Social fear and different roles

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Social fear and different roles

Postby 51sth » Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:34 pm

I don't seem to get this resolved by myself and I feel this is a biggie for me. I fear social situations and it is a bit hard to even admit this. I guess no one would really notice this of me because when I have some sort of role I can handle pretty well and I am talkative. Usually there is not much anxiety when I have some sort of role to fill and I think I know what to do.

I have done Byron Katies the Work about a year now when I got to this point that everything seemed ok. Everything was not ok inside of me and still is not. I spended much time alone to see what this is all about and now I guess I have come to the point that I can realize that my social fears have limited my life in multiple ways. I usually spend my weekends alone or with one friend. At last I have good tolerance of being long times without seeing anyone, but I use social media to compensate this. I guess that when I have limited my life so much with this fear there is many compulsions that I wouldn't feel the anxiety that I feel when I am not living my life to the fullest. It does not work as we can see.

I don't feel that I can truly be myself when there is multiple people around. Least when people are someone I don't know. My work role diminishes this fear tremendously. I can pretty much see what this is about. I fear that I am faulty and people would reject me if they found out. So it feels easier to not be myself, but someone who I think that everyone would accept. This is crappy and I start to feel like a martyr because I am not concious why this is and I tend to go to self pity. I have done Byron Katies the work many times in different forms and I see I have this need to be accepted the way I am, only that I am not being myself, but someone who fears and therefore uses this mask to cover my true self from others.

So what is it that I cant see? Maybe someone could see this better than I do so I could maybe see it better myself too.
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Re: Social fear and different roles

Postby Andie » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:36 pm

Just about every human feels that they are "faulty". Just about every person, when they operate from the ego, think, "If people knew the real me, they wouldn't approve". You are not alone in this. It afflicts everyone. It's part of the human condition.

I am new to living a spiritual life, but the following has helped me.

You are probably having social anxiety because you are operating from the egoic mind. You are worrying what people will think of you -- thinking of past and future -- instead of living in the moment. Your mind is creating a story. Your story is that you feel like you can't be "yourself" when multiple people are around or if there are people present that you don't know. That is only a story and your story is a mental construct, it is not reality. Stay with what is. Any story you invent about "your life" is a thought and is not reality.

There is only this moment. When a thought enters your mind, recognize it as only a thought not reality, and let it go. Take a conscious breath, be still in the moment. Your ego telling you that you must invent a persona so people will approve and it's your ego that loves to stay in self-pity. If you stay in self-pity you can blame others and situations instead of facing what is and staying in the moment. Your ego has the need to be accepted "as I am." We cannot make people accept us. You have also created a story of how a life should be lived to the fullest. That is a story that is false, like all stories are. Acceptance is only needed for this moment. The only way, in my opinion, to the live life to the fullest (whatever that means) is to live in the now. There is only this moment. I allow this moment to be at it is and I let the ego go. When you can do this, you can be free and you can allow others to behave as they will. You will no longer look for approval.
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Re: Social fear and different roles

Postby noahjoseph » Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:36 am

Here's the best piece of social advice someone ever gave me:

"Always ask yourself 'What would make this situation fun/funny to me?' Then do that"

It's a wise bit of advice, but could use some explaining. The first hurtle to jump in this simple statement is the obvious question: "Isn't that selfish?" No, it isn't. When trying to please other people, you create a defensive filter of thought between yourself and your actions. You may even feel uncomfortable because you think you're faulty. You want so badly to impress them, and in turn have them give you a positive reaction. They can sense this.

When you're genuinely just trying to enjoy the situation, you're aligned with your purpose. You're smiling and present; this burst of positivity feels great for everyone you're around. What do your perceived shortcomings matter if you're just trying to have fun and bring other people in on it? You're offering good vibes and not trying to take anything from them.

This phenomenon of eroding your defensive thought filter is exactly why people turn to alcohol in social situations. Alcohol reduces inhibitions. Alcohol makes you say "let's have some fun" and stop constantly worrying about what other people think of you, because you don't need them to like you; you can and will have fun without them, but they can feel free to join! You don't need alcohol to do this, though. Just breathe, clear your mind, and do it!

It's not even that it's hard, you just have to remember to ask the question! Once you get in the habit of living your life this way, you'll never want to go back. It's just a great philosophy.

Now, one caveat. It's important that you, as a person, are genuinely well intentioned. Removing this filtering layer of thought and just trying to have fun is great, unless your idea of fun/funny is hurting others. Then, you will need to reevaluate your person. You're here, reading Eckhart Tolle and trying to improve yourself, so I doubt this is the case.
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Re: Social fear and different roles

Postby Onceler » Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:56 am

I had intense social anxiety which is gone now. I got panic attacks when I spoke in public to the point I could barely speak. It's all gone. It left gradually in the last 4 years. Now it seems like a dream. Much of my spiritual search was simply an attempt to ease my anxiety and depression. Now that these nemeses are gone the spiritual search seems irrelevant as my life is rich and complex as is. I'm pretty sure that the source of this change was "the looking" technique by John Sherman. It's simple to do, takes only a minute or two, but don't be fooled by its apparent simplicity. It's a very powerful, life changing act, or it was in my case and in many of the people I know.

