Social Anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness, embarrassment and humiliation. It is the third largest mental health care problem in the world. Did the first line of this paragraph sound familiar to you? Did you just relate to it like a quote on Instagram? Or like a meme on the internet? If yes, then you might want to know how it functions and controls you.
Social Anxiety starts with a trigger, which can either be real or imaginary. A trigger is something that activates or initiates anxiety. The main trigger that nourishes this monster of Anxiety is people, but the funny thing is that they don’t actually need to be present around you. They can just be floating in your head taking control of your thinking, like Loki in the Avengers.
But people aren’t enough. People are just the beginning. They are present in your thoughts, and that’s what begins it all. Here enter the main culprits- Thoughts. Negative thoughts play a huge role in Social Anxiety. Thoughts like- “What do people think about me? Am I good enough for them?” and many similar ones are going to feed your anxiety a 10 course Haldiram’s Thaali.
In a lot of cases, what you think about people isn’t true. Mostly because people are busy with their own things, their own problems which are troubling them or maybe they are just non-judgemental humans. But you’re still going to take into consideration their ‘hypothetical judgements’ which you have been creating in your head. The ‘hypothetical judgements’ are what troubling you.
But but but, what if people do really judge you? Consider the worst case scenario- What if people ARE judging you. What if people say everything that you think they do? You can’t do anything about it, can you?
The problem isn’t people being judgemental, "kuch toh log kahenge - Logo ka kaam hai kehna", the problem is that you accept the judgement, whether real or imaginary, you accept it, like the free sukhi puri after gobbling pani puris. You accept the judgement and you feel this intense amount of shame which ends up making anxiety take over you, within the blink of an eye, too late to realise that there is a crowd you are stuck in.