Lately I've been wondering about what the primary reason is for why I behave the way I do. I'm currently shy, lack social skills, and can be socially awkward at times. For this reason, I come off to people I meet as uptight and probably depressed as well because I seem to never have fun. I mean, I try to fake it and smile a lot or fake laugh because I don't want to appear that way but, on the inside, I'm not really enjoying myself and having fun. Truthfully, I don't have fun anymore as strange as that may sound. I can't even remember the last time I shared a genuine laugh with someone. Also, I don't seem to know how to be myself, loosen up around people, and express myself. As you can imagine, this causes a lot of problems and heartache. Thinking about this too much probably doesn't help, but I'm trying to figure this out. I'm wondering if the main cause of this is either a lack of social practice or a consistently bad Mindset. See, I have people I can talk to in my life such as my family and I go to college and work where I can talk to people. So, I do get some practice, though not much, but I notice I don't have a very good mindset. I think negative thoughts consistently and I'm generally just too inside my head when I'm around others. I've written down and identified many of these thoughts and attitudes in hopes that going over the list at the end of each day and reviewing how I did will help me since I'm trying to eliminate them. Here they are:
1. Hesitating to say or do what comes to mind out of fear of what others will think or thinking myself that what I have in mind to do or say is weird or boring.
2. Thinking I have to impress people by being interesting and funny.
3. Taking the disapproval of others personally and thinking it's evidence that something is wrong with me.
4. Thinking of myself as shy, lonely, and not confident.
5. Getting down on myself, and beating myself up, when I fail to be the person I want to be.
6. Look for faults in others and viewing them negatively such as by how they look.
7. Thinking or worrying about how I look such as by thinking I'm ugly when I see myself in the mirror.
8. Thinking or worrying about the past or future. For example, not being able to let go of the mistakes I made in the past and worrying that I won't get to where I want to in the future.
9. Assuming other people think negatively of me.
10. Trying too hard to think of things to say to people. Things don't seem to come to me naturally so I start to think hard about it.
11. Comparing myself to others. For example, seeing a person who is more social and confident, or a couple holding hands, and getting depressed that I don't have what they have.
12. Trying to impress people and get them to like me.
13. Being glad to see others fail. For example, being glad to see another man fail with a women or
be shy and awkward as it makes me feel better about myself.
14. Getting depressed about what's wrong in my life, and what I don't have, rather than being happy and grateful for what I do have.
15. Hiding emotions that I feel like expressing because of caring too much what others think. For example, if I wanted to jump for joy, I would be too afraid of what others might think.
16. Getting caught up in thoughts of hopelessness and despair because of my present situation, past mistakes, or feeling I can't achieve my future goals or it might take a long ass time.
17. Thinking about future outcomes when I interacting with people. For example, I might be thinking about how I want to become friends with this person or have a girl be my girlfriend. It tends to take me out of enjoying the present moment and causes me to act more needy.
18. Generally just being too focused on myself and what others think of me. For example, I'm too focused on how I come across to others.
A lot of these thoughts and attitudes I go through on a daily basis. I know they're mostly, if not all bad, and many self-centered, so I'm wondering if my mindset is what's blocking me from being outgoing and social or if it's a lack of practice mostly, or maybe both. I'm trying to eliminate all of these bad thoughts in hopes that I will be completely a different person when I do. However, I'm trying to attack this problem at two angles - by changing my thoughts and by practicing socializing more, so maybe it doesn't really matter which is the main cause. I'm working on them both. What do you think of this strategy and what do you think is the main cause of this problem I'm having: lack of practice or bad mindset?