There is no investment in belief or money necessary. It may not work, but your're only out 10 or 15 minutes of your time. I disregarded it when I first did.....until my life was turned upside down about 6 months later; from which I made a recovery over the next 3 years into a very engaged, rich life. It's not a quick fix, but it does its magic over time.

Justonelook.org. Check it out.
Be present, be pleasant.
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Re: Social fear and different roles

Postby ashley72 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:59 pm

Everyone who is interested in understanding social anxiety should read this

http://www.anxietycoach.com/socialanxietydisorder.html

51sth your post reveals that you've already thought about this issue at length.

Like the article I've referenced I also believe sufferers of social anxiety feel some shame they don't want others to find out about them. It could be many things they're hiding from others, the secret itself isn't what causes the dysfunction, its trying to survive the social gathering without their secret being discovered by others which creates all the problems.

A sufferer with social anxiety who is hiding their nervousness might worry that they will blush, or get sweaty palms (visible signs) and others will notice their secret. This causes them to worry about blushing or sweating which actually makes it much more likely of happening because they become so hyper vigilant to avoiding these "warning signals" of fear... They treat these warning signs as danger... and so it can lead to panic disorder where the danger signal feeds back into the warning signal causing positive feedback.

The way to recover is to stop hiding yourself around others at social gatherings, when you do expose yourself to others by say talking more often... Warning signs of nervousness will arise, the key is not to treat these warning signs as danger... but merely transient discomfort. Don't let these warning signs make you stop talking or leave the party even if you feel awkward intially. Exposure without avoidance of any kind is the key, you need to fully expose yourself to the warning signs and stay with them until they subside.
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Re: Social fear and different roles

Postby ashley72 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:27 pm

51sth wrote:I don't seem to get this resolved by myself and I feel this is a biggie for me. I fear social situations and it is a bit hard to even admit this. I guess no one would really notice this of me because when I have some sort of role I can handle pretty well and I am talkative. Usually there is not much anxiety when I have some sort of role to fill and I think I know what to do.


The human predicament is to have different roles... In other words, as human beings we are able to identify with a situation or thing and embody ourself into that role. Through out my life so far I've embodied many roles such, baby, infant, child, son, brother, friend, worker, supervisor, manager, boss, father etc. There are more I didn't mention like University student, science graduate, soccer player, sports fan, drink driver, anxiety sufferer, grieving son, grieving friend, backpacker, foreigner, westerner, etc, etc. There really is no end to the amount of roles I can identify with!!!

Some of these roles, I feel confident and in control, and in others I can feel the opposite, shy and no control.

As soon as we identify with any role, we start judging ourselves in that role as good, bad or neutral against something.


If I take the role of being identified as socially awkward at a party, I don't feel in control & I certainly don't feel confident!

As I stated in my earlier post, a sufferer who embodies the role of being socially awkward is identifying with "shame" or unworthiness around others. This gets made worse by the fact, that warning signs of fear are visible to others... & because someone hiding their shame or unworthiness doesn't want to be notice.. This can lead to panic disorder at a social gathering. Whereby, the warning signal gets treated as danger and feeds back into more of the same uncomfortableness such as blushing, sweaty palms, nervous voice etc.

51sth wrote:I have done Byron Katies the Work about a year now when I got to this point that everything seemed ok. Everything was not ok inside of me and still is not. I spended much time alone to see what this is all about and now I guess I have come to the point that I can realize that my social fears have limited my life in multiple ways. I usually spend my weekends alone or with one friend. At last I have good tolerance of being long times without seeing anyone, but I use social media to compensate this. I guess that when I have limited my life so much with this fear there is many compulsions that I wouldn't feel the anxiety that I feel when I am not living my life to the fullest. It does not work as we can see.

I don't feel that I can truly be myself when there is multiple people around. Least when people are someone I don't know. My work role diminishes this fear tremendously. I can pretty much see what this is about. I fear that I am faulty and people would reject me if they found out. So it feels easier to not be myself, but someone who I think that everyone would accept.


You truly understand your problem. I think your answering it yourselve here when you say "you fear I am faulty". This is the shame you embody or identify around people in social gatherings.

You need to stop hiding & start exposing yourself to others in social gatherings and let the warning signals of fear arise, and don't treat those warning signals as danger anymore but rather as transient unpleasantness that may come & go from time to time.

