Social Anxiety comes from the fear of being judged or evaluated in a bad way by other people.
Someone suffering from it might be mistaken or labeled as shy, aloof or even unfriendly. They want to make friends and be part of a group.
Social Anxiety is a long-term mental health issue that gets better with treatment.
What Are Some Symptoms Of Social Anxiety?
Someone with social anxiety can have different symptoms.
Fatigue: Some people are hyperactive or aroused after an anxiety attack. There are some people that feel fatigue or extreme tiredness.
Trembling And Sweating: Anxiety, excitement and frailty can cause uncontrollable shaking or trembling and sweating.
Upset Stomach: Stress and anxiety can make you sick to your stomach.
Trouble Breathing And Dizziness: Anxiety tightens your muscles including the ones that help you breathe. The fear of passing out happens with shortness of breath. Being short of breath causes dizziness and can make you feel lightheaded.
Muscle Tension: Muscle tension causes you to feel stiffness or unexplained pain all over your body.
Fast Heartbeat: Anxiety causes a high heart rate and heart palpitations.
Emotional And Behavioral Symptoms
Fear Of Being Judged And Embarrassing Yourself: Have you ever asked someone an embarrassing question? Then you end up feeling a lot of shame and fear of being judged for asking it? This happens a lot with social anxiety.
Hard Time With Relationships: Social anxiety makes relationships harder.
Body Image Issues: Being self-conscious about how you look can trigger social anxiety.
Substance Abuse: Substance abuse is more common in people with social anxiety issues.
Anxiety And Panic Attacks: Anxiety is the feeling of fear of what’s to come in the future. A panic attack is an episode of intense fear with physical reactions including sweating, trembling and trouble breathing.
Depression And Low Self-Esteem: Along with depression social activity leads to low self-esteem.
What Triggers Social Anxiety?
Anxiety triggers vary from person to person. Some people feel anxious due to multiple triggers and there are others that feel anxious for no reason at all.
Stressful Events Include:
Stressful Life Events and Social Situations
A lot of stressful life events can trigger social anxiety including death of a loved one, job loss, divorce, moving, emotional problems, chronic illness or past trauma.
Caffeine And Diet
For those who suffer from an anxiety disorder consuming too much caffeine can trigger symptoms or make them worse.
Eating certain foods like dairy, fried foods, gluten and processed foods feed into social anxiety.
Negative Self-Talk And Suicidal Thoughts
Social anxiety can trigger negative self-talk that may limit you from believing in yourself.
Sometimes social anxiety can co-occur with depression and negative self-talk and cause suicidal thoughts. Please call a professional immediately if you’re having suicidal thoughts.
Lack Of Sleep
There is a connection between anxiety and lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep causes anxiety and anxiety itself can cause sleep problems.
How To Overcome Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety can stay with someone for life.
When you get the right treatment it can help you to manage or even overcome your symptoms.
Ways To Overcome Social Anxiety:
Work With A Therapist
It’s important to work with a therapist. Social anxiety is managed through medication, cognitive therapy and setting objective goals.
Reduce Your Caffeine Intake and Change Your Diet
Reducing the amount of caffeine you consume and changing your diet reduces anxiety symptoms. Your diet should consist of whole grains, proteins, fruits and vegetables.
It’s important to get outside your comfort zone and slowly expose yourself to social situations. These can include crowded places, parties or even traveling to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people.
Reframe Your Negative Thoughts
I mentioned in my post “Turning Anxiety into a Superpower” that reframing is the process where negative and unhelpful thoughts are replaced with positive and empowering ones.
Please Click Below To Learn More About Turning Anxiety Into A Superpower:
Have You Ever Dealt with Social Anxiety?
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Rapport is a very important but underrated skill to have. I’ll be discussing tips on how to build rapport.
What is Rapport?
There is a word that you may have heard called “rapport”, but you may not be aware of what it means.
Rapport is a meaningful connection or relationship with someone else.
It’s also considered a state of harmonious understanding with an individual or group, examples include showing a real interest in someone else’s hobby or empathizing with someone’s situation and feeling “in sync” with them.
Building rapport is very important whether it’s with a client or more importantly with your personal relationships.
However, a lack of rapport can lead to not only a lack of communication, but also a lack of trust.
Why Is Rapport Important?
