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//Ep #57: Social and Approach Anxiety

Ep #57: Social and Approach Anxiety

A lot of us struggle with social and approach anxiety, worrying and stressing about interacting with and meeting people. The good news is that this is a problem that you can overcome, just like I did! I used to find it very hard to attend gathering and parties and would find excuses to not go or drink too much when I did, to buffer these feelings.

The main lesson here is to take ownership of our feelings and concerns. It can often feel like we know what others might be thinking of us or problems they may have with the way we look or act. As soon as you realize that these thoughts are not theirs, but yours, you can start to change these patterns and feel less anxiety.

When we realize that almost everyone is thinking about themselves and not about us, we see that we are much freer and can get on with being ourselves without so much doubt and worry. The negative thoughts we project onto others about ourselves are almost never true and the sooner you realize this the more enjoyment you will get out of social interactions and meeting wonderful people!

Want to know more about what I do and how I can help you? Sign up for a free 45-minute session with me, and I’ll show you how this works!

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • The basics of where social and approach anxiety arise from.
  • The evolutionary roots of social anxiety for humans.
  • How to overcome this evolutionary tendency through cognitive mastery!
  • A lesson from toddlers about separating ourselves from others.
  • Why our thoughts about other people are actually mostly about ourselves.
  • Our projected negative thoughts relate to our own inner critic, not other people!
  • Why other people are nothing to fear; it’s all about you.
  • You can be the best piece of steak in the world, but some people don’t meat. 
  • That there is no universal truth about our perceptions of others.
  • Why avoiding social situations doesn’t fix social anxiety.
  • The ways that we buffer thoughts about ourselves, alone or in public.
  • How to take ownership of your thoughts about yourself!
  • People never spend as much time thinking about us as we think they do.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • Learn how you can enter to win one of five FREE coaching sessions here!
  • Sign up for Unleash Your Alpha, your guide to shifting to the Alpha mindset.

Full Episode Transcript:

 

[INTRODUCTION]

[0:00:09.6] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Alpha Male Coach podcast. The only podcast that teaches men the cognitive mastery and alpha mindset that it takes to become an influential and irresistible man of confidence. Here is your host, certified life coach and international man of mystery, Kevin Aillaud.

[EPISODE]

[0:00:32.5] KA: What’s up my brothers, welcome back to the Alpha Male Coach podcast. I am your host, Kevin Aillaud. This is a very special episode for two reasons. As you know, we are continuing to talk about emotions in November but this episode is super-duper special because first, if you have social anxiety then I know this is a rough time of year for you. The holidays are coming up and with the work parties and the family gatherings and everything that goes along with being around people and groups and then all of that stuff. I used to have a lot of social anxiety which I’m going to talk about on this podcast.

But second, because I get a lot of questions from men about how to approach women they don’t know, right? How to do that cold approach with confidence. As a confidence coach, I worked with a lot of men on that and there is a community of coaches called pickup artists or PUA’s and they work with a lot of men around approaching with all kinds of industry-specific jargon like day game and night game and you know, I even did a podcast on SMV.

That sexual market value concept, which you know, if you haven’t listened to the podcast episode, go ahead and listen to it, I find it subjective and completely erroneous but go ahead and listen to that. The reason why I bring up the pickup artist and dating coaches is that to them, they classify me as an inner game coach, right?

Approaching women or approaching a woman is all about you. It’s nothing about her. I get a lot of questions about this and so I’m going to take these two concepts, these two social anxiety and approach anxiety, we’re going to talk about both of them here today. Because they’re both pretty much the same thing.

[0:02:13.4] KA: But real quick, head over to iTunes and leave me a rating and review. Here is the thing guys, iTunes has changed up their search engine, you can only search by title now, not by topic. Now, since I have ‘alpha’ and ‘male’ and ‘coach’ in the title of my podcast. I’m doing pretty good with searches. But the more ratings and reviews I get, the higher I rank in the searches and the more people will find this content and have the same amazing life changes that you’ve had and will continue to have.

Do your brothers a favor and go to iTunes and leave me a five-star rating and review. If you’re on Spotify, if you’re listening on Stitcher, there’s no way for you to do this, this is just an iTunes thing and check it out, if you’ve already done this, if you’ve already left me a review and a rating then share this podcast with a buddy and then tell him to go leave me a rating and review. All right, brother?

