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do you think when someone has anxiety it just means that they're thinking too much about themself? or that they are just too self critical for whatever reason... If in the past they may not have had good social skills, causing bad experiences that made them hesitant in social situations thereafter? This is me speaking hypothetically about my own situation but I think it is pretty typical social anxiety.

alot of times i get nervous when i think about things in the future or present. but then, i know there is a whole different level to my anxiousness that is not situational. it's being self critical at all times, and not in a way that will make me become a better person, a deep-rooted belief that I am inherently flawed and beating myself up about it. sometimes even when I am alone I can feel someone's thoughts, and they effect me, and thinking about what someone else would think about what I am doing, even if I am alone, can make me feel like a fool. is that strange?

I'm not sure how to get rid of it. I hardly even think these thoughts when I am with these people who i am judged by in my mind. it does make me misinterpret things that they say. focus on them too much, or what they will think of me. It may be along the lines of having bad past experiences with these people.... but when no one else is around and I am keeping all thoughts inside my head, I should be able to relax, right?
:confused::confused::confused:
 

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I wouldn't call it selfishness, too many people already accuse us of that don't they? No wait it's snobbishness, that's right. As an extravert nothing seems harder than to have social anxiety where you desperately want more contact but you can't because there's an invisible wall blocking you. The way I've been told to get rid of it is to have more exposure, which I don't think is a problem. Strangers I have no problem with, for some reason it's people who's opinions I care about such as family or friends. I used to know that people though I was being snobby but there was no such diagnosis of social anxiety then. Even now people doubt there is such a thing. We probably do enough judging in our minds that we don't need outsiders adding to it. It doesn't happen often but when it does it can be crippling.
 

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I think "selfishness" is the wrong word. I think a higher sense of "self-awareness" would be more accurate.


I think a big difference is that selfishness (or at least the negative kind) I tend to view as a set of actions, or conscious decisions that impact other people. When you're talking about being shy, that's a natural feeling, and when you're talking about introversion, that's a state of being.


I do think you're right in saying that people that are shy are probably thinking more about themselves and how they come across than a more outgoing and talkative person would. But I wouldn't say that's any more selfish than the talkative person...hell, we all know someone who talks too much, gets on other people's nerves, can't shut up, etc. These people are being just as "selfish", if not moreso, by being themselves, because other people have to deal with what they say.


So you're on to something, but I don't see it as true selfishness.
 

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shyness is a characteristic, not a choice.....


I think what you are trying to say is that those who are shy AND DO NOTHING ABOUT IT are behaving selfishly.
Yeah if most of us could chose I think we'd chose not to be. I'm not sure what we can do about it though. I think those who judge us for being snotty without asking what's wrong are the ones being selfish in just assuming like that don't you?
 

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Totally! I usually feel better when I make the extra effort when I'm having one of those days and I'm glad I did usually because it was totally worth it.

I'm also guilty of trying to bring people out of their shells, but I only do it in a friendly and fun way, I don't criticize people. Probably because I know how it feels.
 

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That would be just plain selfishness, I don't see how that relates to being shy, unless you can tell me specifically how.
 

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I think shy people are more selfless than selfish. That's the case for me anyway. The reason I'm shy is mostly because I over-think any given social situation I'm in, in terms of what might offend, upset or even hurt the people I'm with. Of course, when it comes down to it, that is a selfish reason. But that's the case with everything that's selfless.
 

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I was really shy as a child and the last word people used to describe me was selfish. I'm not really shy anymore, I'm actually reserved this days. I have no problem talking to people, I just usually don't have much to say. And no it's not cuz I'm scared of being judge, I've just never have nor will ever be a big talker. Still I get "why are you so quiet?" like I'm hiding something.
 

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As someone has already stated, it's not so much of an "selfish" act, but I would prefer to call it self-centered versus "self-awareness". In the context of psychology, egocentric is probably the best word, which basically means self-centered. (Ego roughly means self and centric roughly means center.)

But while social anxiety is bred from egocentric thoughts, I would not claim every shy person's biggest issue is being egocentric at the core.
For starters, a lot thoughts that rise up from social anxiety are rather externally-focused as in social anxiety. While social anxiety might mean a person is worried about how others perceive them, social anxiety can also form out of a worry for others such as worrying about if everyone feels good at this moment. In other words, does anyone feel offended? A person with social anxiety might be shy because they want to do everything right. They might just want everyone to see them as a cool, perfect person, but they might also just want to make sure everything goes smoothly. They don't want to miss a social cue because that might mean making others feel awkward. The latter places less concern on the individual person and more concern on a group of people.
But more importantly, I believe a true egocentric person is only concerned for themselves. If your thoughts are only concerned with yourself, you might not worry about the lives or thoughts of others. Social anxiety worries about the thoughts of others on any level, so it is not absolutely egocentric in and of itself.

