How much do I want to read more? 8/10

I wish I read this book long before.
The symptom list was hilarious to read. I'm checking all the points here. Particularly:


“So I showed up to the next meeting with some notes jotted in my phone. I thought it would be easier if I wrote out what I wanted to say. But I couldn’t do it. The worst part is that the guy next to me took my phone and read my notes to everyone. I think he thought he was doing me a favor, but I wanted to die."

Moe’s experience is so common it has a name: social anxiety.
We are convinced we are too much of something: too weird, too awkward, too annoying. Or that we are not enough of something else: not confident, not socially skilled, not competent. Finally, our bodies betray us; we are sure everyone notices our graceless blushing, sweaty palms, or trembling hands.

Your true self is the self that emerges when you are with close friends, trusted family, or in blissful solitude. Underneath all that anxiety, you’re equipped with everything you need. There’s nothing you need to fake, no image to manufacture. You are enough just as you are. Indeed, imagine if that self showed up at work, in relationships, and in the world. What would be possible? You could share your ideas and opinions. You could finally feel at ease. You’d have more bandwidth to deal with the world. You could feel comfortable in your own skin. You’d feel that home-sweet-home comfort, connection, and closeness wherever you went.

  1. I get nervous if I have to speak with someone in authority (teacher, boss, et al.).
  2. I have difficulty making eye contact with others.
  3. I become tense if I have to talk about myself or my feelings.
  4. I find it difficult to mix comfortably with the people I work with.
  5. I feel tense if I am alone with just one other person.
  6. I worry about expressing myself in case I appear awkward.
  7. I get anxious returning an item to a store.
  8. I find it difficult to disagree with someone else’s point of view.
  9. I find myself worrying that I won’t know what to say in social situations.
  10. I am nervous mixing with people I don’t know well.
  11. I feel I’ll say something embarrassing when talking.
  12. When in a group, I find myself worrying I will be ignored.
  13. I am unsure whether to greet someone I know only slightly.
  14. I feel uncomfortable making a phone call when others can hear me.
  15. I feel awkward or anxious eating or drinking in public places.
  16. I feel anxious acting, performing, or giving a talk in front of an audience.
  17. I feel uncomfortable working, writing, or calculating while others watch me.
  18. I get anxious calling, emailing, or texting someone I don’t know very well.
  19. I have difficulty speaking up in class or at a meeting.
  20. I feel anxious using a public bathroom (shy bladder).
  21. I have difficulty talking to people I find attractive.
  22. I feel anxious taking a test or exam.
  23. I get stressed and anxious when hosting a party or event.
  24. I find it difficult to resist a salesperson or solicitor.
  25. I dislike being the center of attention.

Avoidance can be a lot of work—faking an illness means remembering to have a lingering cough the next day, walking the long but less crowded way around wastes time, and showing up to a meeting at the moment it begins so you don’t have to make small talk takes exhausting precision. Avoidance can be overt: not showing up at the party, letting our calls go to voicemail. But avoidance can be covert, too—we may not even realize we’re doing it. Not making eye contact is the classic. Or we may go to the party but spend most of our time petting the host’s cat or checking text messages on the balcony before sneaking home to watch Netflix and eat a bowl of cereal. But while avoidance offers immediate relief, it’s almost always followed by a bitter aftertaste of guilt, shame, disappointment, or frustration.

Enduring, however, is white-knuckling it through an office team-building event, presentation, or wedding reception. God help the well-meaning bridesmaid who tries to pull us onto the dance floor—we would rather stab her with a dessert fork than have to YMCA. Those of us who endure usually get home with jangled nerves, a mysterious stomachache, and sore cheek muscles from continuous smiling.
Most of us have felt this way for a long time. For 75 percent of people who experience social anxiety, this long, awkward trip all started somewhere between the ages of eight and fifteen, allowing us many future decades to scroll through our phone rather than make conversation.

Today, I can say wholeheartedly I am comfortable in my own skin, even if it wasn’t always this way, and I know you can, too. How did I get there? And how can you get there? I’ll share all the answers with you in the pages ahead.

the third most common psychological disorder, after the big boys of depression and alcoholism. Social Anxiety crosses the line from an annoyance to a problem if it causes distress or impairment, which is the technical way of saying it freaks you out or stops you from living the life you want.

A good therapist is like a good bra: they’ll both push you and support you into the best shape possible.

What does this loneliness cost us? Way more, it turns out, than a few Saturday nights with the shades drawn. Loneliness turns out to be toxic. Loneliness is a perception: you can feel connected even when alone or desperately lonely even when surrounded by people. A lot of people, it turns out, perceive the latter: up to 15–30 percent of the population find themselves chronically isolated.

Loneliness is thought to be as fundamental a drive as hunger or thirst: the feeling tells us we are lacking something vital for survival and exhorts us to search out connection. Unchecked, loneliness makes us feel desperate and unsafe. It kills our sleep quality, our mood, our optimism, and our self-esteem. Chronic loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, even mortality. The take home: Social connection is vital. Our very lives, it turns out, depend on it. Anxiety can’t kill you. But loneliness can.

we are often:

Those of us who experience social anxiety often:

You’re in good company. Fully 40 percent of people consider themselves to be shy, which is a shorthand way of saying socially anxious. Expand the question and ask people if they’ve ever been dispositionally shy at some point in life and the percentage skyrockets to 82 percent.
Only 1 percent of people (I’m looking at you, psychopaths) have never experienced social anxiety.

That’s the real you. So when I say “be yourself,” I mean that true self. The self you are without fear.
social anxiety is seeing our true self in a distorted way and believing the distortion to be the truth. We magnify (or even flat-out imagine) our bad points. We worry about our perceived flaws, all while completely forgetting the myriad gifts we have to offer. You don’t need to co-opt someone else’s confidence when you can discover your own. All you need to grow is a willingness to try.

a man who inspired revolutionary change and spoke to huge crowds as no one other than himself. In his quiet way, Mahatma Gandhi shook the foundations of British imperialism, led India to independence, and inspired movements for civil rights across the globe. He has much to teach us.

Not that many years later, Martin Luther King Jr. would write that Gandhi’s quiet civil disobedience provided “the method for social reform that I had been seeking.”
Gandhi devotes an entire chapter to his social anxiety, my adaptation of which you read at the beginning of this book. He wrote that as a young man, “I hesitated whenever I had to face strange audiences and avoided making a speech whenever I could.” And his anxiety wasn’t limited to public speaking: “Even when I paid a social call, the presence of half a dozen or more people would strike me dumb.” Gandhi, who earlier in life couldn’t even give a toast, would, in 1947, give a speech to a live audience of more than twenty thousand people.

my constitutional shyness has been no disadvantage whatever. In fact I can see that, on the contrary, it has been all to my advantage. My hesitancy in speech, which was once an annoyance, is now a pleasure.”
Gandhi is right. There is true power in holding on to just enough social anxiety to give weight.
In his autobiography, Gandhi wrote of his social anxiety, “It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of the truth.”