I’ve never considered myself to have social anxiety, but there are definitely times when I feel more outgoing than others. I’m naturally on the quiet side.

I took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (a personality indicator) years ago when I was in college.  I scored a strong “E” for extroverted.  I “recharged my battery” by interacting with other people and being social.

After embarking on an inward journey, developing a meditation routine, and developing a relationship with my Inner Guide, things started to shift.  When I took the Myers Briggs many years later, my “E” score switched to an “I” for Introverted.  I now get my energy from going within, being reflective, keeping myself company, and enjoying silence.

I was at a social gathering recently with a group of beautiful people, but I found that as friends, we really do not have much in common. No one digs the spiritual work I’m into, and there are very few commonalities that we share. While getting ready for the gathering, I noticed feeling pressure to look a certain way (i.e. I feared my unpainted toenails might be judged as “gross”). Fears of being judged for bare toenails took over, so I painted on some funky royal blue nail polish! (How insane is fear!)

Who is doing the judging though? Is it them? Or is it me? I’m willing to look…

I’d like to think that it is “them.” “They” are the ones judging “me” and causing me to feel self-conscious. This keeps ME separate from THEM and UNABLE to do anything about it except judge back or avoid the situation. In this way, our egos all stay alive and well. I am holding them to their ego identities, and I’m holding myself to my ego identity. I’m externalizing cause (something outside of me is causing me to feel the way I feel).

The Course, however, much to my ego’s dismay, is teaching me that I am the one doing the judging FIRST. I’m judging in many ways… that “they” should be different than they are, that “they” are something separate from me, and on a deep level, I am judging that I WANT them to be separate from me because I WANT to stay in this dream of separation. I “hired” them to help me keep the separation going.

It is so funny that the entire time I was at this party, I didn’t think of the Holy Spirit once! I completely forgot about Him/Her. I thought about the Holy Spirit before and after the party, but not while I was sucked into self-conscious mode.

Self-conscious mode = ego alert!

Self-consciousness means you’re conscious of yourself. Which self? The small ego self.

Self-consciousness is the PERFECT ego ploy to keep you believing that you’re limited to a personality with a body. It is also a perfect barometer for indicating who you are siding with.  If you’re siding with the ego, self-consciousness will feel strong.  If you’re siding with the Holy Spirit and therefore conscious of your Self (Higher Self), the peace will flow.

Everything that I’m experiencing is coming from my mind, which is divided between Truth and a dream. It is the split part of my mind (which WANTS the dream) that calls forth witnesses to keep me believing that I am a body.

I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked. – A Course in Miracles (T-21. II.2)

If I am choosing for the separation and following the ego as my guide, I WILL call forth witnesses that “prove” that the separation is real. I will receive as I have asked. If I am choosing to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I will call forth witnesses that show me that only Love is real. Again, I will receive as I have asked.

Does this mean that we need to master this and stay in situations where we are uncomfortable? Certainly not. But “discomfort is aroused only to bring the need for correction into awareness” (T-2.V.7). So if we’re experiencing discomfort, it becomes an opportunity to look at what is coming up WITH the Holy Spirit. That is ALL we have to do – we give our willingness to the Holy Spirit in exchange for the miracle instead.