How to be Arnie-confident in social situations

How to be Arnie-confident in social situations

Yesterday the surfer dude who’s Airbnb house I’m living in for the next few weeks in Byron Bay invited me up to have dinner with him and the flatmates.

I immediately felt panic.

I made up some half assed excuse about being a coeliac and unable to eat many things. Of course one of the flatties was coeliac too, I should have expected that a Byron house share was all about gluten free organicness.

So I said I’d see how I go. I meant no.

It was only afterwards that I realised that his request had triggered something in me that said “RUN!”

The dude wasn’t hitting on me,

his girlfriend lives in the house too, and he was super friendly, so the trigger made very little sense. They rarely do.

Hindsight analysis told me it was my I-don’t-fit in trigger that makes me want to hide in cave plus my control freak trigger that panics at spontaneity unless I’m in charge of it.

This used to be a trigger that hounded me constantly before I learnt what I now teach in BGL 101.

Every time I met someone new I’d freak out, and even when I wasn’t meeting people I was freaking out about how I’d behaved when I’d met new people, wondering what they thought of me, all that shenanigans.

When I first learnt these life tools, I started observing my reactions in social situations, and instead of running away, I’d stay put, observing my desire to run, but realising I didn’t have to.

When I realised I could face anything with my newfound skills, I started throwing myself into social situations that I knew would trigger me.

To test it out.

I was new in Melbourne and wanted to meet more likeminded friends, and the only way to do it was to face my fears.

And it worked. I now don’t have a problem with most social situations, and rarely find myself hiding in toilets crying nor doing a pretend “I’m looking for my friend” loop through an event and leaving within 5 minutes of arriving.

Mindfulness doesn’t change the external circumstances of your life, but it does change how you handle them Click To Tweet

And that’s all there ever is in the way of our bloody good lives.

Triggers. Fears. Panic.

So we hide. Run. Stay with the familiar.

But what kind of life does that create? One where we play it small and never go after what we really want? I’m not having a bar of that anymore.

Mindfulness meditation has been scientifically proven to decrease avoidance behaviour (i.e. avoiding fears) and increase approach behaviour (i.e. going after what you want).

If you want to be confident, you don’t have to stop caring what others think.

You have to learn tools to feel uncomfortable and stand in the face of your discomfort anyway until it passes. Because it always passes, and when it does, you’re still there, not running away from your life.

Over time your brain relearns that this thing it has been so frightened of for so long is actually less dangerous than it thought,

because you keep surviving it without running away.

So with practice, it lessens the fight or flight response, til you realise you no longer get triggered at all.

Until you do again.

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Gidday, I'm Andrea

I'm a mindfulness advisor and former cynical pessimist.

I used to be an awkward, pessimistic, mediocrely happy overachiever.

Life looked good on the outside, but on the inside things were average.

I was indecisive, I didn't know what to do with my life, I self-sabotaged the hell out of my relationships.

I had a feeling I was going to keep f-ing things up for myself unless something radical changed.

The life handbrake-turn that followed over the next few years came as the result of learning what I now teach in Bloody Good Life 101. Just practical, relatable techniques without any rainbow and butterfly jibber jabber.