I don't believe that social anxiety is a lifelong condition. I don't believe that nobody overcomes social anxiety.
I do believe that some people have a harder time changing than others. But isn't that true for anything or any sampling where you begin the sentence with "some"? I do agree that it takes time for the brain to change. And a brain that has lived with more severe anxiety problems for a longer time would likely require more effort to get out of it gradually.
When I write on here, trying to answer questions often using my own experiences, I do try to keep it realistic. Is it "easy"? Not exactly. Is it possible? yes.
When I speak to people in person, in fact, I'm more restrained in my answers. Maybe I don't want to give them unrealistic expectations which they'll begin to worry about and measure themselves by?? Maybe I do feel that I've gotten so much better but I'm not the type of person to say "Hey, everybody, I've arrived!"?? Maybe I feel that the feeling of overcoming social anxiety, at the point where maybe you can say "yes, I have overcome social anxiety"... maybe that feeling is different from what you expected. I know the ups and downs my life has had since finishing the therapy and leaving the groups. I figure everyone else will have those natural ups and downs, too. But without being ready for them, without overcoming social anxiety - I never would have been able to even have had those types of BOTH ups and downs.
I don't think I'm looking through rose-coloured glasses. As I said, I'm much more restrained if you come to me and ask about my progress. But then I always try to think about what my life actually was THEN vs NOW. The difference is night and day. I don't have the physical symptoms now. I don't have the anticipatory anxiety now. I don't have the constant worry that never goes away, nor the constant thinking about how stupidly I behaved. I don't have anxiety telling me what I can't do. I don't have the self-hatred. I don't feel terrible about being judged or criticized, as you describe. Did I before? Yes. Now? No. Nobody craves to be judged or criticized. The point is not that anyone loves that. The point is just that you are able to take things rationally without falling apart or hating yourself. 1. If I'm criticized by someone who is irrationally yelling at me or just being out of control, then... okay sure, you will perhaps feel some negative type of feeling - again, that's natural for any person I know. And then, I can rationally think about the situation and move on - again a natural response from many people I know. So, no, I don't "care" about what this particular person thinks about my whole life. Of course I was there and had to hear what was said - I'm not a robot without feelings. But, that's it - the thing is finished. 2. If I'm judged at work and told that here I do things less well, here I need to improve... okay. Before I could not handle that. Now I can. Everyone has to go through that in life - everyone with a job. I can't be good at everything - that's crazy. So I don't need to get down on myself. I could always do something better, in a positive sense and in a real world skill sense.
I also do sometimes say or do something which upsets other people. This is also life. Before, well I wouldn't really say anything at all ever. Perhaps you could say my silence would upset people. Now, I do sometimes choose to say something that I need to say. I try to say it in the right way depending on the situation. And still that may not be an easy conversation, may make someone not quite happy. But I have the ability to at least try to handle those conversations now. And by the way, most "normal" people don't handle confrontation or stress well either.
From a functional standpoint, I'm over social anxiety. I don't have to sleep in my car anymore just to get away from people. I can move about in the outside world pretty normally now. I can stand up for myself. I can socialize. Whatever happens as a result, I'm not going to go into long spiralling thoughts of self hatred and pity and name calling. That was my reality before. None of that happens now - none of that which would classify as social anxiety.
And you say this stuff can't be changed which started in childhood. I don't agree. My first memories of it happening for me are from around 8 to 10 years old. We always remember our lives, so it's not like I've forgotten my story, and all those feelings. I just don't carry that weight around anymore. And yes, I have family members who do carry that, I can see it, and they react in anxious ways and talk about their anxiety issues a lot. I think one habit many of us are guilty of is we continue to put all our experiences and situations into an "anxiety frame" after we have overcome social anxiety, or when we are getting better. It's like no matter what happens, the tendency is still to question if anxiety is part of it, or to reflect upon certain feelings as maybe still being part of anxiety. This becomes kind of like another ANT, a post-graduate ANT, if you will. People who never had social anxiety may face the same situation with an extreme amount of worry or stress, a situation which for most people WOULD cause discomfort, but they pass through, and don't carry that all-encompassing thought that this stress still may relate to a past problem like SA because of course they never had SA to compare anything with. But we do this. We do this because it's been so trained into our past and all our actions. This is something I've worked on since "leaving" therapy. Don't always relate things to anxiety. Life is full of challenges. Challenges require effort, they're hard, they might make you nervous - naturally. Stay rational with this.
As social creatures, as you say, of course we work in this social unit. We want love, praise, belonging. Sure, all of that. We can feel bad after rejection, we care what others think and feel because we are social human beings. NONE of that point means that overcoming social anxiety is not possible. None of that means that social anxiety has to be a lifelong condition.
So I respectfully disagree with your points, at least how I'm interpreting them from the post.