This is some amazing stuff you're doing. As for me, I really enjoy hearing about it, gives me hope. I always start out pretty well at stuff like this but something happens that is really embarrassing to me and I lose steam after awhile.
For example, a few years back I was trying to get myself to go to parties more. If you ever heard of couchsurfing.org, the people associated with it often have parties at public venues. It was a little less scary than trying to meet strangers, because it's socially acceptable to talk to others at a party, but since I didn't know anybody, it was still awkward.
One time, I invited some people I met at my hostel (I was visiting Hong Kong at the time), and the people I invited ended up making complete asses of themselves. Getting ****faced, annoying everybody, pissing in the street, etc. I felt really embarrassed about it all since they were with me, and I couldn't force myself to go back the next time the party was held no matter how hard I tried.
Looking back, it probably wasn't a big of a issue as I thought, but try to convince me of that, then!
BTW, I noticed that every time you go out to shame attack, it seems you are playing a character, i.e. not being yourself. Have you ever thought of being real and saying normal things and asking normal questions to the people you meet? I mean, you probably have some things you'd really like to ask the people on the street, right? I just wonder if that would be harder than playing a lunatic character every time.
Keep up the good work! Hope you succeed at breaking out of your anxiety.
Thanks for your post, and I'm glad you're enjoying reading the thread. It's always been the negative thoughts that have stopped me doing this up to now, but once you take the first step and then commit to it, you just end up getting in a routine; like any type of training. In my opinion we need to embrace the embarrassment - I've felt my face go red a number of times, but it's about controlling those feelings and realising that it really doesn't matter what people think of you anyway.
Yes, I've heard of couch surfing, and fair play to you for putting yourself out there in direct and close social situations with strangers - something I haven't been good at in the past. Obviously if we were to look at your situation rationally, you're blameless and shouldn't feel embarrassed, as you didn't know those guys would end up being drunken louts. Their behaviour was completely out of your control, therefore you shouldn't feel any responsibility for their actions. But of course, I know how irrational we can become at times!
You raise a good point. I've wondered with shame attacking; how far should we go with trying to provoke shameful reactions from the public by acting weirdly, while not becoming too much of a "character" which is easier to hide behind. Although it may sound like I'm always playing a character, I'm making sure that it's just an exaggerated version, sometimes very exaggerated(!) version, of myself, but "different" enough to provoke a strange look, laugh or complete shunning from the public. The aim of these exercises in my view; is to treat other's opinions of you with complete indifference, thereby freeing yourself from the fear of being judged by others, which as a consequence stops you doing the things you want to do in everyday life. Therefore, in order to challenge this hang-up I have about what people think of me, I believe the most effective and time efficient strategy for myself, is to do what I'm doing, while upping the ante a bit each time. Interestingly, sometimes after I've done a shame attacking exercise, I like to go and interact with the public just as myself, like you suggested mps625
, in order to monitor my feelings of anxiety, and whether they've decreased. For instance yesterday, after my shop antics, I went to a couple of pubs and chatted normally to people without any great feelings of nervousness. I hardly had any worry about walking into places on my own, or what people thought of me. So doing this type of thing afterwards can be a valuable evaluation of how your training is going. Thanks mps625 for your comment.