It’s important to build rapport with someone, but do you know why it’s important?
Important Reasons Include:
Building Trust: It’s interesting to note that rapport can be built at the same time as trust. Rapport focuses on establishing a bond or connection with someone, which helps you to establish a reputation for reliability, consistency and keeping your promises that builds trust.
Improved Mental Health: When rapport is being built between a therapist and yourself to treat a mental disorder it can lead to a more successful outcome.
Forming Deeper Relationships: Rapport forms the basis of deep and meaningful relationships between people. It’s the sense of connection you feel when you like and trust someone, and understand their point of view.
It’s An Important Life Skill: Rapport is an often overlooked essential skill that helps you build relationships faster and improve communication more rapidly. This is important for all aspects of your life whether you’re connected on a more intimate level or professional level.
How To Build Rapport?
Here are some tips for building rapport with other people.
Overcoming Communication Barriers: Strong communication skills are key to building rapport. However there are barriers in place that make building rapport difficult, so it’s important to learn how to overcome them.
Examples Of Communication Barriers Include:
Cultural Differences and Language
Inability To Listen To Others
Information Overload and Lack of Focus
Depression and Anxiety:
Lack of Empathy
Lack of Trust
Poor Social Skills
Improve Your Appearance: One of the fastest ways to build rapport is to make a great first impression. This includes taking pride in your appearance.
Find Common Ground: It’s essential to build rapport by asking someone open-ended questions about themselves. You’ll find common ground and build a deeper connection.
Be Your Authentic Self: When you’re being authentic, you’re being real. This is important for building rapport, because it helps to establish trust between you and other people.
Learn How To Be Empathetic: Learn how to see someone else’s point of view in order to find common ground. This is important when you’re trying to find common ground with them.
Mirror and Match Mannerisms and Speech: When we’re building rapport with other people, we may or may not be aware that we’re adopting their temperament, mannerisms, speech patterns and even their body language.
If you’re interested in overcoming social anxiety that keeps you from building rapport please click below:
Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness characterized by mood episodes that alternate between mania/hypomania and depression.
If you’re feeling manic/hypomanic you may have symptoms such as an inability to sleep, anxiety, talking rapidly or taking too much work or responsibility.
When you’re feeling depressed it can manifest itself as sadness and lack of pleasure. However it can manifest itself as irritability, which is an often overlooked symptom of bipolar disorder.
What is Irritability?
Irritability or feeling irritable is a state of nervous excitement brought on by life’s stress. It’s a normal reaction if you’re feeling tired or sick, or if you’re feeling anxious.
However, it’s an indication of a bigger problem if you’re feeling extreme irritability or if you’re irritable for an extended period of time.
When you’re irritable for a prolonged period of time it can make you angry.
Irritability is slightly different than anger, it’s when you feel easily frustrated or impatient. Anger happens when you’re lashing out at others for feeling irritable for a long period of time.
What is Bipolar Irritability?
A consequence of extreme or prolonged irritability is a form of anger called bipolar rage.
Bipolar rage is anger that’s impulsive, intense, erratic and explosive. An example would be if you’re asked a simple question and responding with irrational anger.
This means that you’re lashing out for no logical reason, on those you love and care for you. This can damage relationships and also lead to job loss and other forms of self-sabotage.
How To Manage Bipolar Irritability?
It’s important to take a healthy approach when you’re experiencing irritability or anger. You’ll find that your relationships with others and your overall quality of life improves when you learn how to cope and manage your bipolar mood episodes.
Coping Strategies Include:
Sticking To a Treatment Plan: Irritability and anger can be effectively managed when you stick with a treatment plan. This includes talking to a therapist and taking medication.
Identify Your Triggers: It’s important to learn what your triggers are. These can be events, people or requests that can upset you. These include arguments with loved ones, stressful events such as losing a job or death in the family and good things can be triggers as well, such as getting a promotion or getting married.
Harness Your Negative Energy: If you feel like lashing out, but you want to avoid negative social interactions it helps to harness that negative energy. It can be done by taking deep relaxing breaths and feeling the weight being lifted off your shoulders, or if that’s not your thing start walking, jogging or even hiking to lift your spirits.
