A considerable amount of people experience anxiety and discomfort in social settings, far more than we estimate. Typically we feel as if we’re the only ones who feel uncomfortable and awkward and that everyone else is enjoying themselves, but this isn’t true. We all have insecurities and many people suffer from social anxiety, and many find social settings and conversations difficult, taxing, and awkward.
The reason this happens is because we spend too much time in our heads, we fear being judged and rejected, and we fear that our true selves will be ostracized by society. This leads us to obsessing over controlling our image and perception, and to regulating and censoring everything we think and feel before we say it. We cut ourselves off in order to be perfect and to not be judged negatively. By doing this, though, we only cause more suffering for ourselves.
Here is how to be a more outgoing, social, and energized person.
1. Take Every Opportunity to Introduce Yourself and Show Genuine Interest in Others
When you’re at a party or social gathering, instead of scanning and observing everyone and then shyly looking away when you make eye contact, approach people and say hi. Don’t view social interaction as a space where you need to qualify or prove yourself. View it as an opportunity to break your fear of taking action in social settings while simultaneously getting to know others. View getting to meet and know others as a chance to connect and make friendships. Each time you do, value is being created and the world becomes a better place. Look for the positive in every situation and in each person. Give lots of compliments. People are much more likely to remember criticism than compliments, so give many more compliments than critiques.
2. Revamp Your Smile
Learn how to smile in a way that expresses joy and confidence. It’s possible to smile in such a way that conveys anxiety or insecurity. Usually that happens when we hold back from expressing ourselves fully. Revamp your smile, express yourself fully, and smile openly.
3. Get Better at Holding Eye Contact and Maintaining Good Posture
Those who fear social interaction, even if just a little bit, have a tendency to lower their awareness and to close themselves off during the social interaction. You can see this in the inability to maintain eye contact while speaking and in a shrinking of posture. Commit yourself to awareness. When you sense and feel yourself shutting down, looking away, and shrinking, immediately recognize what is happening and recommit yourself to giving your full attention and awareness to the conversation and interaction.
4. Practice Being Grounded and Get Out of Your Head
When we feel fear, our breathing becomes shallow and we retreat into our mind, where we attempt to logically control the situation and to guard our image. Instead of this, completely let go of feeling like you need to be a certain way, say the perfect thing, and to look a certain way. Breathe deeply, allow life to happen spontaneously, accept reality, and allow yourself to enjoy life. Use expression and action, moving your body and expressing yourself is what grounds you in the real world and pulls you out of being thinking-dominant. Be free from outcome. Move your body because it feels good and say things because you truly believe in it, not in order to impress others or to protect an image.
5. Don’t Be So Serious. Be Silly, and Develop a Sense of Humor
If you’re overly serious it’s likely because you fear being open, vulnerable, and appearing weak. But this is backwards and it likely stems from being shamed for expressing true self at a young age. It takes strength to be open, expressive, emotionally honest, and vulnerable. And interestingly, this is where true happiness and joy comes from, from allowing yourself to not be so emotionally closed off and serious. Look for the funny in each moment, be silly, laugh a lot, and discover your own sense of humor. Do this by watching comedy, learning how humor works, by expressing yourself, and meeting funny people. Life isn’t serious, we’re just a bunch of evolved monkeys sitting on a space-rock spinning at hundreds of miles an hour.
6. Eat Healthy, Drink Water, Exercise, and Meditate
These 4 habits will make your body and mind feel better, be more grounded, and more energized. A lot of the time, people’s poor level of energy stems from their poor diet. Meditation, deep breathing, a healthy diet, and exercising will transform you into a grounded, present, and energized person. Treat your body and mind well.
7. See Fear as Something You Must Face in Order to Grow
We will never stop experiencing fear in our lives. What successful and developed people understand is that facing your fears will always be uncomfortable, but it is absolutely necessary in order to undergo a transformation into a stronger person. Every time fear to act arises, that means that you must face that fear if you wish to grow into a stronger person. As we face our fears more and more it becomes easier over time, but it will never fully go away. View fear as a positive, each time it arises you’ve been given an opportunity to grow into a stronger and better person. Each time you refuse to face your fear, know that you are being complacent, staying the same, and if you aren’t growing, you’re dying.