How to Use Social Anxiety to Your Advantage
What if you could use your greatest liability to gain more assets?
One of the problems with social anxiety is that it feels like it’s too hard to overcome. It’s not just a shadow that casts over you when in public but it’s something that becomes part of you.
Imagine having a good day and being in a good mood that whole entire day, it isn't until you come across somebody randomly where you start to feel down. You don’t know how to express your positivity to that person, you're too shy.
You start looking up ways on Google on how you can defeat this feeling instead of trying to deal with it on your own. Hoping that you will come across one article that will give you the secret to overcoming it. You find the same results over and over again, which doesn't make you feel any better than before.
Once in a while, you’ll come across some advice that sounds good and you build up the courage to apply it to your real life. Unfortunately, you find out the hard way that everyone is different and some advice will only be helpful to certain people, not everyone.
So, you start to feel stuck again, stuck in an ongoing loop of trying to figure out new ways to beat your social anxiety. Some days you will be able to avoid everyone and those days don't necessarily feel good but they feel a lot better than the days where you’re too afraid to go to a social gathering.
Feeling sorry for yourself gets tiring after a certain amount of time. The feeling of being uncomfortable never takes getting used to, it just doesn't feel good.
You’re at the end of the road and you start to accept that this “weakness” is part of your life forever.
Well, what if there was a way to use this weakness to your advantage when it comes to the many other obstacles that life has to offer?
Being able to make friends who also have social anxiety
For the people who do have social anxiety, you may already be aware of the fact that it seems impossible to have the number of friends you desire. It’s not impossible to have friends that you can actually relate too.
The few friends that you do have now accept you for you. There are more people out in the world who are willing to offer that to you. You actually have the ability to spot them out more clearly than many other people. You know what it's like to have social anxiety so you can easily observe people who display the same traits.
This became obvious to me during my time living on campus at college, many of the smartest kids that were in my classes were just like me, tended to spend a lot of time alone and were only socializing when they needed to like for a group project. I was able to introduce myself by asking those same classmates if they wanted to start a study group, before I knew it I had people that I could consider my friends.
Now, I'm not saying that just because you see someone who you think has social anxiety means they will automatically be your friend. If the conditions allow for it, find some way to relate to them, and introduce yourself. It will also feel less intimidating when approaching them because you have in your mind that they’re just like you when it comes to social interaction.
When you do get to know those people, try to be as understanding as possible, you don't even have to bring up the topic of social anxiety, just be yourself around them and they will do the same.
As the relationship does grow over time you guys can start helping each other out with the problems you’re both facing when it comes to interacting with new people.
Being more productive with your time alone
Social anxiety will cause you to be more alone with yourself than you may prefer. This calls for the perfect opportunity to find some new hobbies. This all starts out by figuring what kind of person you are.
Are you somebody that likes to be active or are you somebody who likes to sit down and do things?
One hobby that is always good to pick up is going back to any childhood sports you used to play. Approaching these old activities with a more mature mindset can help you enjoy it more than you used to. You don't have to worry about making a team for your school, you can just do it for your own enjoyment.
Even if you’re afraid of too much interaction outside, you can stay home and learn some new exercises that you can do at home. It goes without saying how much exercise can benefit your mental health. Being alone isn't as bad as you think, you should be making a conscious effort to be productive when you don't have any friends to hang out with.
Naturally, the more time you spend alone, the more you will learn about yourself. With this in mind, you can start planning more ways of how you can start to defeat your social anxiety.
Taking time to think about situations that most likely will happen and how you can be better in those situations will help you to be more optimistic as well. Plan some scenarios out in your head, try to visualize what you can do to come off as a person who likes to socialize.
Now, of course, there's no better practice than going out there and actually putting yourself in these situations voluntarily, but while you’re alone, you might as well come up with potential game plans for when you have to talk to somebody that you had no intentions talking to in the first place.
Using it as a tool to become a better person
Don’t look at social anxiety as a weakness, look at it as a superpower. Use social anxiety daily to hold yourself accountable when trying to be a more social person. This will translate into other parts of your life as well.
Usually, when somebody has a weakness it tends to bring them down in many parts of their life. This can be the opposite for you if you start using shyness as a tool to become a better person. Having a goal to accomplish makes you more motivated for what's to come.
As of now, your goal is to eliminate social anxiety from your life. Use that goal as a way to keep your head above water. Many people can't decide on what their goals should be when in reality they can be super simple.
No matter if you see your social anxiety as a short term or long term goal, it is still something that you can look to for when you feel lost in life. Accordingly, you will begin to improve on things that surround your social anxiety.
The more you start to view it as a strength the more you will not let it prevent you from meeting new people and becoming a more charismatic person.
Your social anxiety is always in the back of your head, bring to the front and you will see it for what it truly is. Just another obstacle that life gave you. It’s no different from any other obstacle. With the right amount of effort, you can and you will defeat it.
During your battle with social anxiety, don't be afraid of it, take to head on in every situation. The next time you see a group of people that you want to get to know, take a leap of faith, and introduce yourself.
There is no exact recipe for defeating your social anxiety, but viewing it as a tool instead of a weakness can help you out tremendously. You will stand out from people and will even surprise yourself when using this technique.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Frank A. Clark that says
“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”