If you look at any forums for people with social anxiety, they are usually full of depressed people who…
- Stay inside their home for days at a time unless they absolutely need to go out.
- Have stopped taking showers for the past few weeks and say they’re starting to look like a hermit.
- Haven’t gone out to socialize for months … or years.
- Spend hours a day watching TV or browsing the internet.
And if these problems weren’t enough, they also feel depressed and insecure, and have low self-esteem.
Maybe you aren’t as bad as this, or maybe this describes you perfectly.
In either case, this article will reveal how you can overcome the depression and low self esteem caused by staying inside a lot.
The Cause of Depression and Low Self Esteem
The first thing to know is that beliefs cause feelings. Feelings like depression, insecurity and inferiority are caused by your thoughts and beliefs.
So let’s look at some of the beliefs people with social anxiety may have:
- I am not valuable. I am not good enough to be accepted as I am.
- I have no life. Other people always have more friends and exciting activities going on than me.
- I am ugly or have some physical flaw that makes me unattractive.
It’s important for you to understand that you didn’t just wake up one day with these beliefs. They formed over time through real evidence you picked up through your daily experience.
You don’t believe anything unless you have reasonable evidence or experiences to back it up.
Your Beliefs Are Like A Table
Your mind is constantly looking for evidence around you in order to determine your beliefs.
Here’s a useful analogy: Think of a belief as a tabletop. The legs are the supporting evidence.
So lets look at how someone with social anxiety could form the belief “I’m not valuable.” This is what their table might look like.
Do you see how, with the evidence provided, the belief “I’m not valuable” is actually a reasonable one to have?
If you continually treat yourself in a way that shows you don’t value yourself, then you will eventually believe: “I must not be valuable.” This belief in particular is a major cause of depression and low self-esteem. (Self esteem, in fact, is defined as “an individual’s estimate of his or her own worth.”)
So one of the first steps in curing social anxiety is changing the evidence you feed to your mind about yourself. You have to start behaving in a way that builds up beliefs like “I am valuable … I am worthy … I like myself.”
Treating Yourself Like You Value Yourself
What does it mean to behave in a way that indicates you like yourself… that you value yourself?
Suppose you value your dog … You would probably feed it nutritious food, play with it in the park, and take it regularly to the park, etc…
Well, you’re no different. When you value yourself, you will take actions to take care of yourself. This means being decently healthy, watching what you eat at least a little, eating more fruits and vegetables, cutting down on the junk food, exercising occasionally, going outside to enjoy nature, maintaining your personal hygiene, taking showers often, shaving, cutting your hair, brushing your teeth, taking care of your skin, etc.
On the other hand, if you spend all week in your basement playing video games and eating junk food, then it’s going to be hard to suddenly feel great about yourself and have high self-esteem when you are around people.
What you do for yourself is determined by how much you value yourself. This means taking steps to actively improve yourself. Getting out of your comfort zone regularly, being productive, learning new things, taking classes, travelling, and enriching your life.
I honestly don’t know anyone who has high self-esteem who does not do most of these things.
Whenever you do something that shows your mind you value yourself, you are giving it new evidence. This new evidence becomes a leg that reinforce the belief “I am valuable” in your mind.
If you spend your day productively – you eat a healthy breakfast, hit the gym, learn something, accomplish something, and all the sudden you’re brain is bombarded with evidence that you’re WORTH something. Then you go out around people, and you feel less insecure.
You feel a new level of confidence you didn’t have before, a calm, steady feeling of self esteem. You feel more entitled to express yourself and you stop holding other people in such high regard compared to you. And people will be able to tell that you feel good about yourself as a person. It’ll come across in your voice, eye contact and body language.
When you’re living in alignment – with the way you treat yourself feeding into beliefs that make you feel good about yourself, the world can tell and responds accordingly.
Ultimately, the way you feel about yourself is determined by the beliefs you hold about yourself and your value/worth. These beliefs are formed through the evidence you spend all day acquiring by observing your actions.
Are you worth it? Are you behaving like it?
If you think you can change your beliefs and deepest insecurities without changing your actions first, then you’re in for a life of sadness and depression.
You have to first act in a way that builds up the beliefs you want to have about yourself. When you act as though you value yourself, you can’t help but to start feeling good about yourself.