Social anxiety is a common struggle. For some, it is a feeling of discomfort around social situations. For others, it is essentially a phobia, causing an intense dread that impacts their ability to form meaningful relationships.
Yet no matter how it is experienced, one of the driving factors that underlies this issue is a fear of judgment – a fear of what it would mean if others disapproved of them as a person.
What Happens if Someone Judges You?
It is not uncommon for someone with social anxiety to have this negative fantasy that, if they don’t conform to what others want or are unable to maintain what they perceive as traditional social norms, they’ll be:
- Left to Fend For Themselves
Essentially, they feel that they’ll face some type of catastrophic consequence if they act in a way that is judged in a social setting. Although that is not the only factor that can contribute to the development of social anxiety, it is often an issue that those with social anxiety struggle with.
How We Treat This Social Anxiety Worry
When challenged with this type of social anxiety issue, what we work on is a combination of perspective and refocusing. We focus on helping the person see and understand the irrational nature of these beliefs, and how they can move forward without letting the beliefs hold them back from fearing that disapproval.
If there was a specific instance that caused this fear, we will discuss it. Yet often it is an emotion that is molded over time. Within therapy, we will seek to better understand how the issue affects you, why those that are in your life will not abandon you simply because of a mistake or a different social behavior, and what you can do socially to understand yourself more in order to become more confident with those around you.