“They don’t really care if I come…. They don’t want to talk to me because they think I’m weird and annoying, I mean it’s written all over their face… What’s the point of building this relationship, they’re going to realise something is wrong with me and leave like everyone always does…. I’m not good enough….. What I say and what I do doesn’t matter… I would rather be on my own than have to deal with the anxiety of being around others…. Am I saying the right things…. Am I talking at the right times”
Have you ever caught yourself having these thoughts, or similar ones? Or even worse, have you ever believed and dwelled in them to the point that it has crippled you.
I can tell you, I have! I grew sick of these thoughts and feelings holding me back from truly wonderful people and potential connections.
I was also telling myself that it must be obvious that I just have social anxiety, but I think once you start putting yourself in the shoes of people around you, it might actually seem like you just don’t care about them. They invite you to events and gatherings but you don’t do because home and your solitude is safer, but to them you’re turning down their invite and they might actually genuinely want to hang out with you and get closer to you because, get this, they might actually LIKE YOU!
Moreover, they share personal and vulnerable information with you and you don’t remember it cause you were too busy being in your head and not listening, to them it might seem like you just aren’t interested.
You’re not engaging with people because you’re afraid of the rejection that’s only in your head, because the reality is, these people are ready to love you if you are open to their love.
The biggest issue, is not being present…. and deliberately pushing people away. Maya Angelou once said “People don’t remember the things you say, but they remember how you made them feel” and connecting with someone on an emotional level requires that you be present. You can’t make an impact on anyone if you are emotionally shut off.
So…. how can you try to overcome social anxiety and start enjoying events, situations and people around you? Here are my tips…. tell me what you think in the comment section or if you have other ways that work for you.
1. Stop identifying as socially anxious.
I understand how important it is to have a support group and a safe space where you can talk about your challenges and share your experiences. From my experience, once I started to identify as socially anxious, it only got worse. I am not saying that you can just make it disappear by sheer will, what I am say though is that there is more than you than being socially anxious, and that you should focus on the good things about yourself and identify with those qualities. It will make it easier to love yourself more, and behave less socially anxious.
2. Don’t use social anxiety as a crutch.
Stop saying no to things and start saying yes. Stop hiding in your room and get out and explore yourself, first and foremost. Once you start exploring yourself, challenging yourself, being present in situations and with people, you will feel better about yourself and less worries about what others think of you. You will also be too busy to care. So take that dance class you’ve always wanted to take, start studying that thing you’ve always wanted to study, start that work out plan you’ve been telling yourself that you can’t do. Get out there and live!!
Doing something physically active will also help stabilise your breathing and will make you feel more calm.
3. Contact those people…. yea you know which ones I’m talking about
Contact those people that you think don’t care about you, despite the numerous efforts to hang out with you. Show them you do actually care. And if they do end up leaving you, then so what…. people come, people go… you should be so busy growing yourself everyday that you won’t be crushed if someone leaves. People leaving has nothing to do with you, sometimes their season in your life passes and you have to move on. Also, if you have 1-5 people that are constants in your life and will always be there to love you and support you, you are blessed my friend. One of my favourite sayings is “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter”. So if they don’t fit into your life, or stop fitting it to your life, then wish them well and move on. And guess what, nothing will happen to you. You will still be standing, and I know this because life has thrown lots of things you way, and you are still standing!
4. Love yourself more
I already said this in point number 1, but it is essential that you love yourself more. Do things everyday for yourself, go for a run or walk, do a mask, pamper yourself, read an uplifting book, learn something new, take up a new hobby, do something you’ve always wanted to do but thought you couldn’t. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY! This will make you feel better, too busy to be thinking about others and what they’re thinking of you, and it will lead you to the right people for you, if you follow your heart to get there. I will like to say though, that I am against the idea that you have you love yourself in order for others to love you….THAT IS NOT WHAT I AM SAYING AT ALL… YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE IN WHATEVER CONDITION YOU ARE OR ARE NOT IN!! What I am saying is that, the more you love yourself, the less worried you will be about what others think of you.
5. Give to people
My last point is to take some of your time to help others and feel like you are making an impact in someones life. This will boost your confidence immensely and will put you in focus of what really matters. Another way to give to people is to forgive them for whatever story you are telling yourself about why they don’t like you or want to hang out with you and let go of that story and be present with them. Give them yourself… the version after you have broken your barriers (but not your boundaries).
What are some tips that you use to get over social anxiety.