If you’re interested in learning about relaxation techniques please click on the button below and read a previous post about mindfulness:
Connect With Your Support Group: A support group can be family and friends that understand that you have bad days. Also, when you stay connected to your support network it can minimize the severity of depressive episodes.
How Do You Handle Irritability and Anger?
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In our busy world it’s a challenge to balance work and life. We focus on school, hobbies and self-care, but we end up neglecting our social connections. Whether they’re with your family, friends, co-workers or social media support groups are more important than you realize.
When you’re able to connect with another human being it has many benefits you may not be aware of.
Lower Anxiety and Depression
Help You Regulate Emotions
Improves Your Immune System
When you neglect your need to connect with others your health is at risk, including your mental health.
Bipolar Disorder and Isolation
Lack of social connection leads to isolation and loneliness.
If you have Bipolar Disorder; feeling isolated and lonely are among the most powerful triggers of depressive episodes.
A lot of people with bipolar disorder are unaware that they have isolating tendencies.
Feeling isolated is a trigger for a depressive episode. Also, anxiety caused by hypomania can be the beginning of an episode as well.
Becoming Aware Is The First Step
If you have bipolar disorder you’ll have periods of feeling overly happy and energized. When this happens you might become the life of the party. However, as mentioned before when you’re overly happy and energized due to hypomania anxiety can occur before a depressive episode.
When this happens you may unconsciously withdraw from your social connections. It’s important to realize that self-isolation can make your depressive episodes worse.
Even when you’re not up to it, it’s important to stay connected, because it helps to keep your depressive symptoms to a minimum.
Tips For Staying Connected
Social connections can be difficult to maintain if you have bipolar disorder. Simply having someone to talk to face-to-face can be an enormous help when you’re having a depressive episode. The people you turn to should be great listeners, instead of trying to fix you. Also, the more people you can turn to the better.
Remember! Reaching out to others is not a sign of weakness.
Here are some tips to keep you connected:
Don’t Isolate Yourself:
Keep in regular contact with your friends and loved ones who are supportive. Remember that you can trigger depression when you self-isolate.
Build New Relationships:
If you don’t have a support network to fall back on it’s important to take steps to develop new relationships. However you may be unaware that people with bipolar disorder can attract unhealthy relationships.
In a previous post I discussed how loneliness can lead to unhealthy relationships. If you’re interested
please click below:
Join a Bipolar Support Group:
It helps to spend time with people that are going through the same thing. You can benefit from other group members sharing experiences and advice.
If you’re interested please click on the link below and join my new Facebook Support Group:
How Do You Manage Your Mental Health?
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Don’t forget to click on the link below to download a copy of my ebook if you’re struggling with self doubt and negative thinking brought on by bipolar disorder.
In this post I’ll be exploring what it means to feel stuck in life. It’s not always the most pleasant feeling and it can leave us anxious and depressed, so it would be interesting to discuss it on a deeper level.
What Does It Mean To Feel Stuck in Life?
Feeling stuck in life or feeling like we’re hitting the wall is a feeling we will all experience a one time or another. Whether you’re a recent college graduate who is entering the workforce, someone who has grown unhappy in their chosen profession or if you’re unhappy in your personal life it can be a painful emotion.
Feeling stuck in life or “stuckness” can make us feel like we’re drowning in mud when it seems like we can’t make progress in our lives.
Why Do We Feel Stuck in Life?
We get stuck when we feel like our lives should be something different than it is. It occurs when it’s time to make a change when something isn’t working for you anymore.
Signs That You’re Feeling Stuck in Life
When we’re feeling stuck in life there are many signs that include:
It’s Hard To Get Excited About Anything: Stuckness can cause a person to become depressed and cause you to perceive the world in a less upbeat way. When upbeat music is played on the radio it doesn’t excite you, you start seeing the world in black and white rather than in vivid colors and you become an overall boring person to be around.
You Keep Reminiscing About The Past: We all get nostalgic about past memories that bring us comfort and joy from time to time. However, stuckness can cause you to use past memories to substitute present experiences that you perceive as unpleasant.
You’re Always Daydreaming About A Different Life: Stuckness can cause you to daydream about being somewhere else rather than where you are now. This can be a problem, because daydreaming too much can become a form of self-sabotage that disrupts your long-term goals toward improving your life.
