A fear of judgement is probably at the heart of the problem

Below you’ll see an email I received and my response, which I feel should be posted as it could help some people understand their fears.
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Hi there,
I found the link to your blog in some random forum and it seems that you take this issue seriously, and you’ve spent much time and effort researching and practicing to get rid of this annoying habit.
I just would like to have your take on this; I used to look people in the eye to the point that it was not comfortable to whomever I was speaking with! literally I had a “natural” piercing look that will lock into other people’s eyes while I’m speaking with them, and I didn’t have to make any conscious effort to maintain that! and If I didn’t happen to be smiling while I’m talking, my look will be almost intimidating!
But in the last five years or so, I found my eyes wandering all over the place when I’m talking with people! I don’t know why, or when did this exactly happened.
I didn’t pay attention to it because I had the conviction that what I was saying or hearing is more important than how or where to look, but recently I felt from people’s subtle reactions that they notice that I don’t maintain “enough” eye contact which will affect their attitude towards me (and believe me, I’m super receptive to these subtle singes)
Now, it’s getting to creep in and bother me when I talk to people to the point that I want to end the conversation asap!
What’s your take on that? and do you have any suggestions?

Thanks.
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Hi There

Good to hear from you!

Apologies for the delay in answering your email.

It appears to me that you have an acute sense of what people are thinking and feeling, which I believe, I and most of the the other people who have this condition also have. Ironically, this is actually a gift that can be used to your advantage and over time I’m pretty sure that you will learn to use it as a benefit instead of a hindrance.

I think that what is stopping you from using your gift positively, is a fear of judgement, or in other words, a fear of what people are thinking about you.

Lately, I have found that this fear of judgement is still affecting me, although in a small way. I have conquered the fear of looking into people’s eyes, with the steps I have described, but the actual root of the problem is the fear of what people are thinking about me when I speak to them. So although I can look into peoples eyes without a problem, there could sometimes still be an uncomfortable feeling when doing it.

The good news is, I am using my steps (which is known as Auto Suggestion) again and it is working like a dream. Instead of repeating to myself “I will not be scared of anyone or anything” I have rephrased the instruction to “I will not have any fear of judgement”. I do it more when I am about to enter into a social situation and the fear is lifting and I tell you what, it is extremely liberating when it happens.

I believe that in time your fear will fade naturally, as your subconscious learns to deal and cope with these problems, but Auto Suggestion can and will speed things up dramatically.

If you think about it you are using Auto Suggestion all the time, when you are thinking about things, you are feeding your subconscious and at the moment you are feeding it damaging information.

If you have any more questions feel free to ask.

Cheers
Ben

Important reply to a recent comment

This is a comment I have received. I have posted it and my reply as I think it is important for people who may be in the same situation.

Stephen
Interesting, I suffer from this as well and I too feel it is from smoking cannabis. Curious, was quitting the stuff part of your recovery?

Hi Stephen
Yes I believew it was. I used to love smoking cannabis! But then one night, I suddenly couldn’t look people in the eye anymore. I was in a situation where all of my friends smoked cannabis and therefore it was very hard to get away from. When I smoked it, the fear got ten times worse and it also gave me massive paranoia. Eventually I just told my mates that smoking it made me feel crap, so there was no point in me doing it anymore. To my surprise, they didn’t care whether or not I was smoking it, it just meant more for them! The funny thing is, many of my friends ended up getting paranoia themselves and packed it up too. Some who are still smoking it, after 20 years or so, do act very strange at times.
Stephen, there are a few people trying this now and I really want to know how you get on. But remember, you need to say to yourself, in your mind, loud and clear…I WILL NOT BE SCARED OF ANYONE OR ANYTHING! As I have mentioned, I have since found out this is a proven technique called Auto Suggestion. In a nut shell, you are feeding your subconscious mind an instruction. Your forefront mind thinks and subconscious mind acts, this is a fact! I will do a section on Auto Suggestion myself soon!
You can do it mate!
Ben

The fear crept back a little today

My fear came back a little bit the other day and I am trying to figure out what set it off! I think I may have been drinking too much. But, I put plan “Nofear” back into action and after a couple of days I felt better. I began to be able to look at people again without fear.

I’ll keep you posted!!!