Where should I start? In what order should I practice your tips?
by Richard Nassour
Hi Gary!, my name is Richard. I have low self-esteem and social anxiety. I also have OCD and I'm a perfectionist, that's why I'm probably asking this question. I always read your articles and I understand your points and ideas, but I can't practice your tips in real life because I don't know where to start and in what order. I'm stuck.Gary’s Answer:
Hey Richard, I’m glad you like my content, it’s always good to hear positive feedback from readers!OCD and Social Anxiety:
I remember back in my most socially awkward days I used to think I had OCD, have you been diagnosed with OCD?
In my case; I thought I had OCD but I was never
diagnosed with it since I never really went to a therapist or anything. Point being, we can lead ourselves to think things that we suffer from certain disorders that might be more of an idea that we got somewhere and then convinced ourselves of it. Seeing some studied cases of OCD
I definitely realized that I really didn’t have it, at some point in my life I just convinced myself that my own perfectionism and obsessive ideas were OCD when they actually weren’t.Being a Perfectionist:
Having talked to hundreds of guys who suffer from social anxiety, some in more extreme cases than others; I really got to realize that our ‘breed’ isn’t that rare.
I bet you; like most of all SA sufferers out there are a highly intelligent guy. Hey, I consider most of us really are. This intelligence has basically got us to be very good observers and critical.
But we’re also very socially aware, this social awareness is actually pretty awesome. You get to see in a very detailed manner what’s cool and what isn’t, who’s confident and who isn’t, etc.
The down side to this is when we analyze ourselves because we suddenly realize we aren’t far as cool as we’d want to be.
Such a bummer.
One thing we (SA Sufferers and ex-SA sufferers) must realize is that not everyone is as socially aware as we are, most people have no idea what’s going on around them. To some extent we can see the matrix and others can’t.
A very common mistake human kind makes is thinking that other people go through the same thought processes we go through. SA sufferers aren’t the exception to this rule, being highly critical of yourself leads you to think that other people are highly critical of YOU.
Basically the biggest lie in the world, truth is that everyone is highly critical of THEMSELVES and they’re too busy thinking about themselves that they really have no time to worry about you in a critical manner.
This calls for a change in the idea that
you must be perfect for X or you must be perfect for Y.
Confidence in huge part is about creating your own standards, so, ask yourself ‘why do I want to be perfect?’
Is it because you want others to like you?
The answer to this one is simple:
You don’t have to be perfect for others to like you. Other people are as imperfect as you and me.
Is it because you want to be perfect for yourself?
This is actually a pretty good reason to want to be perfect, but what standards are you using to measure your own so called ‘perfection’?
Society’s standards? Is it your own standards?
The answer for this one is actually pretty simple too:
Being good at something (‘perfection’) takes time, you won’t get results right away, that’s a hard reality to accept but it’s the way it works.
The only solution to this is to shift your standards. Say you want to get more fit, or get better social skills. ‘Perfection’ should now become ‘doing what has to be done’.
If you did what had to be done to work out today then that’s good enough, if you did what you had to do to practice your social skills today then that’s good enough. Creating new standards for success makes you happier, more confident and takes you further away from the idea of being perfectionist about yourself.Where to start:
It depends on what you want. Since you asked for an order of things I’ll help you out with that:
1) Decide what you want: Is it friends, reducing your anxiety, a girlfriend, a normal life, all of the previous, etc.
2) Make a Plan: Let’s go with ‘reduce my anxiety’. Well, this site puts all the main ideas out there on how to work around those issues.
Ideas like: Get a group of friends, put yourself in situations that make you socialize, etc.
Make a plan on how you will address those points. If you’re going to be exposing yourself to more social situations then plan on how you’re going to do that. Are you going to go out to nightclubs? Are you going to sign up for a dance class? Are you going to join a Spanish class or a charity organization?
Carefully plan how you’re going to address every point in your plan.
3) Be process oriented: Stop listening to your emotions and work through your plan slowly at first then just keep demanding more and more from yourself.
A social development plan is merely knowing what you want to improve, knowing how it works, developing a plan and sticking to and through it. Sticking to a logically planned plan is harder because emotions will always want to get in the way.
Hope that helps!