Being Proactive, External Focusing, Taking the Initiative, and Active Listening
All four ideas are related concepts
Because we know that focusing internally on our own old anxiety thoughts and beliefs only reinforces our problems … we need to focus externally … on the other person, other people, or on the physical task in front of us.
Paying attention to our inner feelings always spells trouble and leads to defeat. We have been paying attention to our anxiety all our lives, and paying attention to anxiety just leads to more anxiety.
We also need to act first, to take the initiative, rather than always RESPONDING to life’s events. By being an active player in life’s events, we will feel better about ourselves, our self-esteem will rise, and we will feel more confident.
This is another paradox, of course, and overcoming social anxiety involves understanding these paradoxes and what to do about them.
If we take the initiative and act first (i.e., say hello to a co-worker first), then we will feel less anxious and more confident. The more we hide and avoid and only respond to life… the more anxiety and depression we will feel.
The more we listen to other people "actively" by focusing externally on them, the more we will hear them correctly, the better we will be able to converse with them, and the easier our conversations will go.
If we listen better, we will speak better.
If we take the initiative, say hello first, and start small conversations first, then we will feel more in control, we will feel better about ourselves, we will feel more confident and more open.
The more we feel confident, in charge, and open… the LESS and less anxiety is going to have any power over us. So,
- Active Listening
- External Focusing
- Being Proactive in Social Situations
- Taking the Initiative
All have the power to lessen and reduce anxiety.
With persistence, patience, and consistency with this, anxiety will have no choice but to shrink and shrink and shrink …