51sth wrote: This is crappy and I start to feel like a martyr because I am not concious why this is and I tend to go to self pity. I have done Byron Katies the work many times in different forms and I see I have this need to be accepted the way I am, only that I am not being myself, but someone who fears and therefore uses this mask to cover my true self from others.

So what is it that I cant see? Maybe someone could see this better than I do so I could maybe see it better myself too.


I don't know anyone can see this better than what you can see it. Look at the self talk that arises before you go to the social gathering, what is arising when you embody this socially awkward identity? My guess is you don't feel worthy in some way, there is something lacking when you compare yourself against others and this is causing the shame which makes you want to hide from others and not stand out when your socializing.

The real problem which makes socializing so difficult is "hiding" at social gatherings and trying not to be noticed. We go to social gatherings to be noticed and to meet others. So it's important to do that. Sufferers that have social anxiety disorder are fighting or resisting being noticed or seen and that is really why all the problems start, you need to stop avoiding and start exposing yourself at social gatherings if you want to overcome this disorder.
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Re: Social fear and different roles

Postby ashley72 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:43 pm

Onceler wrote:I had intense social anxiety which is gone now. I got panic attacks when I spoke in public to the point I could barely speak. It's all gone. It left gradually in the last 4 years. Now it seems like a dream. Much of my spiritual search was simply an attempt to ease my anxiety and depression. Now that these nemeses are gone the spiritual search seems irrelevant as my life is rich and complex as is. I'm pretty sure that the source of this change was "the looking" technique by John Sherman. It's simple to do, takes only a minute or two, but don't be fooled by its apparent simplicity. It's a very powerful, life changing act, or it was in my case and in many of the people I know.

There is no investment in belief or money necessary. It may not work, but your're only out 10 or 15 minutes of your time. I disregarded it when I first did.....until my life was turned upside down about 6 months later; from which I made a recovery over the next 3 years into a very engaged, rich life. It's not a quick fix, but it does its magic over time.

Justonelook.org. Check it out.


Glad to hear you have overcome your anxiety. :D
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Re: Social fear and different roles

Postby Onceler » Sat Jul 11, 2015 10:42 pm

Thanks! Yes, what a relief.
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Re: Social fear and different roles

Postby 51sth » Sat Aug 29, 2015 1:10 pm

I tried to come to this site many times earlier, but it said something that this site was down or something. Now I tried again and it worked :). Weird. Anyways..

Thanks for your replys! Much appreciated.

The last three weeks have been hard. I've had three panic attacks and really started to look into this. I noticed that thinking does not work and I am creating a bigger problem and identifying myself in my creations by feeding my ego with ideas. I hold on to them more and more by trying to solve things. So I started to look into spirituality again and watched Adyashantis video series https://youtu.be/_RKPv2MhYgM which opened me up to inner understanding. Guess I was ready to accept the message. The problem is not here, it is always not here and it is a story. Old story by the way in many ways :), but the experience of this aha moment is profound. So here I am, nothing more, nothing less. My anxiety went so far and had lasted so long that I had to look somewhere else. Funny how I can feel the outside and inside and recognize when I come back from ego (referring outside as ego), but I guess there is a point where I could learn more to notice when I am diving into the ego realm too, so I guess then it would not happen. I don't know, it is good to not know.

So I have head full of stories, or had, I don't know anymore. It is peaceful _here_ my friends.
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Re: Social fear and different roles

Postby dijmart » Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:57 pm

So I have head full of stories, or had, I don't know anymore. It is peaceful _here_ my friends.


yes, it's the story that causes the suffering! Ego is complete identification with thought, therefore is unconscious thinking. It's when one is swept up by the dream to the point of not recognizing the "inner" as you put it. Thinking itself is not a problem, as long as you don't project your identity needlessly into past and future. So, use some grounding techniques often to keep yourself in the present moment. Feel the inner body aliveness/energy, focus attention in the now (take attention away from thought) and take some slow deep breaths.
Take what you like and leave the rest.
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Re: Social fear and different roles

Postby DavidB » Mon Aug 31, 2015 1:23 am

Social anxiety is fear of what other people might think of us. It is a gripping self focus that feeds back on itself becoming potentially paralyzing, which further compounds the fear as we worry about not being able to talk and consequently looking and feeling like a complete idiot. We feel in social situations, the same that others might feel by public speaking, completely out of context of course, yet real enough to be debilitatingly restrictive on life style.

I've had social anxiety my whole life, causing tremendous misery, severely restricting my social experiences. Thankfully now though, I overcame social anxiety.

These two videos I found to be very helpful.


How To Completely Lose Social Anxiety - It's Quite Shocking https://youtu.be/qQ-D-8aCRR4

and

Coping With Stress - Imaginative Solutions for Stress Relief https://youtu.be/FOQKMiD5QJI


These are both very good videos for coping with anxiety, worry, stress and fear. I strongly encourage you to watch them and apply the techniques.
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