But, don't get me wrong. Social anxiety and shyness can still be very self-centered. Those kind of people are usually thinking about themselves and who they are in the context of given situation. It's a very self-consuming affliction.

All this is coming from a person who does suffer from social anxiety, just so you know. My opinions are formulated from my own experience, which makes me one to make one more distinction.
I don't believe shyness and social anxiety is the exactly same thing. When I was kid, I was shy. I simply lacked the courage to interact with people, to move out of my comfort zone and attempt a conversation. Due to my shyness, I slowly became more awkward around people and for the most part socially inept. As I got older, I became more introspective and contemplative in general. I started to put reason and rhyme to my actions and I quickly became consumed with social anxiety. I am became paranoid and over-analytical. On some days, I trouble have walking into class or to work because I am so worked up over something (whether consciously or not) that my mental affliction quickly becomes a physical affliction and I feel like there is a hundred pound weight on my chest. My thoughts become foggy and I begin to loose even further sight of social cues.
And you see, that right there is social anxiety. For the most part, I am not all of a shy person (anymore). I will readily engage in a conversation with anyone, no matter what. But when plagued by social anxiety, I am paranoid over something. Sometimes this prevents me from talking to people, and so it looks like I am shy. But still, I am not shy. I am just fretting over something that is in all reality ineffectual (most of the time).

Now sadly, I am still working through my own social anxiety. Trust me, I had a very bad case of it just last night. I can only tell you that sometimes focusing on positive thoughts help me, but I always find talking out my worries with another person to be the best solution. I know all of this is a pretty typical response for social anxiety/shyness, but it's all I have right now. I can tell you, however, that if you act confident (even if you have no confidence) then it easier to deal with social engagements and your anxiety. Because if you think things will come with ease, they will generally come with more ease. People also like others who are confident, and I always like it when people start to believe in me because I start to believe in myself which helps a lot with my anxiety.
Of course, now of this is absolute, but it might just help you.
 

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shyness is a characteristic, not a choice.....


I think what you are trying to say is that those who are shy AND DO NOTHING ABOUT IT are behaving selfishly.

Just because shyness is a characteristic doesn't mean it's not a choice. I used to be extremely shy and had no social skills, but made the conscious choice to go to group therapy, learn how to talk to people, and put myself in uncomfortable situations just to learn how to act appropriately and not be intimidated. It was by no means easy, but I overcame my shyness. Now, if I tell people that I used to be shy, they look at me like I'm crazy and don't even believe me. If I hadn't been able to do that, I don't even know how I would function on a daily basis- so much of my life requires interacting with people. Being able to do simple things like ask someone directions on the street or asking someone to borrow a pencil in class makes a HUGE difference. I'm lucky that I had the tools and support to be able to make that kind of progress, because I know not everyone does. For example, a friend of mine is too shy to participate in class discussions, so the TA agreed to let her email extra assignments to him instead. Personally I think this is just reinforcing negative thoughts and behavior. That class could have been used as a chance to grow and become more comfortable.
 
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I think shyness is a mild form of social anxiety, and I think it's more complex than how it appears on the outside. I've always been shy, and am less painfully so as an adult due to conscious effort to overcome it, but it's not an overnight change, and I don't know if I'll ever not be somewhat shy. We're talking about unrooting deep fears & habits & changing your mindset entirely in some situations. That takes time, and to be dismissed as selfish or to be told to just "stop being shy & talk to people" as if it's that simple is not helpful. I think those responses just reinforce the roots of the problem, a fear which often may stem from low self-esteem, hyper-sensitivity and a sense of defectiveness. Yes, it's a problem that needs to be worked on, but since it's mostly an internal struggle, it's unfair for others to judge a shy person as simply being too selfish to get over it.

I agree there is an aspect to it that is self-absorbed & hyper self-aware, but I don't think that's all it is. Generally, selfishness is accompanied by a sense of entitlement, which shy people often do not have. Often shy people are excessively humble & may question their "right" to interact with others, considering themselves too inept.

