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Very tense and socially anxious around certain people


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I have some friends who I feel quite relaxed around, I can be about 80-90% "myself" which is great and fulfilling. 

 

However, for some reason I find that with certain people, who I would even consider friends, I just can't relax and be myself, I get very tense and start evaluating strongly what I say and do. I shut down in a sense and it's like I get taken over by a  program that just does the bare minimum to get by in the situation, but leaves me feeling drained, like I have to pretend and be a certain way. Sometimes this "program" just shuts me down completely and I go super quiet, monotone and unexpressive.

 

Thanks to spiritual understanding, I know I don't need to be anything else than what I am in those situations, I can feel good enough even if I am an anxious mess around them. But still, there is a part of me that would just like to be open and free, and I don't understand why I start feeling like this tight ball around certain people, barely letting anything be seen of myself. I just crave to be totally free and authentic, grounded in myself in those situations, not second guessing myself before every action or thing I say.

 

Any advice or perpective would be highly appreciated.

How can I free myself in those social situations?

What do you think could be driving such a repression of myself around certain people?

 

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@DreaMT Welcome to the forum! 

 

My best guess is that its some old conditioned pattern playing itself out, fear of judgement I suspect. 

 

To get over it you would need to break the conditioned pattern. Do the opposite of what you'd normally do around these ppl, regardless if you're judged or not. That's my best off the cuff advice.😊

 

💙

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13 hours ago, Mandy said:

Have you in the past, replayed things you said in your head that you wished you wouldn't have said, and spent a good deal of time feeling horrible about them? 

Yes, definitely. What do you suggest?

 

Maybe my system is responding to that pain of replaying situations by trying to avoid those situations in the firsts place by closing myself off.  So the "awkward" situations or situations where I think I was seen as dumb, in themselves as they happen are not painful, I just create the pain and suffering by ruminating on them, maybe they get stuck in my system in some sense. 

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13 hours ago, Faith said:

@DreaMT Welcome to the forum! 

 

My best guess is that its some old conditioned pattern playing itself out, fear of judgement I suspect. 

 

To get over it you would need to break the conditioned pattern. Do the opposite of what you'd normally do around these ppl, regardless if you're judged or not. That's my best off the cuff advice.😊

 

💙

That's excellent advice, definitely some kind of pattern going on that I seem to be stuck in. I will consider ways of trying to break the pattern.

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Hi & welcome!

22 hours ago, DreaMT said:

I have some friends who I feel quite relaxed around, I can be about 80-90% "myself" which is great and fulfilling. 

I understand the ‘short hand’ implication of the phrase… but have you scrutinized that a bit more? Like, if 10 - 20 % you can not be yourself… who or what are you being? If anxiety is held to not be yourself… what then does the sensation tell you is yourself? 

22 hours ago, DreaMT said:

 

However, for some reason I find that with certain people, who I would even consider friends, I just can't relax and be myself, I get very tense and start evaluating strongly what I say and do. I shut down in a sense and it's like I get taken over by a  program that just does the bare minimum to get by in the situation, but leaves me feeling drained, like I have to pretend and be a certain way. Sometimes this "program" just shuts me down completely and I go super quiet, monotone and unexpressive.

What is the difference between people you’re comfortable with (A) and people who you are not (B)? 

What is it you see or observe with respect to people B, which you want? 

Sometimes we believe ‘they have it and I don’t’… and anxiety is actually emotional guidance letting you know ‘you can have it too’. In this case anxiety would actually be jealousy, which for a creator is most insightful. 

22 hours ago, DreaMT said:

 

Thanks to spiritual understanding, I know I don't need to be anything else than what I am in those situations, I can feel good enough even if I am an anxious mess around them. But still, there is a part of me that would just like to be open and free, and I don't understand why I start feeling like this tight ball around certain people, barely letting anything be seen of myself. I just crave to be totally free and authentic, grounded in myself in those situations, not second guessing myself before every action or thing I say.

