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5 Unhealthy Feelings That Arise From Social Anxiety

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In general, mental health conditions distort your perception of yourself and the world in one or another way. But social anxiety is one of the conditions to tell you the most lies about how you are viewed and treated by other people.

There are a few unhealthy feelings that can arise from this mental disorder, making your world seem worse than it is.

1. Feeling not good enough.

Socially anxious people often have an inferiority complex and severely damaged self-esteem. This mental disorder can fuel your inner critic and trick you into believing you are worthless and not good enough.

You focus too much on your flaws and too little on your good qualities. Once you make a mistake, your inner critic gets harsh. As someone with social anxiety, you can beat yourself up for the most trivial failures for days. This unhealthy self-criticism leaves you dwelling on your worthlessness and feeling inadequate. It can also make you neglect your talents and positive qualities.

2. Feeling rejected.

Typically, socially anxious people struggle with the pathological fear of being rejected, criticized and ridiculed. They might feel wherever they go, they are bound to be judged and unaccepted in a social group.

This fear is what makes social interaction an incredibly difficult task for an anxious person. They are afraid to say or do something wrong and end up rejected and laughed at. Someone with social anxiety can feel like no matter how hard they try to win people’s respect and acceptance, they will fail every single time.

3. Feeling left out.

Feeling left out is another consequence of the unhealthy fear of rejection associated with social anxiety. If you have a firsthand experience with social anxiety, you probably know this feeling when people around you are discussing a topic you are clueless about, and you are excluded from the conversation. Or, everyone is having fun and interacting with each other… but not you.

This makes you feel alone in the midst of a discussion or social gathering, alienated from those around you. Usually, situations like this don’t happen on purpose and people just find it easier to talk to their more sociable friends. But someone with social anxiety might take it personally and believe others deliberately leave them out.

4. Feeling watched.

Social phobia goes hand-in-hand with the so-called spotlight effect. It is a cognitive bias that makes you think people notice every nuance of your behavior and physical appearance.

Someone with social anxiety might constantly feel like they are being watched under a microscope. This mental disorder tricks you into believing that everyone around you is busy spotting your flaws and mistakes. But this is far from reality. Most of the time, people are too focused on themselves to notice someone else’s minor faults.

5. Feeling threatened.

Finally, in severe cases, social anxiety can bring you to the verge of paranoia, making you feel threatened by the people around you.

This is when the most ordinary, everyday activities such as a walk in the park become a challenge, and you constantly catch yourself thinking thoughts such as, “Why did that guy look at me like this? Is he up to something?”

You can’t get past the idea the world is a dangerous place and everyone around you is conspiring to hurt you. Even if your social anxiety is not as severe, you might still believe you have nothing good to expect from other people.

Just like other mental disorders, social anxiety is a big liar. It plants irrational thinking patterns in your mind and cultivates unhealthy feelings in your heart. It is trying to convince you that you are worse than you are, people are too evil to be trusted and life is too awful to be enjoyed.

But in the end, it’s your choice to believe these lies or not. It’s never too late to start your journey to overcoming social anxiety.

Getty image by tadamichi

Originally published: August 21, 2021
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