Feeling That Your Life Has No Purpose: It’s a myth that money is the only motivator. Along with making money it’s important to be in a line of work that gives you a sense of purpose, whether it makes you happy or it’s rewarding.
Staying Put, Because It Feels “Safe”: Some people feel stuck, because they feel like there are no other alternatives. They feel that they have to stay somewhere despite being unhappy, because it’s the “safe” thing to do.
Feeling Unwell On A Regular Basis: Due to the stress and anxiety of feeling stuck in an unhappy situation you’ll find yourself feeling unwell on a regular basis. For example, if you have a job that stresses you out it may cause stomach issues.
Neglecting Your Health and Well-Being: Feeling stuck in life is a downward spiral that affects many aspects of your life. Chronic stress and anxiety can lead to depression and that can cause you to neglect your health and well-being, whether you stop exercising, eating a poor diet or neglecting your love life.
In part 2 I’ll be offering tips on how to not feel stuck anymore.
Have You Ever Felt Stuck In Life?
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This post is the first part of a two part series on overcoming self-doubt.
What is Self-Doubt?
Self-Doubt is the lack of confidence in oneself and one’s abilities.
We have all been at that point in our lives where we’re questioning ourselves. Are we good enough? Are we capable of facing all of life’s uncertainties?
A certain amount of self-doubt is good. For example if you have self-doubt about how strong you are in a particular job skill can motivate you to always keep learning and growing in order to become the best you.
However, persistent fear and self-doubt can affect your life in a negative way.
What Causes Self-Doubt?
There are many causes of self-doubt including:
Past Experiences: Experiences from our past can shake and rattle our beliefs. If we keep referring back to bad experiences whether they were bad breakups or job losses we’ll doubt ourselves and our abilities when faced with similar situations in the future.
Childhood Trauma: Our habits and personalities are shaped by our upbringing. If you’re constantly being told that you’re not good enough or you’re bullied by your peers while in school you’ll always question yourself and your abilities as an adult.
Comparing Yourself To Others: Self-doubt kicks in when we start comparing ourselves to others. This is not always a bad thing, because sometimes comparing yourself to others causes you to look into what you lack in your life and find ways to improve yourself.
Fear Of Failure: Sometimes due to circumstances in our lives that are beyond our control such as illness or a bad economy we might experience setbacks and feel ashamed. It might cause us to fear failure and not take chances out of shame.
New Uncertain Challenges: If you’re experiencing a new challenge you’ve never faced it’s natural to have some self-doubt due to lack of experience.
My Experience With Self-Doubt?
Due to a childhood of stressful life experiences I ended up suffering from self-doubt made worse by Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Self-Doubt is not technically categorized as a mental illness, however it can spark anxiety and depression that can affect your life. It can lead to a negative thought pattern that can make you feel incapable of doing things that you need to do, making a mountain out of a mole hill when faced with the unknown and being unable to make clear decisions.
I overcame a lot of problems with self-doubt over the years with therapy and lifestyle changes. I wanted to share my experience with others who feel stuck and anxious about themselves, so I wrote a 5 Step Guide For Overcoming Negative Thinking.
In Part.2 I’ll be discussing how I overcame self-doubt.
By clicking on the button below you can download and purchase a copy of my new ebook:
The current COVID-19 pandemic is causing people from over the world to respond differently to it. Some people are becoming more compassionate while others are becoming colder, some people are coping through art and music while others are coping in negative ways such as drugs and alcohol. I’ll be discussing the sexual response to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Is The Pandemic Affecting You Sex Drive?
It’s interesting to hear about the conflicting reports about the COVID-19 pandemic having an affect on people’s sex drives.
The stress from the ongoing crisis and having to be on lockdown is putting a damper on desire for many people, but for others the stress is making them horny.
What Are The Reasons?
Reasons For Increased Sex Drive Include:
Reminded Of Our Own Mortality: The morbid 24/7 news coverage of the pandemic is constantly reminding us of our own mortality. In order to cope we change our attitudes and behaviors in ways designed to help us cope.
Loneliness In Isolation: I mentioned in a previous blog that we’re facing a loneliness epidemic partly due to the internet adversely affecting in-person connection. Lockdown and social distancing is making this problem worse, so some people are doubling down on not only connecting with new friends online, but also online dating that involves texting and video chat along with sexting.
