Yes, there are similarities between social anxiety and narcissism. It’s interesting how these seemingly different traits are similar. Both social anxiety (an anxiety disorder) and narcissism (a personality trait) have intense self-focus as one of their core traits.
In social anxiety, you are self-conscious that you are going to embarrass yourself in front of other people, or that people will make fun of you or scrutinize you, or that you may appear stupid or out of place. It is this intense focus on yourself that maintains this negative vicious cycle of social anxiety. Your self-focus in social anxiety is due to this fear of social scrutiny.
With narcissism, you also have an intense focus on yourself. However, your self-focus in narcissism stems from the belief that you are better than others, and that you have special qualities or abilities that others do not have. Your self-focus in narcissism is due to your belief that you are better than others and that you are special.
So although social anxiety and narcissism are quite different, they both have the final common pathway of self-focus. It is this self-focus which leads to problems with both traits.
So if you have too much self-focus, what can you do to be less about yourself? If you are self-conscious about what others think about you, then you have to keep reminding yourself that people are most likely not even thinking about you, as people tend to be self-focused on themselves. In essence, we are all self-focused, albeit to different degrees. So the next time you are self-conscious when other people are present, you must remind yourself that they are probably doing the same thing. This can help you to be less focused on yourself, by just normalizing the experience that others do the same thing, although at varying degrees.
What if you are self-focused because you think you are better than others, and have special abilities? Well, this is, sadly, another common trait in the population. If you are self-focused because of grandiosity, then this will self-correct when karma comes into play, and you have a reversal of your good fortune and privilege.
For more information on anxiety and related topics, please visit the rest of AnxietyBoss.com.
photo credit: Johannes_wl Self-portrait via photopin (license)
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