I think shy people are more selfless than selfish. That's the case for me anyway. The reason I'm shy is mostly because I over-think any given social situation I'm in, in terms of what might offend, upset or even hurt the people I'm with. Of course, when it comes down to it, that is a selfish reason. But that's the case with everything that's selfless.
Agreed. There is an aspect to it which involves worrying about burdening/annoying others and/or making them uncomfortable with your awkward communication.
 

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do you think when someone has anxiety it just means that they're thinking too much about themself? or that they are just too self critical for whatever reason... If in the past they may not have had good social skills, causing bad experiences that made them hesitant in social situations thereafter? This is me speaking hypothetically about my own situation but I think it is pretty typical social anxiety.

alot of times i get nervous when i think about things in the future or present. but then, i know there is a whole different level to my anxiousness that is not situational. it's being self critical at all times, and not in a way that will make me become a better person, a deep-rooted belief that I am inherently flawed and beating myself up about it. sometimes even when I am alone I can feel someone's thoughts, and they effect me, and thinking about what someone else would think about what I am doing, even if I am alone, can make me feel like a fool. is that strange?

I'm not sure how to get rid of it. I hardly even think these thoughts when I am with these people who i am judged by in my mind. it does make me misinterpret things that they say. focus on them too much, or what they will think of me. It may be along the lines of having bad past experiences with these people.... but when no one else is around and I am keeping all thoughts inside my head, I should be able to relax, right?
:confused::confused::confused:
you need to keep a solid sense of self, try not to think so much and just act in the moment. And this doesnt mean an illusion of self either. Act the way you want to not the way you think you should or the way you think the other person wants you to act.
 

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Rather be save than sorry, a policy to never let you down.
That won't get you anything bad, but it won't get you anything good either.

I don't think shyness is only thinking about yourself. You could be thinking about other people but not knowing what they want so you don't know what to give them. Well I've never been shy, although maybe socially anxious or at the least socially awkward.
 

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I would say don't worry about what other people think, but I would be a hypocrite for saying that on occassion. Here's several questions:

Do they know you?
Do they really want to know you well?
How often do they see you?
You pull away when they get too close?

I gave up caring what other people think of me a while back because it's tiring to please other people. Just ground it into your head this:

People are people and they are just as flawed as you and me. Sometimes they don't like themselves and they have to put others down to make themselves feel better because they can't deal with their pain any other way.

I'm just as strong in my opinions and some others are, too.

People really misunderstand people ALL the time. [I have a dry sarcastic humor and a childish sense of humor, which is usually misunderstood by people sometimes.]

People don't want to understand because they want to see the face value, and we are cognitively lazy folk. Just because you mess up on something doesn't mean you're a failure. [Just because, let's just say, you're fat doesn't mean you don't diet, exercise, or that you like to pig out a lot. But that is how people perceive others.]

What I would suggest is when you start thinking and even feeling from others those negative, condemning thoughts, feelings and opinions is that you mentally tell yourself the good qualities about yourself. Hair, eyes, smile, charm, bubbly personality, sweet...whatever comes to your mind. I'm a volunteer worker dealing with 10 & 11 year-old girls. I do activities with them for several minutes and one activity was a big hit with these kids, and I believe this will help you. Right down at least 5 to 10 things you like about yourself while I played an uplifting, positive song (I used "Set Apart This Dream" by Flyleaf for the activity, but you can use whatever music you like.) After you are finished, speak out loud and even in front of a mirror the things you like about yourself EVERYDAY before you leave your home. The power of words and the power of your eyes are the key things that can either kill a person or create a person. It softens the blow from what people say or think about you.
 

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Shyness is usually a tendency, sometime more pronounced in certain situations like when meeting new people or giving a presentation in front of class. So yes, we do have some choice and freedom in trying to manage and make changes but we can't change the core.

Sometimes it's to a point where some call it "social phobia" and that usually stops us in significant ways, from living our lives.

And as others have noted, it is more "self awareness" or I would say "self consciousness" than "selfishness." But it certainly can be perceived as selfishness.

If a girl gets ready in five minutes and her friend spends an hour making herself up because she is afraid of being judged or maybe she stays away from others at a party, which can be interpreted as her being snobbish, then yes, she can be seen as selfish. Or if she tries to stop her friends from going to a certain party where she doesn't know anybody, again, that could be seen, and perhaps is to some extent, selfish.
 
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