Killing Boredom: A lot of singles and couples have been responding to lockdown boredom and spicing up their sex lives at the same time with the use of sex toys. It’s been reported that the same of sex toys increased since the pandemic began.
More Time On Our Hands: Due to other distractions in our lives such as working, long commutes, school, family obligations many couples have been too stressed or too busy to get intimate. Veering between social distancing and close cohabitation there have been a lot rediscovering each other while under lockdown.
Lockdown Heats Up Erotica: The COVID-19 pandemic has given birth to a new genre called quarantine erotica. Social distancing has led to the writing of raunchy stories about love in the time of COVID-19.
What Should You Be Aware Of?
If you are someone who has an increased sex drive as a reaction to this current crisis there are some facts you should be aware of.
Looming Global Condom Shortage: Due to Malaysia being on lockdown and the shutting down of factories owned by Karex, which is the largest condom company in the world had to shut down production resulting in a disruption in the global supply chain due to COVID-19. I recommend stocking up on extra condoms instead of extra toilet paper.
Online Dating Scams: If you’re starting out with online dating be aware of scammers. Online dating scams include catfishing, which is luring a victim into a relationship based on the attacker’s fictitious online persona.
Economic Slump: Be mindful of what the economy might do during and after this pandemic. If you don’t have a job or you might be losing your job due to a downturn be careful of unwanted pregnancy.
Spread Of STIs: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) already occur even without a pandemic, however since the medical system is tied up at the moment with COVID-19 patients it might be hard to get treatment.
COVID-19 And dating!
COVID-19 Has Made Dating Difficult: Even before the pandemic dating was already difficult. Now it’s a new challenge; due to social distancing we have to stand 6 feet from one another, we can’t hug each other or kiss each other because of the virus. Experts say that you’re at risk of catching the virus if you’re meeting someone for the first time or if you see someone, but don’t live together. If couples were already cohabitating then there’s less of a chance of getting sick. This is the reason why virtual dating is popular for singles right now.
How Are You Responding To This Crisis?
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Love is a set of emotions that stem from feelings of strong or constant affection, protectiveness and respect for another person.
Love can also be used to describe non-human relationships including the love for your pets, love for political freedom or love for whatever higher power you believe in.
Benefits of Love:
Fewer Doctor’s Visits
Natural Pain Control
Lower Blood Pressure
Heal Faster After An Illness
If you want to reduce your anxiety even more please download my free anxiety expert guide by clicking the button below:
Falling in Love vs. Loving Someone
When you fall in love, it is a feeling that makes you want to be with someone. The initial spark that causes two people to fall in love is due to numerous factors including physical chemistry, sexual attraction and shared interests that lead to compatibility.
There’s a difference between falling in love and loving someone, but we use the word love to describe both. Falling in love can stem from feelings of infatuation, lust and obsession and after we fall in love feelings develop on the surface after you both start talking, holding hands, hugging and kissing each other.
Symptoms of falling in love include:
Loss of Appetite
Increase in Anxiety
The complex set of feelings that develop when you fall in love may last or they may not. Also, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll love that person forever, but the initial phase is a trigger for taking action.
When you truly love someone it goes beyond those initial feelings of infatuation, lust and obsession that leads to surface feelings. Over time you have a desire to see them grow, you start looking past their flaws and you start to motivate, encourage and inspire one another.
Why Do Some People Fear Falling in Love?
The most interesting thing about love is that it has something in common with fear. Both love and fear are governed by the hormone oxytocin.
What is Oxytocin?
Oxytocin is best known as the love hormone. It is secreted by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain when you’re bonding with someone whether you’re initially falling in love, cuddling, making out or hugging. Overtime it can make you feel like going all the way.
It’s interesting that oxytocin also goes to work when something socially stressful or horrible happens to you. When this happens the oxytocin enhances your memory of the event and sometimes the bad memory might be a past relationship that makes you fearful of falling in love again.
Reason why falling in love can be scary include:
Cynicism About Love: Cynicism or being cynical is a belief that people are motivated purely by self-interest and this leads to a general distrust of others. There’s a lot of cynicism about love; it’s part of a defensive posture we take to protect ourselves from being hurt. This can stem from a previous relationship when one partner cheats on the other and betray their trust and the anger and bitterness can make them fearful and cynical about love.
