this with an analogy:
The No. 1 rule of race car driving, according to the "Canada’s Worst Drivers" reality TV show, is to "look where you want to go." You will always head toward where you look.
So, if you are looking at a hazard like a light pole or a parked car, you are very likely to hit it. Instead, focus your gaze on the empty space where you want to go. When you do this, your car will automatically head in that direction.
(There is a great little clip on YouTube with a professional driver who explains this concept and how it works.)
The reason this applies to you is that your subconscious mind will always follow your focus. You will automatically head for whatever you focus on. If you continue to focus on your fear, trying to understand it and overcome it, you are just going to experience more fear.
Instead, you should focus on the opposites of fear, which are love and trust.
Let me explain why: Fear is a selfish place where your focus is only on you. Love is an unselfish place where you have the ability to focus on other people. Trust (or faith) is a sense of safety, where fear is the feeling of not being safe. You can actually choose to feel safe any time you want. You can choose to believe your value isn’t on the line. You can choose to feel bulletproof and know that nothing anyone says or thinks about you can actually diminish you.
Imagine Superman, standing in the street while bank robbers shoot bullets at him. Superman would just stand there are smile. They can shoot at him all they want, and it won’t hurt him a bit. He’s bulletproof.
You are bulletproof, too. No matter what anyone thinks or says about you, you are the same you. They really can't hurt you.
Feeling bulletproof is not something you gain through experience or education; it’s an attitude you choose, and you can choose it anytime you want. If you have been used to living in fear all the time, though, it may seem next to impossible to just choose to feel safe. But it is possible. You can do it.
You just need some practice.
The best remedy for social anxiety is to practice choosing love and trust right before you walk in, wherever you go. Choose to trust that your value is infinite and absolute. There is no person or situation that can hurt or diminish you. No matter what happens here, you are the same you. You are bulletproof.
Choose to trust the Universe that whatever happens in this situation, it is what’s meant to happen. Whatever happens will be the perfect next lesson you need to learn in the classroom of your life.
You are safe in this, process because everything that happens is there to teach you something and help you grow. This situation is no exception. It will be whatever it’s meant to be and you are safe, no matter how it turns out.
Choose to focus on love for the other people who will be there. Choose to spend your time and energy focused on making them feel valued and appreciated. Ask lots of questions and show them you care by listening to them. Be so busy making other people feel comfortable that your own insecurities disappear.
This works because fear cannot exist where there is love and trust.
Think of fear as the darkness, and love and trust as the light. You can shine light into a dark room, but you cannot shine darkness into a light room. Where there is light (love and trust), darkness (fear) cannot exist.
If you could make the conscious choice to feel bulletproof and to focus your attention on love for other people, your fears will disappear.
So don’t focus on the fear, focus where you want to go. Focus on being the love and living in trust.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing self esteem and restoring hope.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.