This is the third of our guest posts on Approach Anxiety. Be sure to let us know which one you like best!
Is it Possible to Overcome Approach Anxiety?
Let’s face it, feeling uncomfortable around people is one of the most common fears people have to deal with. In fact, according to The National Institute of Mental Health, it is estimated that approximately 15 million American adults age 18 and over, or about 6.8 percent of people in this age group in a given year, deal with some form of social anxiety.
Within the above mentioned who suffer with social anxiety, there is a subcategory of social anxiety sufferers who have great anxiety and find it hard to communicate with members of the opposite sex.
The greatest fear for such people is approaching members of the opposite sex, which is why this problem is often referred to as approach anxiety. And even though, women suffer from approach anxiety, it is much more commonly found in men.
Where does Approach Anxiety Come From & Can It Be Overcome?
From the studies and articles I’ve read “approach anxiety” mainly stems from a fear of rejection or a fear of not being enough in the eyes of the opposite sex. One particular study sited “Self Limiting Beliefs” as one of the main causes that creates this anxiety. For example a man may say to himself:
- I am not successful enough
- I am not good looking
- I am not important
- What I have to say is not interesting
and so on and so forth ….. this type of negative self talk and negative beliefs will then cause the person to act in such a way as if those thoughts and beliefs are true … and this only furthers the anxiety.
A Solution to Approach Anxiety
Just like any phobia or fear, it is possible to overcome it and it all starts with seeking out the truth and re-affirming the truth rather than the lie. And like all fears it takes a bit of time and practice to get over it. For example one may have a fear of water … you may start off simply touching the end of a swimming pool, then eventually sinking your feet in the water … to eventually immersing yourself in the water. It will take time and practice. Beginning to say out loud truths such as:
- I am confident
- I am witty
- I am worthy
- I am good looking etc…
As silly as these things may sound … re-affirming truths will change the way you see and feel about yourself, thus limiting Approach Anxiety.
There is a quote that says “Thoughts lead to feelings …. feelings lead to actions …. actions lead to results”
So it’s really important to guard your thoughts and start to fill your mind up with every great thought you have of yourself and remember there is no such thing as a perfect person …. and that even the most handsome or most wealthy of men and even women get rejected … rejection is simply a part of life…. and has zero to do with your self-worth.
Besides making these sorts of affirmations to yourself, it’s a good idea to find a local Chicago wingman you can go out with, and who can give you valuable feedback. I recall going out with a guy once and getting dinner before we went out to hit the clubs. He had no idea how attractive he was. The waitress (who was HOT) was so intimidated by him, she kept spilling drinks and stuttering whenever she was around him. When we pointed it out to him, he said, “Do you think that’s an IOI?” Um… YES! After he got her phone number, we had a talk. He said girls were always like that around him, and he “always thought girls were just nervous people.” All it took was that one night out and one positive experience with another wingman from the Project Chicago lair and he soon had more women than he could handle. That’s the value of good feedback from an experienced wingman.
Another great way to eliminate limiting beliefs is through The Lefkoe Method. You can eliminate three beliefs for free at www.recreateyourlife.com. (Project Chicago has no affiliation with the Lefkoe Method. Just love the results!)
Of course, even the most experienced wingman in the Project Chicago lair can’t be a substitute for a professional psychologist or psychiatrist. For serious cases of Approach Anxiety make sure to consult with a licensed doctor or counselor. (I’m particularly a fan of therapists that employ Transactional Analysis.)