Fear of Being Vulnerable: Fear of vulnerability occurs when you’re afraid to open up emotionally partly due to fear of rejection or abandonment. This fear over time turns into a metaphorical wall that you build around yourself to minimize the risk of being hurt again. Also, a new relationship is uncharted territory and we are naturally fearful of the unknown because of the risk involved.
Unrealistic Expectations: Many fear falling in love again is due to a previous relationship falling apart because of unrealistic expectations. These unrealistic expectations can include one partner becoming fixated on making their partner conform to their idea of perfection and overtime this makes their partner resentful overtime. Some say that romantic comedies create a warped sense of how perfect relationships should be; expectations include love at first sight, real love is proven through grand romantic gestures, you’ll find someone who will complete and worst of all the expectation that every problem will magically disappear as soon as you enter a relationship. Also, these unrealistic expectations sometimes cause us to think that we’re not perfect or good enough to love someone.
Fear of Losing Them: The more someone means to us the more afraid we are of losing that person. This is a normal feeling to have, but it becomes a problem when you become preoccupied with loss and abandonment. When you allow this fear to consume you it will make you fearful toward getting close to someone.
Fear of Losing Yourself: Some see falling in love as a loss of our wholeness and our independence.
TheIssues That Plague Modern Relationships
The way a lot of our generation sees relationships is not how our grandparents viewed them. Instead of describing love as something that you need to nurture like a flower and letting it grow, a lot of our generation describes love as a virus that you don’t want to catch.
We have a bad habit of falling in love too quickly, we start fighting too quickly and worst of all we give up on relationships too quickly.
Instead of taking responsibility for the flaws that make us who we are we force others to accept them and at the same time we expect others to change for us.
Biggest Problems Facing Modern Relationships Include:
Lack of Communication Between Partners: Since the main form of communicating between partners is texting other forms of communication have been cast aside such as talking on the phone and also listening.
Commitment Issues: Commitment issues in relationships are nothing new, but in modern relationships some see long-term commitment as a trap.
Influence of Dating Sites and Social Media: Dating sites and social media have led to FOMO (the fear of missing out). There’s something called the paradox of choice that causes decision paralysis when we’re constantly waiting for someone better to come along.
Constantly Chasing After Excitement: A lot of our generation craves newness or novelty. This is true when we’re looking for love and when we frequently meet someone new it excites us.
Manipulation: Relationships are supposed to be a shared emotion. However there are many one-sided relationships in which the person who could possibly care less about it and they know the other person would do anything to save the relationship. Forms of manipulation include guilt trips, passive-aggression, gas lighting, selectively showing affection and lying.
Everyone is Looking For “The One”: Unrealistic expectations about love cause us to fear inperfection and causes us to wait for “the one”. Many people do find the one, but others wait too long and they end up losing their window of opportunity.
Also, many of us are finding ourselves asking questions including:
“What is the point of getting married?”
“Is there someone better out there?”
“What does this text from my significant other or crush mean?”
“Do I want to be financially tied down to my partner”
“When will my partner grow up and stop playing video games?”
Love is something that was already scary and complicated. As the world grows more scary and complex due to changes in society, the economy and technology it may make people more fearful of love because of the potential consequences associated with modern relationships.
What To Do About Your Fear of Love?
Approach Love With Realistic Expectations: I mentioned above that we have unrealistic expectations about love and relationships. We expect instant gratification, but in reality bonding with someone takes time. We expect relationships to be easy, but they’re really hard. We expect a prince/princess, however it’s realistic to accept that people have flaws.
Get Out of Your Head: The phrase “being in your head” is a general metaphor for overthinking or overanalyzing something. Being in our heads too much leads to obsessive negative thinking that causes depression and anxiety. This negative thinking can cause us to doubt ourselves, and cause us to doubt whether the person who loves us loves us back and start questioning whether we’re worthy of love. The first step toward getting out of heads is reframing our negative thinking mentally reciting a mantra and sticking with it, for example if we’re frequently thinking that “We’re not good enough” can be replaced with “I’m an awesome person”. Also, it helps to keep your mind occupied as much as possible with activities that relax the mind such as hands-on hobbies such as woodworking, writing or cooking.