Spiritual understanding might be ‘held’ to be something gained, whereas letting a belief go might be the effortless resonating way. 

22 hours ago, DreaMT said:

Any advice or perpective would be highly appreciated.

How can I free myself in those social situations?

What do you think could be driving such a repression of myself around certain people?

Could also inspect how precisely you are not already free, and look to free yourself of that view and underlying belief. 

 

The emotional scale can be very useful in bringing an end to ‘thought loops’ (thoughts about them, thoughts about me, repeating loop). Sometimes it’s missed that all that’s desired is feeling great or better… and it can seem like feeling will be found in thoughts, the right thoughts, solving or figuring out in thoughts. In shifting attention to feeling directly, putting feeling first, and recognizing you’re feeling ‘your’ thoughts… and not ‘their’ thoughts… what thoughts about them, and you, feel good, to you? 

 

Also, if fear of judgment feels ‘off’, consider it’s because the thought implies you’re not in control of how you feel. Whereas if judgment is recognized to only be felt, when one is the one judging… one recognizes one is in control of how one feels. 

 

You could also try a little ‘exposure therapy’ by having a close friend you are comfortable with, verbally judge you. If discord is felt, relax and breathe from the stomach, and witness that it’s fleeting, that it arises and does pass. That just might go from experiencing ‘triggering’ and tension, to bringing thoughts more in the neighborhood of lovingkindness to mind. With respect to judgement, there’s significant liberation in recognizing the compassion and truth in the words, ‘forgive them, they know not what they do’. 

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1 hour ago, DreaMT said:

Yes, definitely. What do you suggest?

 

Maybe my system is responding to that pain of replaying situations by trying to avoid those situations in the firsts place by closing myself off.  So the "awkward" situations or situations where I think I was seen as dumb, in themselves as they happen are not painful, I just create the pain and suffering by ruminating on them, maybe they get stuck in my system in some sense. 

Yes, the fear of social interactions is not fear of social interactions, it is the fear of our own thoughts and judgement after the fact. Feeling responds to our thoughts, so if we think against ourselves it hurts. It works much in the same way that if I stick a knife in my hand, it hurts to let me know that I'm inflicting damage upon myself. However because many of us believe thoughts, we believe the content of them ie, believe we are actually stupid, believe that people's opinions matter and believe that we KNOW what those opinions are, and believe that they have the power to hurts us, we continue thinking damaging thoughts. In reality those damaging thoughts are directly the ONLY hurt and that hurt is more directly only guidance that what we are doing/thinking is not serving us. So your fear is actually your own unconditional love, your own guidance. 

 

The second thing I'd say is that being authentic and open as it is reflected in the opinions of others is BOTH incredibly valued and admired and extremely criticized. Any truly groundbreaking musician or artist has had a spectrum of opinions about them as vast as could be. Why are artists criticized? Because, people are afraid of their own authenticity and openness and misunderstand the discomfort that comes up when they see something expressed or communicated in a new way. Why? Because they don't understand value, or listen to their own guidance.

 

Watch a music video and notice that you can both being horribly critical and also totally wowed and enamored and flip those perspectives as you choose. Notice that it has nothing to do with "how" the video actually is, but is all your thoughts about it.

 

I'd suggest being good to yourself, watching the thoughts and judgements and using meditation or time in nature, etc to help with this and making space for your own creativity. 

 

 

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@DreaMT can relate 200% here! 

 

Dealt with that most of my life, still bouncing back, I'd inspect communication and what communication actually is. 

 

When you speak, are you aware of your diaphragm and the resonance in your voice? I find mindfulness of communication as it happens is very helpful for being yourself in conversations with people. 

 

The truth is no matter how much someone may not like you, I think everyone will at least respect you if you have strong communication. 

🌞🌚

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On 4/21/2022 at 4:05 PM, Phil said:

who or what are you being?

