The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it — Eckhart Tolle
Sometimes, when we feel stressed, anxious or depressed we want to either stuff these feelings down or find a way to fix them as quick as possible. We do not allow them space to teach us something, instead, we resist them and we try to distract ourselves. When we do this we end up feeling even more vulnerable and helpless.
When it comes to feelings such as loneliness, hurt, shame etc … our knee-jerk reaction is to either distract from them with pleasure seeking/addictive behaviors or engage in power seeking behaviors in order not to feel helpless and vulnerable.
However, recent research is beginning to show us that acceptance is key to moving past pain.
Your negative feelings are good for you
The solution to properly dealing with negative thoughts and feelings is acceptance. Accepting your emotions gives you a chance to think about the situation that caused it. You can then take the practice a step further and even accept the ”bad” situation. Accepting the situation and committing to wait it out allows the intensity of the feeling to subside. Sometimes our resistance to our own emotions and the situations that cause the emotions prevent the emotion (and situation) to run its course and remove itself from our experience.
Only from a place of calm can you properly interpret the messages that your emotions are trying to tell you. You may need to leave a bad relationship or find a better job, you may, actually, just need to take better care of yourself. These realizations are best discovered from a calm and clear space rather than one of heightened negative emotion.
Change your experience with social anxiety through acceptance
Social anxiety often causes strong avoidance tendencies. Avoidance of social situations only makes the problem worse. The more you avoid social interactions, the more you miss opportunities to build social skills. You lose out of chances to build connections with people. The best way to overcome the fear that underlies social anxiety is to accept it and put yourself in the dreaded anxiety-producing situations. In this way, you can begin to change your experience.
So the next time you feel anxious, in a social situation, take a deep breath and allow yourself to feel these feelings. Accept the situation that is causing them. This is the first step in allowing real change to take place in yourself and in your life.
Ugo is a life coach and psychotherapist who specializes in social anxiety. If you would like to learn more or if you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you are welcome to call to schedule an appointment or fill out the contact form and click send.