Seek Out Someone Who Shares the Same Relationship Values: One reason modern relationships are so fragile is confusing love with other feelings such as lust when we first fall in love. Also, modern relationships have lost sight of important factors such as mutual trust, compromise, dedication, patience and sacrifice, along with a factor frequently overlooked shared values. The values I’m referring to are trust, commitment, same lifestyle, same or similar beliefs and a general understanding of the same things.
Change Your Perspective About Your Fear: I mentioned in my previous blog post about fear is a condition about being afraid of something or being worried about a specific outcome. Fear can be a scary thing and hold you back from taking that step you need to take toward something positive. For example, the fear of rejection and the fear of failure can cause someone to become emotionally paralyzed and cause self-doubt. However, fear itself is not necessarily a bad thing it has a positive side. The fear of rejection and the fear of failure can be reframed, so they can teach us how to do better by reconsidering our goals and remind us that we’re human and that we make mistakes.
There’s a lot of miscommunication these days about what it means to be a man in 2019. Does it mean being stoic? Standing alone? Suppressing emotions? Not committing to a long-term relationship? Living like it’s the zombie apocalypse by not being vulnerable with anyone for the sake of survival? This blog is not intended to generalize all men, but it’s meant to discuss a problem a lot of men face. The fear of vulnerability!
Important thing to note about men that have issues with commitment. Vulnerability is scarier than death. They’ll play games with you because they are looking for a short term commitment, they’re too immature, however there are others that want to commit long term, but they have a difficult time making it happen partly due to the fear of vulnerability.
Why is vulnerability so scary?
The unwillingness or inability to be vulnerable could be due to past trauma or past relationship baggage. The fear of vulnerability may be a way to protect ourselves emotionally from being hurt again.
We also live in a culture where it’s considered weak, needy and pathetic for men to show vulnerability. We also assume that men don’t feel hurt when they’re let down due to a relationship that didn’t work out or childhood trauma, they do have feelings and they do get hurt, but it’s a major turn off to express ourselves emotionally. We get labeled as “pussified”, “a nice guy”, “weak”.
Men also fear being vulnerable due to superficial issues such as the fear of not being wealthy enough, smart enough or good looking enough. The fear stems from the fear of being judged. This fear can cause us to pretend to be someone else and can cause stress and a disconnect between who we are in our hearts and who we pretend to be in our minds.
These emotions are expressed in a negative way. Some men start abusing drugs and alcohol, some become addicted to work, while others develop a need to constantly be validated by women to boost their shattered egos. Anything to not have to be vulnerable ever again.
These emotions should be expressed in a more positive way. Instead of feeling bitter about past hurt it’s important for men to put that negative energy to good use.
How can negative emotions be expressed positively?
When we ignore our emotions such as the fear of vulnerability it’s not the healthiest thing to do. The emotions we feel will eventually come out in different ways.
Instead of ignoring our emotions they can be expressed in positive ways including:
Exercise: Exercising is not only good for you it can boost your energy and add years to your life. Exercise improves not only your physical well being, but your mental well being as well by managing depression and anxiety that comes with negative emotions.
Practice self-compassion: Self-compassion can be practiced during periods of perceived inadequacy, failure or general suffering. It entails being warm toward yourself when encountering pain and personal shortcomings, gathering than ignoring them or harming yourself.
Ask yourself why you don’t want to open up?: Learn about yourself and why the fear of vulnerability affects your life. Parts of my past are difficult to talk about with other people. I once had to deal with serious mental health problems and only worked part time for two years and barely left home when I wasn’t working. I’ve gotten better since then and I have my bad days, however I feel like the baggage from that time in my life still affects my personal life now. Mental illness whether it was a past problem or a current problem is one of the top deal breakers in any would be relationship. Worse than unemployment and being an Ex con.
Meditation and Mindfulness: The practice of meditation and mindfulness can help you focus on living in the present moment without regrets about the past or fear of the future. It can also help us reconnect with who we actually are.
Know Thy Fear: It’s important to get in touch with yourself by knowing about what you fear. Instead of eliminating fear it’s important to expose it so it shrinks and makes you less fearful of what you’re afraid of. Gaining a deeper understanding of what you fear is achieved by facing it. If you really wanted to identify exactly what you’re dealing with what you fear can be dissected and analyzed.
Vulnerability is necessary for building intimacy in a relationship. It allows other people to get to know the real you and you get to know yourself.