I guess in those moments I am in a sense, acting, hiding away parts of me that authentically want to be expressed because of fear of rejection or judgement from people I for some reason give that authority to judge.

On 4/21/2022 at 4:05 PM, Phil said:

 

If anxiety is held to not be yourself… what then does the sensation tell you is yourself? 

It seems I am telling myself that the anxiety is not a valid part of me, and that I should not cover up myself or hide myself around certain people. 

On 4/21/2022 at 4:05 PM, Phil said:

What is the difference between people you’re comfortable with (A) and people who you are not (B)? 

What is it you see or observe with respect to people B, which you want? 

Honestly, I feel kind of guilty saying it, but for sake of solving this problem I will say it. It seems I am more comfortable around those I see somehow as "less intelligent" than me or in some other way I place myself somehow above them. (A) 

I am not comfortable around people who I see as somehow "above" me, as in they are authority figures or if I think they are evaluating me in some way. (B)

 

People B have qualities of high confidence, eloquence in their speech, they are maybe charismatic and can grasp complex ideas quickly. I kind of wish I had more of those qualities.

On 4/21/2022 at 4:05 PM, Phil said:

Sometimes we believe ‘they have it and I don’t’… and anxiety is actually emotional guidance letting you know ‘you can have it too’. In this case anxiety would actually be jealousy, which for a creator is most insightful. 

Spiritual understanding might be ‘held’ to be something gained, whereas letting a belief go might be the effortless resonating way. 

Could also inspect how precisely you are not already free, and look to free yourself of that view and underlying belief. 

This makes a ton of sense, can relate.

On 4/21/2022 at 4:05 PM, Phil said:

The emotional scale can be very useful in bringing an end to ‘thought loops’ (thoughts about them, thoughts about me, repeating loop). Sometimes it’s missed that all that’s desired is feeling great or better… and it can seem like feeling will be found in thoughts, the right thoughts, solving or figuring out in thoughts. In shifting attention to feeling directly, putting feeling first, and recognizing you’re feeling ‘your’ thoughts… and not ‘their’ thoughts… what thoughts about them, and you, feel good, to you? 

 

Also, if fear of judgment feels ‘off’, consider it’s because the thought implies you’re not in control of how you feel. Whereas if judgment is recognized to only be felt, when one is the one judging… one recognizes one is in control of how one feels. 

 

On 4/21/2022 at 4:05 PM, Phil said:

 

You could also try a little ‘exposure therapy’ by having a close friend you are comfortable with, verbally judge you. If discord is felt, relax and breathe from the stomach, and witness that it’s fleeting, that it arises and does pass. That just might go from experiencing ‘triggering’ and tension, to bringing thoughts more in the neighborhood of lovingkindness to mind.

I did this with some friends. I held a speech about my day and their task was to be very negative and try to break me down and insult me as I was speaking. I found at first the insults were impacting me and I was closing down, but then there was a breaking point where I just accepted it, and was able to speak totally expressively and freely for the rest of the speech, even while they were insulting me. 

On 4/21/2022 at 4:05 PM, Phil said:

 

With respect to judgement, there’s significant liberation in recognizing the compassion and truth in the words, ‘forgive them, they know not what they do’. 

🙏

 

Maybe I feel judged because I judge others. So maybe I should forgive myself as well for judging them, would you agree?

 

 

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On 4/21/2022 at 4:28 PM, Mandy said:

 Why are artists criticized? Because, people are afraid of their own authenticity and openness and misunderstand the discomfort that comes up when they see something expressed or communicated in a new way. Why? Because they don't understand value, or listen to their own guidance.

 

 

I'd suggest being good to yourself, watching the thoughts and judgements and using meditation or time in nature, etc to help with this and making space for your own creativity. 

 

 

This profound, thank you. I have noticed myself implementing some of your advice in the past months, even though I consciously forgot about it. It has been eye opening 🙏

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On 5/2/2022 at 3:45 AM, Phil said:

Is it about what you’re thinkin, or what someone else is thinkin?

