“It is easy to be brave, from a safe distance.”
For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent a lot of time by myself. As a child, I hated school so much that I dropped out at the earliest opportunity, and completed my high school diploma at home. After college I managed to score I job I enjoyed, but I spent a lot of time wanting to find a way to work from home. I finally actualized that dream in 2004, when I started my own home-based business.
I feel lucky to be able to spend a lot of time at home alone because I find it extremely satisfying. My environment is peaceful, and I have the freedom to do what I want with the added bonus of being my own boss. My serene surroundings allow me to do a lot of meditating, thinking, learning, and general personal development without any input from other people. When I spend a lot of time alone, I feel I am more able to listen to and act upon my intuition.
However this week it occurred to me that there are over 6 billion other humans on the planet, and I bet that many of them are really cool, fun people that I would enjoy hanging out with. I often feel as if I am “missing out” by not meeting some of these prospective friends. Lately I’ve noticed a need to increase my social time and find some sort of balance. I’ve also begun to question whether I spend too much time alone.
Enjoying lots of time to yourself is healthy, but extensive amounts of time alone can also be an indication of shyness and fear. Social anxiety stems from one of the more common collective fears of humanity – inadequacy. Many people in the world have not yet learned how to love and accept themselves as they are. The general collective has deep feelings of unworthiness and it manifests as fear. If you haven’t learned to love yourself, chances are you either have a fear of being alone or a fear of people.
People who are afraid of being alone fear the void that surfaces without the distraction of a companion. They have a deep need to keep busy – socially, mentally, and physically busy.
How do you overcome these fears? Well, the good news is that irrational fears are only thoughts, and any thought can be changed. Step one is to really recognize your fears, identify them, and write them down. Write down what you are afraid of and why. Keep asking “why” until you get to the root belief of what’s causing your fear. For example… if you are afraid of people, you might notice that you’re afraid of public speaking. WHY? “Because I’m afraid of being judged and criticized.” WHY? “Because I don’t feel adequate or worthy enough of myself to not take external criticism personally”. By asking “why”, you’ll discover the root cause of your fear of people and you can begin to re-program your mind into a new belief. You can transform your mind using a myriad of techniques such as positive affirmations, meditation, EFT, journaling, or your own unique method.
Eventually, you can find a way to face your social fears by participating in some kind of social activity. I’ve found Toastmasters to be effective in dealing with my own social anxiety. One important thing to remember is to detach yourself from the outcome. It doesn’t really matter what happens after you face your fear of people. You’ve already demonstrated your courage and willingness to change.
By facing your fear of people, you are contributing to the healing of the planet. Each time we face a fear we do our part in dissolving the fear of the collective, creating a more loving, peaceful, compassionate, & joyful environment to emerge.