I don't feel like I am really able to open up to people and make emotional connections and attachments anymore. I am extremely self-conscious and have very few close friends and family. What can I do to help myself open up and make those connections again?
It sounds like you suffer from social anxiety, a psychological condition where one experiences intense fear and discomfort in social situations. People who suffer from this disorder are especially worried about what others think of them. They are overly focused on avoiding rejection, embarrassment or looking bad.
Does this sound like you?
Your fear of rejection will disappear when you realize that rejection doesn’t mean what you think it means.
Rejection only feels dangerous because you have attached meaning to the experience. Your subconscious mind says, “If other people think I’m stupid, inferior or worthless, that must mean I am.” This is not accurate.
In reality, rejection doesn’t mean anything, except that these people have issues with putting others down so they can feel bigger. It says more about them than it does about you.
If these people really do judge you or think less of you — if they have a need to reject others to make everyone else the bad guy — to feel good about themselves, making them the good guy, this is their problem and not yours.
It has nothing to do with you.
You are the same you, no matter what these people think about you.
Nothing they think or say about you can diminish who you are. Your value is infinite and absolute because you are an amazing, one-of-a-kind, incomparable soul. Your value is never on the line. You are bulletproof.
There is nothing to be afraid of. Rejection doesn’t mean anything. It only has power over you if you let it.
You can take risks, meet people and start conversations with no fear whatsoever about your value, because you cannot be diminished by anything you say or do. You will be the same you regardless. Nothing can diminish who you are.
Besides, to be this focused on yourself is out of harmony with being your highest, best self. Being this self-conscious is actually selfish. All fear is. Fear is about you. When you are experiencing fear about your own value, you cannot pay attention to or love anyone else. You are not capable of love because all you can see is you.
This behavior is not consistent with who you really are. You are a loving being and it is your true nature to lift, serve and care about others.
People who are comfortable in social situations are usually more focused on caring about, lifting and loving other people. They understand their value isn’t on the line, so they don't have to worry about themselves. They will often ask questions about other people and let them do most of the talking. Asking questions and listening is a powerful way to make people feel valued. It is also safer. You are less likely to say the wrong thing when you are mostly just listening.
Social anxiety can be overcome. You can change the subconscious program that creates these fears by consciously choosing to trust in your value and love other people.
When you start to experience fear, run through the following principles in your mind. You will be amazed at the difference this makes.
Overcoming this fear will be a process. Take your time and ease into it. You are right on track in your process of growth. You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought-after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in self-esteem and overcoming fear.
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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.