Which is experienced? 

It's about what I'm thinking. About what I'm thinking they're thinking, stemming from me thinking that they think of me in the same way I think of them. Something like that

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@DreaMT

When I’m saying conditioning, I’m talking about thoughts that arise in the present which are basically conditions. Thoughts which in one way or another seem to obscure or veil our unconditional true nature. Thoughts which are interpretational, learned perspectives of interpreting.

 

Sounds like there is conditioning from someone and or an environment in which intelligence was highly praised and or valued. Maybe this interpretation of intelligence leaves you conflicted, and experiencing a cycle of outward projection / judgment, and inward internalizing / judgment. Without seeing why the interpretation is discordant feeling, the feeling of discord get’s labelled anxiety. As it seems to relate to people… social anxiety. 

 

So why would some thoughts, about people’s intelligence and about your intelligence, and the comparisons therein…  feel discordant? 

Because intelligence is what everything is made of, including us. 

But one thought arises at a time, and often that one thought is ‘my intelligence’, or ‘his or her intelligence’. 

Intelligence is unconditional, and is what is feeling, those thoughts. 

 

It would be like thoughts arising in this experience like…  ‘my Phil’, ‘his or her Phil’, ‘he has more Phil than me’, etc. 

It would be easy to miss why the thoughts feel off, if I was assuming I wasn’t the Phil. 

 

Idk if these dots connect readily or not… but grounding in the body / in feeling, would be very resolving of this and clarifying. Not thinking about it, but grounding techniques & meditations. It might be easier to realize the body is infinite intelligence, than to realize you are infinite intelligence. Really witness the body. It’s not evolution, or genetics, or mechanics. It’s pure raw intelligence. Notice how the body does everything in the spontaneous happening sense, and that the ‘one thought at a time’ arises, and is often a claiming of the doing. Notice that thought arises, of the body. Notice focusing on the thought ‘body’ does not result in the arising of or creating of or instant manifesting of, a body. But the body can manifest thoughts all day long like it’s nothin. No doing, no effort involved at all. It is that unconditional infinite intelligence can not be thunk, that thoughts which are the claiming of doing are so easily believed. Try to really, really see and feel the innocence of this. If you just say a word to a new body, and call it that over and over, the body, in not knowing a single thing about itself due to the truth of it’s infinitude, will just totally go along with it. Like, fuck it, I’m Phil. Try to cut through any possibility of potential future anxiety by seeing the humor in this. What a completely absurd hilarious situation “we” are in here. 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Phil said:

@DreaMT

When I’m saying conditioning, I’m talking about thoughts that arise in the present which are basically conditions. Thoughts which in one way or another seem to obscure or veil our unconditional true nature. Thoughts which are interpretational, learned perspectives of interpreting.

 

Sounds like there is conditioning from someone and or an environment in which intelligence was highly praised and or valued. Maybe this interpretation of intelligence leaves you conflicted, and experiencing a cycle of outward projection / judgment, and inward internalizing / judgment. Without seeing why the interpretation is discordant feeling, the feeling of discord get’s labelled anxiety. As it seems to relate to people… social anxiety. 

 

So why would some thoughts, about people’s intelligence and about your intelligence, and the comparisons therein…  feel discordant? 

Because intelligence is what everything is made of, including us. 

But one thought arises at a time, and often that one thought is ‘my intelligence’, or ‘his or her intelligence’. 

Intelligence is unconditional, and is what is feeling, those thoughts. 

 

It would be like thoughts arising in this experience like…  ‘my Phil’, ‘his or her Phil’, ‘he has more Phil than me’, etc. 

It would be easy to miss why the thoughts feel off, if I was assuming I wasn’t the Phil. 

