Do you sometimes wonder if your social anxiety is being exacerbated by something permanently detrimental to your social life? Does your Asperger’s Syndrome or seemingly permanent inability to connect with others make you feel as though you’ll never be able to escape your social anxiety and create the social life that you want?
If you’ve ever felt like you were doomed to walk the Earth devoid of love and social connection, then stick around . . . because today we’re going to discuss how to work through that and go after what you want in life.
While this episode is geared primarily toward those of you who have Asperger’s or any other social disorder (if you are not familiar with that diagnosis, simply look it up on your own time), it will also be extremely beneficial to anyone who assumes that their social status is permanent because of some unchangeable aspect of their personality or appearance.
Our topic today is brought to us by a viewer who writes:
Hey Dr. Aziz. What about people with permanent socially detrimental mental issues. For example, Asperger’s. Is your advice for getting past social anxiety and stuff the same for people like us? I’m tired of being lonely and hating myself for not being able to make friends and keep romantic relations interested.
To begin with, let me say that I have worked with several patients of varying levels on the autism spectrum, including Asperger’s, so I get where you’re coming from, and I know that it’s a painful place to be.
But there’s good news:
You absolutely have the ability to change and grow.
Too often, when I’m working with clients who have been diagnosed with any social disorder, they talk about themselves as if they’re permanently broken . . . and that is simply not true!
There was a time when it was accepted that your genes were determined at conception and that there was nothing that could be done about it. The latest field of study concerning genes and how they’re expressed, however, is called Epigenetics, and it has pretty much turned that concept on its head.
As it turns out, nothing about our brains is fixed—genes respond not only to their environment, but also to several other inputs.
Over time, with training and conditioning, it is possible for you to rewire the way you interact with the world around you.
But it’s not going to happen at the drop of a hat.
You’re not going to be able to snap your fingers and suddenly understand subtle emotions, social nuances, facial gestures, and vocal undertones like never before. But you can certainly grow, learn, and evolve over time.
In fact, some of the most valuable content I’ve ever created for my Social Mastery modules was developed while working with a client on the autism spectrum.
For this particular client, it was very important to understand the various ins and outs of every step, so I literally had to break everything down to its most basic foundational level. He wanted to understand, for instance, why people end up feeling emotionally connected during a conversation—this led me to my model for the four levels of communication, which I teach in Confidence University.
Note – If you’re looking to jumpstart your journey, the Social Mastery Course within Confidence University is a great place to start.
After a while, his dedication to studying what emotions look like and learning how people express them led him to the ability to decode the social world around him. Sure, it was slow at first—but with work, he got so fluid with it that he could play right along and interact in a way that brought him much stronger connections.
You may need to do some studying—everyone’s challenges are different—but it is something you can absolutely learn.
Your biggest obstacle in this endeavor will not be your social challenges—it will be your attitude.
The only thing keeping most people with specific challenges from expanding their social skills is avoidance, pessimism, and hopelessness. Thankfully, these are conditions that can also be addressed through personal development work and confidence building.
This work that we do to develop our self-confidence is also the same work that will help us solve the problem of feeling lonely, missing out on romantic relationships, and allowing self-hatred to take control of your life.
Hating yourself will never lead to growth, change, or progress.
When you hate yourself, your energy contracts, and you cease to emit anything attractive to the people around you. When that happens, even the hard work you’re doing to improve your skills will be impossible to notice because your aura will be screaming, “I suck.”
In order for any of this to work, you will need to take at least a little time to practice self-acceptance and self-love. You can learn a ton about this by checking out my program, Confidence University, or by reading Tara Brach’s book, Radical Acceptance (which is a fantastic resource for those wishing to develop their personal development practice at any level).
There are countless resources available to anyone who is willing to do the work: get the coaching, commit to the training, study, practice, and dedicate yourself to growth.
An autism diagnosis is not an anti-society prison life sentence. Psychological diagnoses are based on a collection of experiences that form a list of symptoms from which your doctor gleans his or her opinion—it’s not like there’s a blood marker.
If you believe you are unstoppable, then no condition—no matter how stigmatized—can hold you back.
If you have been diagnosed with any form of social disorder—or diagnosed yourself with some version of incurable anti-social behavior—then it’s time for you to create a new story to define your life.
You can create the life that you want, just like several of the clients I’ve worked with personally who are now in relationships and thriving socially. This is what I want for you, and it’s what I know you have the potential to discover!
As always, I invite you to share your own experiences with this topic in the comments below. What personal challenges exacerbate your social anxiety? What keeps you from developing the confidence necessary to go out and get the life you want? What successful tips and tricks do you have for your fellow viewers who need to jumpstart their journey toward social awareness? Let’s all learn from each other and keep the support system flourishing.
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are, to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.