social anxiety question

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social anxiety question

Postby melinyel » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:09 pm

Hi everyone! I'm new, yes. :)

I have a question about anxiety. I have been experience the same type of anxiety for like 5 years or something. And I know my ego uses this as an excuse to keep it alive...It's social anxiety...I can be present a lot of the time...but when a thought of a social situation comes, I get fear and I lose presence. Like, I can be totally present, but when I observe a situation that will potentially bring socializing, I start thinking and start fearing. And thoughts just keep coming. i automatically start thinking of what I'm gonna say. I don't even know what I fear! I think maybe I fear being judged or criticized, I dunno. And so this causes me quite a lot of discomfort. It seems to keep me from doing things I want to do and from"functioning" in the world. Because my ego fears social interaction...I don't feel "free". And I know this is just my ego and ultimately not me at all. When these thoughts start and this fear arises, what should I "do"? Or whatever you have, please post it. I very much appreciate it, brothers and sisters!

Love, Ronald :D
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby Webwanderer » Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:06 pm

Consider that in social situations you feel anxiety because the situation you envision is about you - A classic ego reference. Make your engagement with others about them. Pick up a book, if you need help, on conversation starters, and go into these events with a genuine sense of interest in others. As long as you are primarily concerned with how you will be perceived you will be vulnerable to social anxiety. Get honestly interested in your friends. That's not an invitation to fix them, or the like, but just see the opportunity to get to know others. In that knowing you will likely recognize much of yourself.

And welcome to the forum.

WW
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby melinyel » Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:13 am

Thank you, my friend. :)
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby soapbox » Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:22 am

I have the same problem, actually, but it may be different than what you're experiencing. I can tell you that your ego can imagine a lot of things which can throw you off and confuse you into thinking you CAN'T work with situations. It's all ego and it comes from nowhere else except it.

My problem is that it really does feel like I can't deal with it, but I know that's wrong. Everyone will understand in their own way, no two people will learn in the same process.

I hope that helped.0.
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby melinyel » Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:30 am

soapbox wrote:I have the same problem, actually, but it may be different than what you're experiencing. I can tell you that your ego can imagine a lot of things which can throw you off and confuse you into thinking you CAN'T work with situations. It's all ego and it comes from nowhere else except it.

My problem is that it really does feel like I can't deal with it, but I know that's wrong. Everyone will understand in their own way, no two people will learn in the same process.

I hope that helped.0.

Thank you for sharing.

When I am in a social situation...I feel totally unaware now that I think of it. I feel trapped in my ego. I feel like I'm not really socializing, it's something else, my ego. And so I feel trapped in fear. You know when you're really angry? And you say things and do things you wouldn't really do if you really knew what you were doing? It's a similar feeling to that. When I am in fear, I don't know what I'm doing. I feel like I'm not aware to be able to really converse. And at the same time I feel very anxious and very uncomfortable. I totally avoid social situations if I can. Which is absurd! When I am in them...I feel extremely fearful and I don't socialize as I would with no fear. I am thinking I should just "watch" the thoughts and fears. And by doing that I will become present. I have done it. But the thoughts come back a few seconds later. This doesn't happen in other situations, only in this intense anxiety I have. so I guess by continuing to examine and letting the thoughts and fear be, they will cease to arise eventually. I would like to know what any of you would think Eckhart would tell me if i asked him this. I think avoiding social situations is just strengthening the anxiety right? Strengthening my ego, my identity with it.

Love
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby Sighclone » Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:40 am

I have no idea what Eckhart would say. But I know that the opposite of love is not hate, it is fear. And WW - great comment, thanks.

The next time you have any social interaction, challenge yourself: how can I show some appropriate level of love for this person? And then do it. With store clerks, neighbors, relatives and friends...whoever. Where there is authentic love, there is not room for fear. This gets easier. Pretty soon your entire life will change. Oh, and by the way, recall page 162 of PON: "If there isn't an emanation of love and joy, complete presence and openness toward all beings, then it is not enlightenment." Expression of love is a portal, too.

Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby Chariot » Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:20 am

I also experience bouts of anxiety and it's not a pleasant experience. Today I had the clear experience of accepting the fear and observing it as a bodily sensation. I adopted a curious accepting observant attitude, and suddenly the fear evaporated. It's the first time I clearly witnessed this process. I became aware of the feeling as a sensation rather than fearing the fear. I said to myself I'm feeling fear right now, and it's okay because it's just a sensation. I then put my attention on where I feel fear as a tight buzzing knot in my solar plexus. When I did this, the fear just dissolved and melted away. I know I've done this before in the past, but this time I actually witnessed it as a deliberate decision.
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby domokato » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:41 pm

I used to be pretty shy as well, since as far back as I can remember. At some point I realized that it was my father who taught me to worry about social interactions, to fear embarrassment and looking stupid. Then I realized that worrying about what I'm going to say and stuff like that only made me more socially inept, not less. So one way I fixed my shyness was through realizing things like that. Perhaps you have something in your past that triggered your social anxiety that you are still carrying with you. If so, recognizing it for what it is may help.

Also, catching yourself thinking too much is important. Instead of just watching your mind when this happens, try to silence it, since you know your mind isn't helping the current situation. Quickly become present and, instead of thinking, pay attention to the person you're talking to. Take your mind out of the space and devote more space to that person. Take them in. Your brain automatically processes facial expressions, tone of voice, and the words being said, so you don't really have to worry about it. In fact, your automatic processing (stillness) will do a lot better job of "analyzing" what's going on than your thoughts will. Then, instead of thinking of what you're going to say, be still and words will come out of the stillness. Sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes it's immediate. If you are not talking to anyone then just enjoy the moment. Enjoy hearing people talking to each other. Enjoy watching them laugh with each other. It is important to enjoy a social situation because this will make you sociable. You'll want to talk to people and people will want to talk to you. People who do well in social situations know this on some level.