 

Idk if these dots connect readily or not…

I notice myself feeling connected to nature, and I have recently started to connect with the profound intelligence of nature. It seems to me like it is an absolute super intelligence that forms a tree, a rock or a river, and it often leaves me with awe.

I got the idea that I can extend this new connection to nature to humans and see that all humans are also expressions of nature, expressions of this super intelligence. So in this way I can see, that even the least intelligent person on earth, or Albert Einstein, are both made of nature and are awe inspiring expressions of the deep intelligence of nature. Looking at it this way, I can already feel the thoughts and anxiety calming down. I will try to implement this in daily experience with people and see how it feels. 

8 hours ago, Phil said:

but grounding in the body / in feeling, would be very resolving of this and clarifying. Not thinking about it, but grounding techniques & meditations. It might be easier to realize the body is infinite intelligence, than to realize you are infinite intelligence. Really witness the body. It’s not evolution, or genetics, or mechanics. It’s pure raw intelligence. Notice how the body does everything in the spontaneous happening sense, and that the ‘one thought at a time’ arises, and is often a claiming of the doing. Notice that thought arises, of the body. Notice focusing on the thought ‘body’ does not result in the arising of or creating of or instant manifesting of, a body. But the body can manifest thoughts all day long like it’s nothin. No doing, no effort involved at all. It is that unconditional infinite intelligence can not be thunk, that thoughts which are the claiming of doing are so easily believed. Try to really, really see and feel the innocence of this. If you just say a word to a new body, and call it that over and over, the body, in not knowing a single thing abut itself due to the truth of it’s infinitude, will just totally go along with it. Like, fuck it, I’m Phil. Try to cut through any possibility of potential future anxiety by seeing the humor in this. What a completely absurd hilarious situation “we” are in here. 

I see, this is helpful. I can connect with feeling that the body comes first, thoughts second. The body is nature, the thoughts are commentary on nature. I got this image of a tree swaying in the wind, and someone narrating it. The narrator would have no effect, but he could believe his narration is having an effect on the tree, and this could even make the narrator anxious about what happens to the tree if he starts identifying with the tree. Meanwhile, the tree goes on swaying as it does, just like the body goes on being as it does. I dont know if this makes sense, but yeah I can hear your point and I feel it being recognized in some deeper level inside.

 

I believe connecting with this infinite, spontaneous, expressive, expanding intelligence is a good direction, now that I have started to see it in nature, maybe I should just try to expand that sense to include those aspects of reality that I still see as somehow having agency and being able to manipulate nature.

Edited by DreaMT
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Honestly, I’m not loving the turn that took there with free will & manipulation. Not buyin it. 

 

On 4/20/2022 at 11:05 AM, DreaMT said:

I have some friends who I feel quite relaxed around, I can be about 80-90% "myself" which is great and fulfilling. 

It’s that feeling which is what’s great & fulfilling. See that?

It’s not - when I can be myself - there is great & fulfilling feeling. 

It’s - you are great & fulfilling feeling.

‘That’s - you.’ You’re what’s so great and so fulfilling. 

The great feeling isn’t contingent on being around anyone, and isn’t contingent on who you’re around and not around. 

 

But it’s believed to be, a little, to some extent, just a pinch. Just a cloud or two in the sky. There’s a thought or two that the awesomeness which you actually are… comes and goes. But thoughts, the clouds, come and go. 

On 4/20/2022 at 11:05 AM, DreaMT said:

However, for some reason I find that with certain people, who I would even consider friends, I just can't relax and be myself, I get very tense and start evaluating strongly what I say and do.

Really noteworthy point / word there - “who I would even consider friends”. Put another way - people who / which I actually even likeand feel great about / towards - … so what gives?! Why is something still feeling ‘off’? What the hell is it even which feels off?!!

On 4/20/2022 at 11:05 AM, DreaMT said:

I shut down in a sense and it's like I get taken over by a  program that just does the bare minimum to get by in the situation, but leaves me feeling drained, like I have to pretend and be a certain way. Sometimes this "program" just shuts me down completely and I go super quiet, monotone and unexpressive.

