Social anxiety

Someone asked a really good question today: what's the awakened take on social anxiety?   This is a matter of some interest to me because I had a surprising realization recently—a lot of the problems I'd been experiencing in my life were actually coming from social anxiety.   It took a while to really get in touch with this, but at some point I started noticing that in all of my interactions with people, there was a lack of trust and an intention to control that I hadn't clearly seen before.

What I mean by this is that I was spending a lot of mental energy thinking about how to best present myself so as to get people to treat me the way I wanted to be treated.   This was just happening in the background—I had been completely unaware of it.   But the effect that it had was twofold: first, I was putting a lot of mental energy into modeling other peoples' mental states.  And second, the desire for that energy to produce fruit in the form of the person doing what I wanted was creating a lot of anxiety, because of course it hardly ever works, and so there's a desire for control coming together with a feeling of being out of control.

The thing that helps me the most is noticing that I am trying to control my own behavior in order to produce behavior in others. To the extent that I can both notice this, and try to trust them to just do their part without needing my help, the anxiety gets better.

It's important to recognize that I don't actually have any control over them. Maybe they will behave the way I want; maybe they won't. This simply isn't up to me. By allowing them to be in charge of how they behave, of course I am taking the risk that they will behave toward me in away that I don't like, but now it's not my problem if they do that.

It might sound like that shouldn't do anything to help with the anxiety, but it does seem to work.  I've been finding myself in a lot of social situations since I noticed this where I've been able to function without the usual anxiety by just allowing the people I"m interacting with to do them, and allowing myself to just do me.