Anyway, you seem to already recognize that thoughts and fears crop up right when you hear about a social situation approaching. This is the best time to stop your thoughts. The earlier the better. Take your mind out of the space immediately and devote more space to what's going on around you. Maybe you are riding in a car with friends at the moment. Look outside. Listen to the engine. Watch your friends. Converse with them. Enjoy the moment. Eventually, with practice, the thoughts won't arise anymore.

There is more to it, but if you get to this point you're doing pretty well! :)
~housecat
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby melinyel » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:11 am

I love you all. Thanks for the replies :D
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby Destiny » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:52 pm

You feel Social anxiety only when your head is at the past or the future
When you live at the past you say : "I remember all my previous social interactions , they were bad , so this will too"
When you live at the future you say : "I shouldn't go to talk to them because if i do it , it will be embarasing"

The ego stop you because it is afraid that if the interaction goes bad , you will lose validation and the delusional image of your self will be damaged

You can't feel social anxiety when you live in the present moment . There is nothing that can stop you . That's why alcohol has been worked so good for socializing throw generations . If someone is drunk , he doesn't think about past or future . He only sees 1 meter in front of him . He has no thooughts and he is totally present ( But i don't suggest to use only drink for socializing because as tolle said you go under the Ego , not rising above. )

Bottom line: don't take life too seriously . If one interaction doesn't goes well there nothing do to with YOU. Don't take it personal . Try another one . In the way you will be more socially savy and inteligent.
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby joirye » Fri Nov 28, 2008 7:16 pm

I know how you feel...it's like you were talking about me! It's soooo hard for me to stay present around other people, but if I'm taking a walk by myself, I'm the Dalai lama. :wink: Sometimes I feel like it's hopeless...I don't know if I'll ever be able to stay present around other people. It's like my ego is constantly on the defense...it defenetly has a good grip on me, which is unsettling. Maybe some kind of external reminder might help...like whenever you take a sip of water or whatever you may be drinking, think "Awake! Be present!", and then try to feel your underlying mood or static, to see what it is about the present moment you may be resisting...then take a good hard look at it, confront it...and surrender to it. Accept it. Try not to be dissapointed in yourself because the ego is present, actually be happy that you uncovered it...it's a golden opportunity for growth, ya know. Anywho, anything you can think of that might help you remember to be present...putting on chapstick, I dunno...anything that is habbitual might help you out here. :) I hope this helped, I truely feel your pain in this area. Much love! :D

~joirye
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby joirye » Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:02 am

I just got done reading the reply post where you asked "what would Eckhart say?" This is just for fun, but in my mind, I imagine he might say something like this:

[Be "the watcher" and look into the fear you feel. If you are afraid of other's judgement, just think about how illusory it is...is anyone really fit to judge?...does anyone really know what is good and what is bad? No. These are only labels people are so accustomed to using because they offer a feeling of stability and control, which the ego loves. Who is the almighty judge of what is considered good and what is bad? If you think about it, it's kinda crazy. Hence, any judgement someone makes about you is untrue, and has nothing to do with who you really are, so is therefore not a threat. It's like you are an orange and your ego (which is what is creating the anxiety, and also causing the fear you feel) is the rind. The rind is only the surface....and the inner flesh of the orange is you, the real you...your alert presence. In other words, all of this fear and anxiety is just the rough surface of a vast inner space that resides just below. Just remember that it's always right there and it's always available, if you are able to access the power of now.]

Who knows though, I may be way off so take this with a grain of salt. :wink:
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby zack » Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:18 am

I had social anxiety for a long time but not any longer. You cant rationalize your way out of this. The key is to be extremly alert and see your negative thougts consistently. The more you do this the more you will stop believing in them. Is a process.

What really helped me also was (and still is) inner body awareness. Make it your number one priority in life to be in your body all the time and your reality will change surprisingly quickly (I know mine did). It will make you to connect to people (which is impossible when you are in your head) and people will be very comfortable to be around you. This makes it easier for you to see your thoughts as well.

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Re: social anxiety question

Postby Juno » Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:17 pm

I have not caught up on all of the replys so forgive if I repeat something already said. I use to have problems socializing with people. I tried for at least 12 years to be in the moment with people so "I" (now I realize the ego) would not do something I would regret etc.. What I realized about two months ago is that "I" the ego can't be present and totally aware as our experience shows us. I had a shift happen this past April that showed me I am not my ego so it made it easy to just realize what I have been doing all of these years!! I saw that it never worked and dropped it. Now there is no pressure and I am much more at ease with people, I'm coming from a real place, not pretending to try and be anything. Trying to be totally aware is like being spiritually constipated in Adya's words. Like mindful eating. No one eats like a slug. Thanks to Adya I've really learned to look at my own experience and not look to others to tell me what to do.
by thinking of something you create an entity and by thinking of nothing you create another. Let such erroneous thinking perish utterly, and then nothing will remain for you to go seeking!
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Re: social anxiety question

Postby billyb » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:51 am

I used to be like you and felt anxious in many social situations, especially when around people who are new or who I don't know well. As many have wisely pointed out here, the problem is of course the ego.

The ego will tend to make you feel like you are the center of any social situation (That is what the ego does, it makes you feel like a separate entity in the universe). It will make you feel as though you have to look good, say the right things etc because 'everyone will notice you'. The most powerful thing you can do is simply realise this illusion for what it is. When you realise this, you then no longer will worry about making yourself look good. When you lose this need to preserve your identity, you can then interact with people freely and openly. I think this is what many would call love (interaction without ego). Communication then becomes true and genuine rather than a means to preserve your identity.
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