Social phobias, shyness and anxiety all boil down to the same thing. Fear. If we could learn to conquer fear, then 90% of our mental ills would vanish like the mists of morning.While I know that this is oversimplifying the problems, it is a fact that fear plays a very major role in our mental conditions. This is why, following a panic or anxiety attack, you take the time to sit down and reflect upon it. Why did you panic? Why were you so anxious? Why were you so afraid to go through that front door?My own experience was that while I wasn’t actually having an attack, I was still afraid of even moving from room to room. Why? Fear, yes, but why was I frightened? One thing I did find helpful, was that while I was considering this fear and agreeing with myself that it was totally illogical, I would make the move from one room to another. The reason was that my mind was taken from my fear.I could have been thinking about anything. A television programme I’d watched the previous evening. Whether England would take away the Ashes from Australia that year. Even so, I did find it more helpful to reflect on my fear, or rather its needlessness.Now the same may be said for a social situation. Maybe that under normal circumstances, you feel no anxiety at all in company. It’s just when you have to give a speech in front of lots of people that your fear, maybe even terror, kicks in. Again, why? You’ve been asked to speak, presumably because you’re an authority on the subject. Well, you have a leg up straight away. You know more than at least most of your audience, probably all of them and you’re certainly on a level with them all, even if there are a few who have some knowledge of that about which you’re to speak.So why the fear? What’s the worst thing that can happen? Perhaps you’ll dry up. Then again, you’ll have your notes in front of you. You could be taken out by a sniper, but the chance of that happening if you’re giving a talk in the church hall is so remote as to be discounted.Run through the speech in front of the mirror, not once, but a number of times. Even the mirror didn’t break!The wretched part is that when you’ve finished giving your talk, people come up and congratulate you, tell you what a good job you’ve done and you know yourself that the evening’s gone very well. And then you’re asked to speak again, on the strength of your showing that night. So here’s the ridiculous part. You become frightened all over again.One thing to learn is to accept compliments equably and gracefully. This business of muttering; “Aw, shucks, it was just luck that I muddled through it,” must be stamped on once and for all. It isn’t a very endearing trait, and really can make you look like an idiot.”If he thinks so little of himself,” people think, “why should we bother. Suppose he does clam up?”No, simply thank people for their compliments and leave it at that. There’s no need to leap on a chair and start singing: “I’m the tops,” but don’t go the other way, either.Now, the same goes for shyness. I think a lot of us are shy when we first start to tangle with the opposite sex. We don’t have a clue what to say. But we soon learn, and that’s still no excuse for self-deprecation.This should be discussed further, because of course there are genuine mental illnesses that you can’t talk yourself out of. Serious depression and schizophrenia being just two. Diseases like these are completely different kettles of fish.But I do think that in the main, we should recognize our self-worth and act upon it. You may feel shy talking to someone, but that doesn’t mean you should end up like a legless jelly. If he or she asks you questions, then answer them levelly and sensibly. After all, the chances are you have a better mind than they do.Ever thought of that?