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Fear the fear...

Or a few words about social fears...

My fear paralyzes me.

I'm afraid to say things even though I'm not stupid. I'm afraid to talk to people even though I'm relatively nice. I'm afraid to make connections because maybe I don't understand what is being said. I'm afraid to interpret things that were said to me, in a wrong way.

Do you relate to this?

Do you know that fear paralyses us socially? That we don't dare to do things because we actually think, and plan moves that haven't even happened. Our mind creates an entire scenario for itself. All the more so when we relocate. We are dealing with a new environment, a new place, a new language, new people, different social and cultural codes.

We are afraid to get closer. Sometimes the verbal and non-verbal language is not understood.

We shut up. We don’t dare…

Unfortunately, I hear many cases where strong feelings of loneliness arise in the new place.

Out of the fears I mentioned, my fear while speaking another language is a fear that people won't understand what I want to say. I would repeat things in different forms and if I thought someone was hurt by me, my head would make constant “movies” and potential moves to "fix" what was done.

So what to do?

There is no uniform answer to the problem. There is a process and work. But a little tip that I use with many of my trainees: change the soundtrack of the movie (taken from the CBT and self-compassion). Replace words of paralyzing fear with words of courage, words of compassion towards oneself and towards others. Instead of saying "she's ignoring my messages because she's mad at me" say "she's busy. She'll answer when she's free."

Remember that we are all social creatures and we all have the same need to be with others.

Would you like to share what your crippling social fear is? Did it strengthen or change during relocation?

In the picture: Gent, benches were designed with William as "someone to talk to".

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