Have you ever been to a seminar, and you start to groan when the speaker asks the crowd to turn and greet each other? Or do you find that your lunch time is often spent only between your lunch and you. You are not alone. There are many people who simply fear to interact with people.
Do you envy those who seem to have a gift of the gab and seem almost to have friends everywhere? Well, know your enemy and the battle is won. Your enemy in this article is about your fear of interacting with people, and it seeks you to understand fear better, so that you can start to lead an even more purposeful life.
Now, there are external and internal fears that some people would face. External fear is something that happens outside of you, that you are strongly motivated t o avoid, such as fear of spiders or heights. Internal fear is something that developed within you, such that you link a negative emotion to, such as fear of talking because of embarrassment. The fear of talking to strangers, public speaking and making more friends probably came from an event that you previously experienced directly or indirectly, and it caused you much embarrassment.
Understand Your Fear
Essentially there is a sense of loss of control, when that particular event happened, and you start to form an opinion of yourself there and then. Once that limiting belief of "I can't talk to anyone" is formed, you clam up when similar events happen in the future. However, what is important to note is that you accepted that limiting belief, because you believed in it yourself. Do you think a monkey ever thinks that it is scared of heights and refuse to swing from tree to tree to search for food? No! It's only humans like you and I who think that way. It is this mechanism in human beings that seem to prevent us from being the best that we can be.
Confronting and Breaking this Fear
You can start by first thinking about that incident that happened to you. Most of the time, these incidents happened when you were younger than seven years of age. Your mind was like a sponge then, absorbing everything it remembered, and tagging the events, as positive or negative. So, ask yourself what the positive learning points were, when you thought of that incident. This is called re-framing. A friend of mine is so positive that when you ask him, "Is this cup of water, half full or half empty?" He would shout, "I have water to drink!" Your new ability to reframe everything will be the most important skill in your life.
The second way is to take action and that is by smiling and looking at people when you talk to them. Every time you order something from the take away, smile at the cashier directly and thank her when she keys in your order. Every time you sit down to eat, look directly into the waiter's eye, smile and thank him when he places your order on the table. This action of smiling at people can start a whole new chain of reaction that makes you more confident.
The Way Ahead
These two steps are the start in living a more purposeful and becoming a more sociable you. You will realise that your life becomes more meaningful when your social network expands. Life becomes more positive. The air seems fresher, and even the stray dog in the neighbourhood seems to wag its tail every time it sees you. You have everything to gain.