I’m going to teach you about social anxiety and approach anxiety. In the past, this was the one thing that kept me from meeting so many amazing women and making so many new friends. I used to be plagued with both social and approach anxiety. I would avoid parties completely. I would avoid gatherings; I would avoid family events. When I was dating a woman, I would feel anxiety before meeting her family or hanging out with her family during holidays.

I ran a gym for many years and I would host parties at the gym. But the moment the party ended and the crew decided to go out to the bars or the clubs, I would make up some excuse not to go, I had to clean up or something. Same thing with meeting and dating women, approaches were terrifying to me and dating, what came after the approach, that was only mildly better, I would have been worried that I would be boring or awkward or I would have to stay longer than I wanted. I would have been worried about what she was thinking about, about how I looked, about what I did for work, you know, the sound I made when I ate around her or whatever.

[0:04:03.8] KA: The things I talked about, I would have so many thoughts creating social and approach anxiety. I just would have a ton of anxiety. It’s no big deal now and I don’t have this anxiety anymore but I know that I’m not alone because so many of you, right? Send me emails, asking for help with your thoughts and feelings and fears about social gatherings and approaching women. It might be family holidays, it might be cocktail parties, it might be work events or even a low key night at the local bar.

It doesn’t matter what it is, it has nothing to do with the circumstance. So many of us spend so much of our time in social settings or walking up to a person we don’t know, just excruciatingly aware of ourselves and paranoid about how we’re being perceived. That’s what I want to talk to you guys about today.

Let’s start with the basics, social anxiety, the way I’m using it in this podcast is anxiety you feel before, during or after socializing. Approach anxiety is the anxiety you feel before, during or after, talking to an attractive woman, walking up to someone, it could be an attractive woman, it could be you know, the friend as well, you know? A new friend.

Stranger you don’t’ know but most of the time, the anxiety comes from a woman who you find to be attractive. For brevity’s sake, I’m going to refer to social anxiety and approach anxiety collectively as social anxiety. They’re really the same thing. One is with people, the other is with a person. But like any anxiety, it’s caused by your thoughts, brother, you know this.

[0:05:38.3] KA: Specifically, it’s caused by your thoughts about what other people at the social event are going to think about you or what another person, what this woman is thinking about you. Even just knowing that can be edifying for some people. Social anxiety is not mysterious or inexplicable, right? It’s caused by your thoughts, it’s almost always caused by thoughts about what other people will think will feel about you.

You are projecting thoughts and imagining that other people will think those thoughts about you and that creates anxiety for you. You know, when I do podcast episodes on emotions, I talk about this all the time. I talk about that humans are especially primed to worry about social rejection because we evolved in small hunter gatherer tribes.

If you were an early human, it actually was life or death if other people in the tribe liked you or didn’t like you. If they wouldn’t share their food with you or if they left camp while you were sleeping, you were probably going to die. The humans who survived, right? The humans who made it were mostly humans whose brains were very focused on what other people thought about them.

We all descended from people who spend a lot of time thinking about what other people thought about them. We are mostly not descended from the people who didn’t care what other people thought about them. Just because we can understand this evolutionarily and sociologically, why we’re taught to think that way, it doesn’t mean it’s unavoidable.

[0:07:12.4] KA: It doesn’t mean that it’s inherent and that we’re all just plagued with this anxiety. It’s still caused by our thoughts. Just because there’s an evolutionary or social predisposition to certain kinds of thoughts, just because we’re taught to think that way or our default is to think that way, it doesn’t mean that your thoughts are unchangeable or that you’re necessarily going to have to have them. But that they’re just going to happen to you. You get to decide what you want to think, that’s cognitive mastery.

It means that you know, we just need to understand what are these thoughts come from. So that we can change them. If you’ve ever spent time with a toddler, you know that they don’t totally grasp the concept of separation between themselves and other people. I want to make this analogy for you, a toddler thinks that if they cover their eyes, you can’t see them because they can’t see you.

They think they’re invisible. I think that social anxiety, you know, we’re so critical of ourselves and we assume everyone else is thinking about this with the same level of attention and scrutiny and negativity that we are. You know, we are always on our own minds and our brains are always cataloging our own thoughts. We assume that naturally, that’s what everybody else is thinking about also.

