If something scares you, DO IT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. This is the only way that you will learn the invaluable lesson that most of your fears are totally irrational. Not only are they baseless, but they are keeping you back from leading the type of exciting life that you could be living, a life in which the sky truly is the limit.
Most people go through their lives with a very low ceiling of what is possible for them. They don’t realise that to fulfill their potential and be truly happy takes work and genuine effort. When something scares you and gives you a feeling of anxiety, what you are experiencing is the residue of the fear our ancestors felt when they were living in a very different world filled with very real dangers, such as disease, famine and real violence. Our ancient ancestor’s anxieties served them well and kept them safe. To feel fear is in our genes, but it is now a hindrance and we must learn to act in-spite of it.
The problem with modern man is that we still get that feeling of anxiety but we live in a totally different environment. In the modern world taking risks often results in great rewards. The worst we can expect from acting in the face of our anxiety is the warm caress of a blush, the heat of mild embarrassment on our backs and a useful lesson in life. We live in the safest environment any humans have ever lived in. We are safer than we’ve ever been, so our anxiety has nothing genuinely dangerous to focus on and instead effects us when we want to talk to an attractive girl or sing our new song at open mic. If we never act in-spite of these feelings, it never gets proven to us that in today’s world it really is totally safe to lean into your fears and do the things that make you anxious.
Because this fear is so inherent in so many of us, we need to teach ourselves over time to be braver and less insipid. If you have a social shyness problem and you would like to interact with strangers but find you don’t because you are too reserved and your ancient, redundant fear impulses are getting the better of you, then the only way to overcome this obstacle is to lean into your fear. Start small by making small conversation with a shop assistant or asking somebody for directions on the street. The next level would be to ask someone for their opinion on where the best place to get coffee in your town is. If you keep this up for a while you will realise that people are not so intimidating and that there really is nothing to feel anxious about. You will begin to talk to strangers with ease and warmth. Your interactions will become more natural and pleasant and you will begin to enjoy people in a whole new way. You will realise just how much you were missing out on when you couldn’t talk to strangers. You will realise how stifling and limiting your old fears were.
In order to get over my own social anxiety I set a challenge for myself to talk to 3 strangers everyday, man, woman, young or old, every day until my anxieties about talking with strangers abated. Doing this helped me to become a much better conversationalist and it greatly reduced my SA.
Immersion therapy works.
Be honest with yourself. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that you are just fine the way you are. If you find somebody attractive but can’t introduce yourself then that is your fear getting in the way. Learn to do it.
The regret of not doing something you want to do is so much stronger than the regret of trying and failing. Learning to control and act in-spite of your irrational fears takes time and is an ongoing process. You are building a new reality and you have to convince your subconscious mind that it is real. Lean into your fears at every opportunity and you will lead a richer, happier and more exciting life.