Not thoughts - Feeling. 

Programs are 1’s & 0’s. Black & white. 

Thoughts are 1’s & 0’s. Black & white. 

You are not 1’s & 0’s, black & white. 

You are what is, and what’s so unfathomably awesome, 🤍, which is being… appearing as… 1’s & 0’s, thoughts, “black” & “white”. 

There is no program. There’s the thought that there is, like a cloud in the sky - but “it’s” an appearance. 

 

This is not extreme at all - - -  “I fucking LOVE those people! I actually LOVE ALL PEOPLE!”. 

That just the truth. That’s just ‘who’ you actually are. That’s the Truth.

 

“But it seems like some people have this intelligence, this ability to create, to make things happen, this ease or flow about it too. Doesn’t seem like I’m one of those people, what gives?!’. 

☁️ ☁️ ☁️ ☁️ ☁️ 

Those are some thoughts, some 1’s and 0’s. They’re in the shadow. You are “the flow”. You are “the ease”. You’re the M’F’ING LIGHT SON! 🙂 

Allow them… those thoughts - into the light. That is their proper place. That is where they are. You are already prior to those thoughts. You are already that which illuminates those very thoughts. See that these thoughts are not true (about you), but are thoughts. 

On 4/20/2022 at 11:05 AM, DreaMT said:

 

Thanks to spiritual understanding,

We both know some horseshit’s about to follow a statement like that. 😂 

On 4/20/2022 at 11:05 AM, DreaMT said:

I know I don't need to be anything else than what I am in those situations,

You’re undefinable in all situations. Situations is a thought you’re aware of. It (thought) doesn’t “point back” at you. ☁️… … ️ 🌤 ☀️ 

Allow the thoughts to come and go, no resistance, no aversion… pure allowing. 

On 4/20/2022 at 11:05 AM, DreaMT said:

I can feel good enough even if I am an anxious mess around them.

Horeshitery shenanigan's. 🙏  Anxiety sucks.  Fuck anxiety. It doesn’t resonate cause you’re infinitely bigger. Calling feeling anxiety doesn’t illuminate the clouds. 

On 4/20/2022 at 11:05 AM, DreaMT said:

But still, there is a part of me that would just like to be open and free, and I don't understand why I start feeling like this tight ball around certain people, barely letting anything be seen of myself. I just crave to be totally free and authentic, grounded in myself in those situations, not second guessing myself before every action or thing I say.

You’ve been favoring thoughts. 

Start favoring feeling. Actually take care of yourself. That is what you want. 

YOU m’f’ing LOVE ‘you’, and nothing less will do. 

Allow the Truth. 

On 4/20/2022 at 11:05 AM, DreaMT said:

Any advice or perpective would be highly appreciated.

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On 4/20/2022 at 11:05 AM, DreaMT said:

How can I free myself in those social situations?

That’s thoughts. There’s no self to free. Allow - just allow those thoughts into the light of The Truth. 

On 4/20/2022 at 11:05 AM, DreaMT said:

What do you think could be driving such a repression of myself around certain people?

That’s thoughts too. Nobody cares what I think, and rightfully so. Cause it’s just thoughts. 

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@Phil I really appreciate your reply and willingness to help. It didn't really land a month ago, but now re-reading it I feel what you said is really sinking in. Without realizing I have been reflecting on those words and themes for the past months and now I see it in a different light than the first time I read it.

On 6/9/2022 at 5:10 PM, Phil said:

This is not extreme at all - - -  “I fucking LOVE those people! I actually LOVE ALL PEOPLE!”. 

That just the truth. That’s just ‘who’ you actually are. That’s the Truth.

I can totally resonate with this statement. I feel the joy, and laughter comes out when I speak these words. Feels totally right, this is the way. 

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