As humans, we are supposed to be creatures of society. Having friends makes us happier and healthier. In fact, our mental and emotional wellbeing is vital to being socially linked. Yet many of us are shy and introverted socially. Around unknown individuals, we feel nervous, uncertain of what to say, or concerned about what others would think of us. This can lead us to avoid social circumstances, cut ourselves off from others, and become alienated and lonely gradually.
Among people of all ages and backgrounds, loneliness is a common issue, and yet it's something most of us refuse to accept. Loneliness, though, is nothing to be ashamed of. Often, it's a product of external conditions: for instance, you've relocated to a new region. There are plenty of steps you can take to meet new people in such situations and turn acquaintances into friends.
But what if you're dealing with shyness, social weakness, or the challenge of making friends for a long time? The fact is that none of us was born with social abilities. They're stuff that we learn over time, and the good news is that they can also be taught.
You can learn to silence self-critical thoughts, improve your self-esteem, and become more secure in your relationships with others, no matter how anxious you feel in the company of others. You may not have to alter your personality, but you can conquer shyness or social awkwardness, banish isolation, and enjoy solid, satisfying friendships by acquiring new skills and adopting a different outlook.
Tackling vulnerability and fear in society
The stuff we tell ourselves make a big difference when it comes to shyness and social awkwardness. Here are some common patterns of thought that can undermine your confidence and fuel social insecurity:
Believing that you're dull, strange, or unlikeable.
Believing that you are measured and judged in social settings by other individuals.
Believing that if you make a social error, you'll be disqualified and criticised.
Believing that it would be tragic and devastating to be rejected or socially humiliated.
Believing that you decide who you are by what others say of you.
It's no wonder social conditions seem frightening if you believe these things! The reality, however, is never quite so black-and-white.
People don't care about you, not to the extent that you think, at least. In their own lives and problems, most individuals are caught up. Much when you think of yourself and your own social problems, other individuals think about themselves. They don't waste their spare time criticizing you, so stop wasting time thinking about what you think about others.
Many other people feel just as uncomfortable and anxious as you do. It can seem as if everybody else is an extrovert brimming with self-confidence when you're socially insecure. That isn't the case, though. Some people are better than others at suppressing it, but there are many introverted individuals out there dealing with the same self-doubts as you are. It's just as possible that the next person you talk to is concerned about what you think of them!
People are much more tolerant than you believe they are. In your mind, it is horrifying the mere thought of doing or doing something shameful in public. You're sure you will be judged by everyone. But it's very unlikely, in fact, that people are going to make a big deal about a social faux pas. At some level, everybody has done it, so most will just ignore it and move on.
Learning to accept yourself
You will naturally feel less insecure socially as you begin to understand that people are NOT scrutinizing and judging your every word and deed. But the way you feel about yourself always leaves it. We're our own biggest critics all too much. In a way that we will never be to strangers, let alone the individuals we care for, we're harsh on ourselves.
It doesn't happen immediately to learn to embrace yourself-it involves adjusting your thinking.
To be liked, you don't have to be great. Our imperfections and quirks can actually be endearing. And our failures will bring us closer to others. It's a bonding experience when someone is honest and transparent about their flaws, particularly if they are able to laugh at themselves. If you can embrace your awkwardness and imperfections cheerfully, you'll probably find that others, too, will. They may love you even more for it!
Making errors is okay. They're all making mistakes; it's part of being human. And when you screw up, give yourself a break. It's not from being flawless that the meaning comes. Try to look at your own errors like you would those of a friend if you find self-compassion challenging. What will you tell a friend of yours? Follow your own advice now.
It's important to pause and actively question them when you're thinking about such skewed thoughts. Pretend you're an objective third-party analyst, then ask yourself if the situation can be viewed in other ways.