Today, I’m writing about inhibition and the often debilitating effect it can have upon us.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West.

Overcoming inhibition could make a major impact in your life and help lead to a more successful experience of life. Overcoming inhibition? You may not have had the inclination or the time to think about it, but it lies in your ability to ignore other people’s opinions about how you should lead your life. Instead of nurturing our own lives, many of us spend much of our lives trying to live someone else’s dream and when we fail to live up to people’s expectations, we become frustrated, angry, and depressed.

Many of us are forced (often by our own selves) to believe that thinking outside the four walls of the box only results in creating errors or making mistakes, yet there are those people who are brave enough to go against the grain to live their lives their own way and that is one secret ingredient of leading a happy life that I am exploring today.

If you wish to lead a life you actually deserve – the life of your dreams, you may need to stop worrying about keeping everyone happy. Do not be afraid to face people. Do what you can without fear dictating. The primary reason why many of us are not willing to take on risks or stretch boundaries is the fear of what other people will think of us.

If you’d like to examine this further, here is a great article on that topic: Stop Worrying What Other People Think.

To lead your life the way you want to, you’ll come across a number of people who are just not going to like you. Do not permit their beliefs and opinions to direct your choices. Living the life you want sometimes means you are no longer trying to hide your head in the sand. It means no longer running away from yourself, your dreams, your hopes, your frustrations, and your fear of the unknown.

A 2011 study by Charity Walker showed how inhibitions, such as being shy or timid, can affect a person’s well-being and the quality of the romantic relationships they have. Some extremely shy people develop depression and other emotional and mental issues due to isolation that sometimes ensues. Because human interaction is such an important part of living a happy and fulfilled life, if this activity is neglected, people can sometimes have a lower quality of life.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that feeling anxious or shy is not necessarily the problem; avoiding social interactions is the problem. Avoidance rewards you initially as you feel better for avoiding, but it goes on to reinforce the problem in your mind and leads to you being inhibited more and more each time you avoid. The good news is there are some ways to overcome your inhibitions…

Understand what social inhibition really is:

According to Bill Knaus (2012), social inhibition is afeeling of self-consciousness, insecurity, anxiety, and shyness. You constantly worry about making social blunders and looking like a jerk. You recede into the background at social gatherings hoping no one will see or approach you.

Social anxieties and shyness often coexist. Most shy people don’t understand that there’s not necessarily anything modest or humble about being shy … in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Some authors claim that shyness is essentially a form of pride, just as being loud, obnoxious, and arrogant is. This is because they are focused more on oneself than on other people.

The difference is that shy pride is being excessively focused on your insecurities or anxieties, while loud and arrogant pride is being excessively focused on your strengths … or what you consider to be your strengths.

Much of the time, recognising this alone is sufficient to assist snapping you out of it.

Take baby steps:

Shyness and inhibition can be perceived as habits and they can be overcome just like any other kind of habit.

This means taking small, incremental steps that are intended to swap the habit of shyness with a new, empowering habit of being more healthily assertive, appropriately outgoing and confident.

You can start by simply getting eye contact with and even saying “Hello” to strangers. Do this for a good week, or until it becomes second nature. Do something to get you out of your comfort zone.

Identify the triggers:

“The ultimate is finding a place where you have no inhibitions, nothing to hide, where you can learn with one another.” – Jennifer Aniston.

Is it speaking in front of people that gets you running for cover? Is it asking someone out? Is it promoting your business or expressing yourself creatively? By identifying the triggers for your inhibition, you can plan ahead and create a course of action for when you’re placed in those situations. You can practice what you would do if faced with your triggers and work to overcome them.

Some triggers, like public speaking, are common. However, some triggers are very specific to the individual person. These triggers may be tough to identify, but you can get professional help to figure out what they are for you. Good therapists typically offer CBT’s evidence based assertiveness training for example (all my students are taught this). 

These triggers may be something as small as a smell, a specific location, or even a certain song. Personal triggers are those that either consciously or unconsciously remind you of a bad memory or some form of discomfort. People who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often experience triggers from their surrounding environments.

Chances are, you aren’t shy in every situation in your life. You’re probably okay when you are around your close friends or family, right? Being able to recognise that these people are not so much different than strangers is key. The only thing is you know these people better and feel more secure as a result.

This will help you realise that it is your situation that makes you shy, and your thoughts about the situation — it isn’t a problem with you; you were not born a problem. Identifying your personal triggers can take time, but it’s important to do so. Then you can take the necessary steps to overcome them.

Letting go of others approval:

“If I was on a march at the moment I would be saying to everyone: Be honest with each other. Admit there are limitless possibilities in relationships and love as many people as you can in whatever way you want, and get rid of your inhibitions, and we’ll all be happy.” – Ian Mckellen.

If you’re shy, for many, it’s often due to a need to be approved of by other people so you can feel good about yourself.

This approval addiction will always keep you from being your best self, by being scared of what someone is going to think of you in a negative way.

People are going to have opinions about you regardless of how great you are. The best thing that you can do is to stop letting them have so much effect on your life.