When a toddler goes like, “I can’t see you, you can’t see me.” Then what we’re saying is, I’m thinking about myself and you must be thinking about me too because I’m thinking about myself, everyone else must be also. But this is the move brother. You really got to get this move because when you get this move, it’s going to blow your mind, it’s not just you that’s doing that. It’s everybody that’s doing that.

[0:08:49.6] KA: Check this out. If there’s 10 of us in a room, we’re all thinking about ourselves and we’re assuming that all the other people in the room are thinking about us also. But we’re all just thinking about ourselves, we’re all thinking the same thing. Other people are thinking about themselves, not you, just like you’re thinking about yourself, not them.

You may think that you are thinking about them because you’re thinking, I hope they like me or what do they think about me or whatever. But that’s not about them. That’s about you. That’s about what they might think about you. It’s still about you. You imagine what you fear other people are thinking about you? It actually has nothing to do with them.

It’s your thoughts about you because – here’s the thing. The whole reason you even come up with a thought that you imagine someone else might think about, is that your brain already has that thought. It’s already in the list of contents, right? Or in your smart phone. Check this out. Have you ever had a fight with someone and you were just astounded to hear what they thought about a situation or what they thought had happened, what their perspective was?

What they thought you meant when you said something and it was just totally bizarre and surprising because you never imagined that they would think that in a million years? That’s because you’re not someone who can read other people’s minds. None of us can read each other’s minds. The thoughts that you imagine other people are having are just your own thoughts.

[0:10:18.6] KA: It’s not a coincidence that the thoughts you fear about other people might have about you, completely match up with your own self-critical thoughts. It’s not a coincidence that you never worry about negative thinking, you know, thinking negative things about the qualities you like about yourself because you don’t think those things are negative.

You know, I was never worried someone would think I was too smart because I didn’t think that being smart was a bad thing. I always thought, you know, being smart is great, I was never worried that somebody would judge me negatively for being intelligent. But if you’re someone who believes people shouldn’t seem too smart. Then you would worry about whether other people think you’re smart. It has nothing to do with whether either of us is really smart or not. It’s just our thoughts about it. The point is that the things I like about myself, I never worried somebody else would think.

If it did occur to me they might think, “Well that’s just dumb, why would they think less of me for being intelligent?” But when I didn’t know how to manage my own mind, all of my social anxiety, all of my approach anxiety came from my thoughts where I imagined other people would be thinking that I was too short or too bald or too plain or too quiet because those were the negative thoughts I had about myself.

[0:11:33.5] KA: The same is true for you. Whatever negative thoughts you imagine other people might be having about you. Those are just thoughts you already have about yourself. That’s how your brain knows how to think about them. That’s how your brain knows how to draw attention to them. People can think anything they want. Remember guys, thoughts are not just choices, they’re infinite choices, you can literally think anything you want.

People could think anything they want about you but you know, you don’t sit around thinking, I hope they don’t’ think I’m a lizard or I hope they don’t think I’m an alien, right? You don’t worry about that, even though somebody could think that. Somebody could totally think you’re from another planet. Look, I’m five foot 10 inches and I never think I hope they don’t think I’m too tall. Because I don’t think I’m too tall, right?

It doesn’t even occur to me to imagine that somebody might think I’m a tall person. What does occur to me, what does occur to you is to worry that they have the same negative thoughts about you that you have about you. Here’s the good news. All of these means that other people are nothing to fear. It’s never about what’s going on in their brain bro. Never about them, it’s always about you.

You have no idea what they’re thinking. Even if you did, what they think means something about them, not about you, the same reason that your thoughts are totally about you and mean everything about you, other people’s thoughts just mean everything about them.

[0:12:55.6] Look, I have said this on the podcast before but it was many episodes ago, so I am going to say it again. You can be the most delicious cut of stake in the world and some people just don’t eat meat. You know one of my teachers uses the analogy of peaches but I think you guys understand the value of a perfectly marbled one inch think cut of rib eye, right?

Just the most beautiful piece of stake you have ever seen in your life and it is so true like you could be that best steak in the world and some people don’t like steak. They don’t eat meat, they won’t eat cows. I know it sounds crazy but it’s true. Bacon is another one. I eat bacon every day, every single day. I can’t wrap my mind around people who don’t eat bacon. I can’t wrap my mind around vegetarians. I just said it, okay? I just don’t get it. It doesn’t matter how great the meat it, some people just don’t like it.

