One of the reasons people find themselves emotionally upset is confusion. For some people, confusion can arise from consistent resistance towards contradictions of belief systems. Take, for example, social anxiety. The socially anxious persons are at war within themselves regarding their expectations and outcomes for their interactions with other people.
Acceptance of others as they are
The socially anxious person expects all social interaction to proceed and end peacefully, with the other party or parties always seeing him or her in a positive view. Subsequently, the socially anxious person finds it difficult to cope with an interaction that does not proceed peacefully. Regardless of whether the socially anxious person blames himself or the other party, the solution to this dilemma comes down to being able to accept people as they are.
For example, the situation of a co-worker who is habitually hostile towards you. In some cases, there is really nothing you can do to change the mindset of that coworker, so going about seeking to resolve your differences with the coworker is irrational, as there was never a “real” conflict between you two to begin with.
However you choose to respond to the coworker’s dislike towards you, (be it to simply ignore him, or acquire another job) will have to be consistent with the fact that your coworker’s dislike towards you, was not caused by you.
Release the desire to control
Your experiences with social anxiety come about when you convince yourself that you have some type of control over interactions with other people. Anxiety can become triggered when you struggle to come up with ways to control an unfavorable situation.
There is nothing to control.
Even if you really did something to upset your coworker, maybe you didn’t give them a report on time, or you parked in their parking spot, the reality is that the best you can do is make amends for your wrongdoing and move on with your life.
People who struggle with social anxiety tend to be overly empathetic and naturally inhibitive, so it is unlikely you’ve done anything to cause intense dislike for anyone. Sometimes it is about the other person, not about you.
Take care of yourself
In short, it helps your case to always be honest with yourself, because most of the time when you accept a difficult situation you understand there is little you can do to remedy it. The best thing you can do is take care of yourself.
Being honest with yourself can be a difficult process because it involves challenging previously held beliefs. Commonly held beliefs of people who struggle with social anxiety tend to run with the themes of “I can’t cope with quarrels, so, therefore, I must be a peacemaker. I must be liked by all, so I must always be agreeable, I am a failure, so I must hide my flaws. I can’t trust others” and the list goes on.
When working with clients who struggle with these types of beliefs, I will often ask them to imagine what their lives would be like, if they genuinely came to see and believe themselves as being okay, regardless of the opinions of others. The process of identifying and practicing new and healthier beliefs is easier said than done but is well worth it.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach who specializes in social anxiety. If you would like to learn more you are welcome to call and book your first appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.Please share this post!