Value yourself:

“So many people seem to spend their lives trying to appear normal, predictable, and consistent to themselves and those that surround them. They just end up bored with themselves, bereft of any depth of inner resources, suffocated by the inhibitions that defend their own monolithic identities.” – Peter J. Carroll.

How you see yourself is how you will see the world around you! If you constantly degrade yourself, you are less likely to be able to understand the meaning of true joy. Always remember, the most valued opinion we have in our lives is the opinion we have of ourselves.

Loving yourself is the beginning of others loving you. No, it’s not self-centeredness! Self-love is at the very core of well-being and your ability to enjoy life as you want. Even if you had everything else in life you desired, you may not be able to enjoy it fully if you were not at peace with yourself.

Here are a couple of great articles to help you with this:
How to Love Yourself More.

How To Have A Better Relationship with Yourself.

Practice self-compassion!

“All that this world needs is a good cleansing of the heart of all the inhibitions of the past. And laughter and tears can do both. Tears will take out all the agony that is hidden inside you and laughter will take all that is preventing your ecstasy. Once you have learned the art you will be immensely surprised.” – Rajneesh.

We often create and maintain problems because they provide us with a sense of identity. We are in a habit of replaying the mistakes we made in the past over and over again in our heads, permitting feelings of regret to shape our actions in the present. We often fret about the future as if this act of fixation is going to improve things (go read about rumination here). Holding stress and fear in our minds, we expose ourselves to insecurities and anxieties.

Forgive yourself for the mistakes you made in the past. Self-forgiveness allows you to live in the present, and enjoy it to the max whilst enabling you to move into the future with a renewed sense of purpose. Forgiveness is not to condone what happened. It simply is, letting go of your control over the past, moving on from your past, and realising that there is little you can do about it now. Remain true to and be honest with yourself by turning down the naysayers and complainers. Take on board beneficial reflection and critique, then tune in to your own ideas and opinions or the opinions of those who believe in you and encourage you.

Have a read of this article for more on this subject: Why is self-compassion important? And how to advance it with self-hypnosis.

Be mindful:

“Sanity lies somewhere between the inhibitions of conventional morality and the looseness of extreme impulse, but the area in-between is very fuzzy.” – Chogyam Trungpa.

Mindfulness is nothing else but awareness. Wake up. Be present and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions at any particular moment. Learn to appreciate yourself and everything around you, as well as those “terrified” thoughts and feelings, and just notice them without judgment.

You will face setbacks, failures, and rejections, but eventually, those are all essential to build more confidence. But never forget to be proud of who you are. Being sincere and vulnerable is often the quality that others will appreciate and respect the most about you.

Embrace your originality!

Do not try to change your originality to fit in the boundaries set by others; do not change your real self to fit into a social circle or the people you live with, not unless it is for the better. Believe in yourself and do not let the opinion of other people discourage you. Embrace your originality. By being yourself, you will automatically attract the right people who will love you for who you are.

You must remember, everybody sees the world differently – based on their own approach and perceptions. However, this does not mean they are right, smarter, better, or more intelligent than you. They are only different from you. They have their own set of beliefs, values, and experiences.

It’s your call at the end of the day. It depends on how you let outside opinions shape your life. If you want to live an extraordinary life, you simply need to abandon your desire of being liked by everyone.

People who worry about what other people think about them are always limited to other people’s opinions. Always remember, in your pursuit of happiness and success, it’s immature and childish to expect that people will support you. Here is a great article to help you in this regard: Why and How To Express Your Individuality and Uniqueness.

Good friends are forever!

Good friends are the best support system in the world. These are people who know everything about you and admire you for who you are. Your inner social circle is more valuable and precious than anything else, and nothing can create more value than people caring for each other.

The point here is no one can lead you better than you. That is not to say that learning and listening to other people is always a waste of time. Getting advice from the right people has its own significance, but eventually, it’s you who is going to make final decisions – decisions that will shape your life.

Find group activities where you can be with people who share your interests. When you find like-minded people you can easily overcome shyness because you are passionate about similar things.  There is always something to talk about, which will cause you to simply forget your shyness, or help distract you from your inhibition. However, you should make it a habit of engaging more as suggested before.

Use positive affirmations:

The voice in your head that says, “You can’t do it”, is lying.

Your self-esteem is radically impacted by the way that you talk to yourself, and your opinion of yourself is what defines whether you are shy or confident.

Using positive affirmations such as: “I am interesting, outgoing, and enthusiastic” and other affirmations that sends a message of confidence and assertiveness can help you improve a positive thought process. Invest belief in these things.

It will help you build an empowering self-image and overcome shyness. A wonderful way to advance affirmations and take them to another level is to learn self-hypnosis: You might like some of these free resources with regards to self-hypnosis:

1. A free roadmap and guide.
2. A free 20 minute crash course.

Final Thoughts:

It may seem daunting and difficult at first; if you persist, it will eventually lead to a greater appreciation and understanding of things. Know that you will get through it. Chipping away, gradually, inching forward at a pace that’s fast enough for you, you’ll figure it all out.

This journey wouldn’t be easy, but it will be worthwhile. As Oprah Winfrey puts it,

“the biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”

Has this piqued your interest in this field? Then have a read of these pages:

Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studes? Explore the pages of this website.
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.

Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar. Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book.