Here try this example, think about someone that you and a friend disagree about. Now maybe it is a woman even, right? Maybe you are out at the bar with a friend and imagine you are sitting there with this buddy of yours and you see this woman and your friend thinks this woman is boring and unattractive, right? She comes over to your table, your guys are talking to her.

Your friend thinks this woman is boring and unattractive but you think she is interesting and attractive or you think that she is fun and your friend is like, “You know this woman is crazy. She has issues.” That woman is the same person. You know it is not like you are seeing her one way and your friend is seeing her in another way, right? You are seeing two different faces. You are seeing the same body. He thinks she is unattractive, you think she’s attractive.

[0:14:34.1] You know, she is demonstrating the same behavior. You think she is interesting and fun, he thinks she’s boring and has issues. You know they are just being them. She is just being herself. You and your friend have just totally different thoughts about her. So which one of you is right? Is there any way for you to truly know whether this woman is actually attractive and fun or is she just boring and has issues? No bro, there is no way to know.

That woman isn’t truly attractive or unattractive. She is not truly fun or truly trying to too hard or has issues or whatever. We’re never going to get a certified letter from the universe with a verdict on that question. This person, this woman just exists and you and your friend have different thoughts about them and whatever you think about them will seem true to you. The fact is that woman is a circumstance. She is completely neutral.

She is a cellular mass, crude mater in the form of meat, skin, muscle, bone, your thoughts about that person will have nothing to do with that person. They have to do with you and your own brain and all your own biases and preconceptions and all of that. The same is true for other people’s opinions of you.

Now in the first part of this podcast, I talked about the ways in which we just project our own thoughts and imagine other people are thinking them. Even though other people are all thinking about themselves. But even if someone has an opinion of you that they think is negative, you don’t actually control or cause that opinion and that is the good news. You don’t control or create other people’s thoughts. Their opinions of you are actually none of your business, like who cares. Like just today, I had this thing happen. It is funny actually because it happened today right before as I was getting ready to set this podcast up.

[0:16:32.8] And it happened very quickly in the space of half an hour, I got two emails from people who had applied to work with me and I invited them to work with me through consultation calls and one of them was like, “Yeah, let’s do it. I thought it was going to be so much more expensive. You know, life coaching is usually way more expensive than this and this is great. I can’t wait, what a bargain. You know it is going to be great value to work with you.”

And then the other guy was upset and almost angry at me for charging too much and had a lot of opinions about how terrible I was at choosing my price-point and you know it is the same me. It is the same amount of money. There is no difference. The thoughts about me and more honestly their thoughts about their own ability to create the results that come from the program is what was creating those different emotions and actions.

Are we ever going to know if it is truly an amazing bargain or truly a terribly over expensive program? I mean I choose to think it is the former not the later but you know we are never going to know for sure. No one can ever run a scan of me and be like, “Okay we have the diagnosis.” Those people’s thoughts determine their experience of me, of the program and it all comes from their thoughts about themselves. It has nothing to do with me and the same is true for you.

Someone else’s thoughts about you are what create their opinion about you. It comes from their brain, it has nothing to do with you, so that is the good news. Now here is the bad news, as I have said before, brother, the call is coming from inside the house. Your own thoughts about you are the problem. Other people are not the problem, ever, at all. Other people are neutral they are circumstances. That is why avoiding social situations doesn’t fix social anxiety.

[0:18:28.0] That is why not approaching that woman is never going to fix your approach anxiety. It doesn’t solve your problem. I mean it will make it less intense, you know when you imagine going to a social situation or approaching a woman, you get a lot of anxiety thinking about it and if you decide that you don’t have to go if you get some immediate relief because your brain is basically like, “Oh we are going to run straight into the lion’s den.”

And then you say to your brain, “Okay, we don’t have to really go into the lion’s den,” and then your brain says, “Oh, well that feels great. Now I don’t feel this anxiety anymore,” but if you have negative thoughts about yourself, you are going to have those negative thoughts whether you go to a party or not, whether you approach this woman or not. The reason you want to stay home is that at home, there aren’t as many people around for your brain to project your self-critical thoughts onto.

