Rediscovering Your Authentic Self
One of the saddest losses that can happen with social anxiety is the loss of your authentic self.
Social anxiety creates a need to stay out of the spotlight, to avoid being noticed, to escape negative appraisal and judgment. When you feel socially anxious you are likely to avoid stating your opinion, expressing an interest in something, or disagreeing with anything. Your biggest desire is to be accepted, to fit in, to have others like you -- or at least not reject you.
When you feel socially anxious you will most likely not speak up, speak your mind, become enthusiastic, or suggest an activity. Revealing yourself seems too risky. There is always the chance that others won't be receptive to you, or worse, might judge you harshly or ridicule you.
An unexpected side effect of trying to please others or being easy to get along with as a social strategy is becoming bland & boring.
When you feel socially anxious often, you rarely express your true self, you try to go along with the crowd, agree with what others say, be pleasant, flexible, like what others like, and generally try to be easy to get along with.
While the strategy of going with the flow may help you avoid the rejection you fear inside, it also has the effect of hiding who you really are.
Do you ever feel invisible?
A common complaint some people with social anxiety have is that they have become so successful blending in that nobody really notices them. While they have people who they can associate with, but they never really feel part of the group. They feel more like a "tag-along", someone who is accepted but never really a valued member.
Forgotten, not noticed, rarely invited.....
By trying so hard to fit in, to blend in, to "be normal", to be like others, as a way to be liked it is easy to become invisible. You become easily forgotten because you have become, in effect, the person without an identity.
You can become so successful at fitting in and not standing out that you are easily forgettable because no one knows who you really are.
By working hard to be nice, easy going, easy to please and liking everything others like, rather than revealing your true thoughts and personality you risk being boring and easy to forget.
Some people with social anxiety suppress their true thoughts and feelings for so long, they start to actually forget who they really are.
An important part of overcoming social anxiety is to rediscover who you really are and gain the self confidence to begin to express your true self.
You're an amazing person with something unique that only you can cpontribute to the world. Being aware of the importance of expressing your true self is an important first step to getting your real self back again.
Now you can start getting back in touch with who you really are. Start the fun and very rewarding process of re-discovery. There are some easy ways you can begin this process.
Two Steps You Can Take Right Now To Reclaim Your True Self
1) Remind yourself about who you really are. Find a journal or special place to write. Make a list of activities you like, specal attributes you have, your strengths, cool quirks, favourite foods etc. You may find this difficut at first, but don't despair, keep it up each day and you will find the list expanding. It can be difficult at first but you will gradually expand your list, a few words a day.
2) Begin to voice your opinion about simple things in everyday situations. When coworkers or your family are putting together lunch and ask you what kind of sandwich you want.....instead of saying "I'll have what everyone else is having" or "you pick" or "whatever's easiest" make a point to say what you really want - make a choice, any choice.
When the topic of what movie should we all go to is being discussed, make a suggestion. It doesn't matter if your movie is the one that's chosen in the end, what matters is that you gave your true opinion, you participated, you shared your interests.
Reclaim your true self!
Being constantly agreeable and hiding your true self can seem harmless enough but it sends the message to others and also to yourself that you don't matter. Being too agreeable hides who you really are. This makes it very difficult for others to get to know you or get close to you, and you can end up feeling invisible and disconnected from others.
Most people actually want to get to know interesting, unique people who are proud of who they are. It becomes boring when everyone is exactly the same. While it's nice to have some things in common with but people are far more interesting when they have their own unique style and personality.