In a previous article, I discussed how social anxiety can be alleviated simply by being yourself and talking about subjects that interest you. Today, I’ll explore this idea further, helping you to create a roadmap of self development and enabling you to truly be yourself in social situations.

If you continuously find yourself saying things you don’t really mean in social situations, if you feel that you’re ‘acting’ instead of ‘being’, you may well find that your social anxiety stems from a lack of self.

“There is no better investment than taking the time to get to know yourself.”

While for some, “being yourself” is a straightforward task, for many others it is a monumental undertaking. In my consultancy work I have found that the vast majority of clients who are struggling with social anxiety are also experiencing a lack of any concept of self. Your upbringing can have a major part to play in this. If parents fail to demonstrate a consistent level of love and trust, their children are left striving for their acceptance. These children learn quickly that being ‘good’ or ‘clever’ is more important than whatever innate qualities make them unique. Their sense of self is overshadowed by fitting into another’s version of what is desirable.

So how do you combat this as an adult? Follow these steps:

1. Learn who you are.
In order to be yourself, you must first understand who you are. This requires introspection, perhaps aided by mindfulness exercises and journal keeping. Jot down your likes and dislikes as they come up. Give yourself an opportunity to learn what makes you, you. There is no better investment than taking the time to get to know yourself. When you have a deeper understanding of yourself, you’ll no longer find yourself talking nonsense or agreeing with people purely for lack of something to say.

2. Keep the right company.
In order to be yourself and overcome your anxieties, it’s vital to be surrounded by accepting, encouraging people. This can be a self-fulfilling scenario, as the more you are your real self, the more that the right people are naturally attracted to your company.
Toxic people meanwhile; those who are critical of you and make you feel insecure about your worth, need to be avoided for your own wellbeing. Allow people a chance to get accustomed to the new, real you, but if they can’t get on board with you no longer being an ever- pleasing, malleable version of yourself, cut ties.

3. Value yourself.
Finally, value your worth as an individual. There is nothing more important for your soul than knowing who you are, unapologetically. The confidence you will feel will grow exponentially as you realise that you don’t have to be anything other than who you are. The right people will be drawn to you and you’ll no longer find yourself acting in order to keep the wrong people interested in your company. But ultimately, you’ll know that your worth isn’t measured by what others think of you.

If you want to speed up this process, or have the guided support of a professional consultant, why not call us at Nelumbo Consultancy to find out how we can help. Our counsellors can help you to underpin the reason that you struggle to be yourself around others, and guide you through the process of self-discovery.