When you stay home alone, you can just numb out from your thoughts the way you probably normally do to avoid being alone with them. I did a podcast on loneliness a couple of weeks ago. You know you can get on your phone and scroll around Facebook. You can watch Netflix or you can eat or drink or watch pornography or smoke marijuana or do whatever it is that you do when you are alone to avoid thinking about those thoughts about yourself.

When you are at a party, you don’t have that escape or it doesn’t have to be a party or whatever social event but you don’t have that escape and so those thoughts feel so present to you. They feel like they are coming upon you like they are right on top of you. That is why it seems like it would solve your social anxiety or approach anxiety to just not go out, to just not approach that woman but it doesn’t really solve the problem because the thoughts are still about you and they are still in your own brain.

[0:20:14.7] They are not coming from the party, they are not coming from the people and they are not coming from that woman and by the way, if you noticed that you over drank or you over eat at parties or at social events, it is usually because you are trying to numb out your social anxiety. If you want to cure your social anxiety, you have to start with you brain. Avoiding social occasions or drinking or drinking until you black out, neither of those are going to solve your problem.

And that seems obvious but it is worth stating anyway because as a personal side note, I used to use alcohol quite a bit to numb my own social and approach anxiety and let me tell you, it never ever ended well. So here is what I want you to do the next time you are anxious about a social occasion or even just do it now. Do it now, look, if you are interested in meeting more women because you never know when you are going to run into an attractive female, then do this exercise now.

I want you to write down all the reasons you are nervous to talk to her. You know, project it ahead, imagine the woman of your dreams standing on the street corner while you are walking your dog. She is right there in front of you, project ahead. What are you afraid you will think or feel? And then I want you to notice if you are attributing any of those thoughts to her or to other people if you are doing the social anxiety thing and I want you to take ownership of them.

So check this out, if you write down, “I am just afraid that she is going to think that I am too overweight or that I don’t dress well or that I am awkward or that I am not interesting or I am boring or that I am too short.” If those are your thoughts notice that you are attributing all of those to other people. You are attributing those to her thinking. Notice how you think they will think about you and I want you to take ownership of them.

[0:22:12.2] Those thoughts are not about what they will think about you, those are your own thoughts about you. They have nothing to do with another person or other people and that is actually great news for you, bro, because you can’t control other people’s brains but you can control your own brain. You can learn to manage your own mind and when you write down all of those things you are afraid you’ll feel or think, those are all your own thoughts.

And now you know what your thoughts are about yourself and now you can work on shifting them. The more you work on those thoughts and the more you come up with neutral or positive replacement thoughts to think about yourself the more you will be able to navigate any social situation with ease. It is especially important with all of those holiday parties coming up and it is especially important if you want to meet more women or just more people in general.

The problem, my brother, is always, always that we spend way too much time thinking about what other people think about us, which they never are. Other people are thinking about themselves and we are not spending enough time thinking about what we think about ourselves, which is usually negative and for us to be curious about explore, so we can shift and change. Recognizing that other people aren’t thinking about us that they are only ever thinking about themselves.

And learning to train your brain to think amazing things about yourself, so that you can show up with the thoughts, with the emotions and with the actions that serve you is cognitive mastery and emotional ownership and I invite you to learn these skills. I invite you to create relationships on your terms and then view yourself with indomitable self-confidence. I invite you to take control and power back in your life, so that you don’t have anxiety around social events or meeting new people.

[0:24:10.1] Even when it is the woman of your dreams. I invite you to start your Agoge training today. Check out the Elevated Alpha Society Spartan Agoge Program and unlock your personal greatness. Commit to spending one year of your life training your brain to work for you instead of against you and watch the magic happen. Watch it unfold in front of you. You deserve the life that you desire.

Join the community of men who are building their kingdoms and intentionally living into their future. Go to thealphamalecoach.com and join the team. I look forward to working with you and until next week, my brother, elevate your alpha.

[END OF INTERVIEW]

[0:24:59.3] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for listening to this episode of the Alpha Male Coach Podcast. If you enjoyed what you’ve heard and want even more, sign up for Unleash Your Alpha, your guide to shifting to the alpha mindset, at the alphamalecoach.com/unleash.

[END]

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By |2019-11-21T12:09:11-08:00November 22nd, 2019|Podcast|0 Comments

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