I do a lot of work with clients who identify with difficulty with social skills. From extreme shyness to “social anxiety”, a few of my clients are on the spectrum and others are more introverted and/or are challenged with general anxiety. Within this same group, however, one shared set of experiences includes being hurt socially or in past relationships.
I have even had clients describe some awful social situations and bullying. So they have learned there is a risk to making themselves socially vulnerable.
This is where trust comes in. Trust is a major factor I hear clients focus on when relating to social anxiety.
If you have suffered in relationships, friendships or socially, it can become harder to read others or trust your instincts. We are also simply wired to avoid pain– rejection, being one of the more painful social injuries we can experience.
But, our ability to trust has less to do with if we can trust others, and more to do with how well we can trust ourselves. And even more specifically, how well we can trust ourselves to heal in the face of social disappointment of rejection.
How resilient are we?
I believe that trust is a mental resiliency that we can develop. And I believe that its opposite, the feeling of inadequacy, is a set of mental programs that we’ve developed as a result of surviving our past hurts. These automatic programs aren’t good or bad— they are what we developed to protect ourselves and overcome difficult situations.
Where run into problems is when we have outlived our need for these programs, and keep applying them to new social situations and new relationships— where they don’t work.
This is the learning edge you and I might work on in therapy.
So what would that look like?
Our work would focus one becoming aware of old mental patterns that sabotage your happiness, social life, relationships and more. Our work would including learning how to retrain our minds with new “programs” that will bring us more ease and help make us more confident in ourselves.
The hope for anyone suffering from social distress is that they reach out and find support so that they can stop being limited from the daily happiness that is possible.
If you need any help with this process, you can DM, call or email me directly.
Looking forward, Carmen Isais