How I Am Overcoming Social Anxiety
Are you in control of your own life?
I suffered from social anxiety for about all my life really. I have only been diagnosed with it this year without knowing it. I really only assumed it was incredible shyness until I realized that the shaking, trembling, cold hands, but most importantly the inability to go outside in fear of interacting and seeing others interfered with my daily functions in life. How am I ever able to go outside? How will I get the groceries, how will I try on clothes to buy? Even going outside to my neighborhood was bothersome enough because I couldn’t take the amount of staring each one of them gave me.
Until one day, like today, I realized what if they do that to others? What if I’m not the only one they stare at when someone comes out of their home?
It’s like the people who gossip, what if they do that same thing to others and it’s not just me? What if they do that to everyone? Same thing with bullies; what if they were bullied so much they have no more self-esteem so they do it unto others and is in need of help that we just don’t know about?
Or maybe I just think a lot (which I highly agree with this above all else; too much thinking does you no good).
Regardless of this, I was the type of person who always hung her head down low. I had no confidence at all and thought it was pointless to even have my voice heard out loud in fear of what others may think.
However, the more I realize that that’s just who they are, that maybe they do it to everyone else too, that I can’t read minds and that no one really cares about how you look or what you do, it lessened the anxiety just a smidge.
For those of you who are suffering from social anxiety like I am, I want you to try these 3 tips to see if it relieves your tension. It did for me! And I am still working on it:
- Look straight. Don’t look down, not even for a second. Look at the direction you want to go.
- Occupy your mind into what you want to do while you’re walking.
- Don’t mind them, don’t look at them, don’t think about them, imagine that they’re looking at you, but really they’re thinking of what to make for dinner or about their poor puppy or cat they left at home.
Upon researching about the cause of trembling and shaking from Jim Folk, I realize it came mainly from stress from your brain falsely making your body think you are in danger. Kind of like when you get a new hamster and they start trembling when you first hold them in your hands kind of a thing, you start to think, oh my gosh please take me home now. Our body takes on a fight or flight response and the result is the trembling from thinking a) too much and b) worrying too much of how others will think of you. Try to let yourself shake for a while until it goes away, as a way of de-stressing, because I, and I’m sure many of you too, tried to make the shaking and anxiousness stop but made it worse.
Well, what about individual one-on-one conversations with people then? Think of it this way: it isn’t awkward until you make it awkward. In other words, if you perceive the conversation to be boring or uninteresting because of them or because of you, even these sorts of negative thinking can lead to stress which can, in fact, start the trembling as well. Try to be comfortable in your own skin and what you have to say and offer. You don’t have to force yourself to say or do anything you’re not at all comfortable with unless you absolutely have to do so.
Try to convince yourself that you’re not in any real danger, that the worst they can do is just talk and laugh and move on. If they don’t move on, confront them in a respectful way with your eyes straight on them (again, confidence) or just simply walk away, because no one needs to be stuck in some childish ring of insecure groups of people.
Remember that they will only remember you for a few seconds or minutes and they’ll soon get on with their lives. Chances are, they are all conscious about how they look and who knows how long it took to get their self-confidence to where they wanted it? What if the ones who look the most are just as worried about how they look in public or are insecure?
Embrace what you’ve got. Be happy in your own skin. Make use of what God gave you. You’re amazing. Believe that, because no one else knows your worth and what you can do except you! So why not show it? Make it the best you can in this world; try everything you want without holding back. You should be in control of your own happiness and life that you were given.
Here are some of the questions I asked myself, and in realizing this I found the courage to stand up to the irrational fears and anxieties I was facing and still am overcoming ‘til this day. I found it useful and wanted to share this with all of you to reflect on and ask yourself why we let other people manage our emotions:
We can be the sadness of this world or the light. What makes us happy and what holds us back?
Why do we let other people take control of us and our emotions?
Why do we let people rob our happiness over our own lives?
Are we not in control of our own lives?
We are free, in the sense that we have our own lives to live.
We can stand against all who oppressed us; stand against them in unity.
We do not have to let them enter into our lives anymore longer if they did not give us a good reason to stay.
If they have done us more harm than good, what then is the use of keeping them even as a friend?
We can accept their differences, love their flaws, and appreciate who they are, however, we do not have to let them take what’s left of us into the clutch of their hands.
We can let them be and appreciate their views and emotions, but why let them hold the strings of your life?
You are no puppet. You are no scarecrow. You have your own show to run, your own emotions, your own thoughts and opinions to keep.
You can agree and beg to differ, however, you are allowed to still keep your own opinions and thoughts.
So why do we let others scare us, belittle us, and bother us? Why do we let them tear us down to feed their own ego and pride? You have more self-respect than that. If they feel confident enough to belittle others, you can have the confidence to step up and fight for yourself.