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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Social Anxiety is Not Present Reality

Dear A.B.

As I think about what you have written on this subject, I am realizing that I'm mostly not present in the moment, in some of the social situations. Thus the anxiety. It's kind of like being in the midst of a crowd but sticking my head in the sand so I won't be hurt, but still be there.

I have a fair bit of experience with public speaking, though not recent. I'm able to handle myself in those situations because I'm able to plan part of what I speak on. Sometimes conflict arises, and I'm able to think on my feet. The experiences have been good. There's more at stake when I'm standing in front of a crowd, so my concentration is clearer.

As I look at this now, it is more a fear of living in the moment. For me, that is always the hard part coming out of depression. To concentrate in the now. Once I realize, that, that what I am doing is not being present in the moment, I quickly make progress out of depression. A_________

Dear A_______

You are absolutely right. You have command over your depression when you fully understand that depression is not present reality. You can move from depression to present reality by choosing some on-purpose objective thought or productive action which you pursue on purpose, rather than drifting along and getting stuck in the old neural pattern of depression and self-produced despair.

The trick is to remember that depression is not reality when you are suddenly plunged into depression. As you practice the simple mind tricks of brainswitching, you actually build a new neural pattern in your brain that reminds you that depression is not reality and that you need to move away from the depression.

This new neural pattern will soon start popping up (via the process of learned association)whenever the depression neural pattern triggers. Then you simply move your brain train off the depression track, and get it going on some other track by thinking some new thought, such as a mind exercise, and making that new thought dominant over the depressive thought. (The brain always follows the direction of its most current dominant thought.)

Social anxiety is the same as depression in one very important aspect. Social anxiety, like depression, is not present reality. Social anxiety is an old neural pattern of self-focus on your self-perceived unworthiness when you are in the presence of other people, and you, rightly or wrongly, exaggerate their superiority over you in some aspect or another, thus shaming your self. Social anxiety is a very painful unreality that can only be cured by your taking your real space in present reality, unashamed, honestly accepting and sharing your good qualities with others with whatever social skills you have learned, and humbly acknowledging your flaws, and the lack of skills which you have yet to acquire.

In a way a good antidote to the stubborn unreality of self-focus is to surrender to the reality of what is, and yourself, as is. A. B. Curtiss

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