Living with social anxiety can be incredibly challenging. People who have social anxiety spend a great deal of time doing things that one might perceive as simple everyday tasks. But for someone with social anxiety, they might be perceived as pretty large everyday triumphs when accomplished. And while those who don’t have social anxiety, lack empathy for the most part, or who can’t relate whatsoever to what someone with social anxiety feels and endures for such simple tasks, it makes no sense to them. To them, it may seem preposterous and completely pointless to waste time or not to simply shake it off and get over their silly fears. However, it’s much easier to feel in such a way, to point a finger, or to keep your shoes on super-tight when you don’t know or understand what it feels like to endure social anxiety.
Let’s open our minds and our hearts up. Even if just enough to understand and feel empathy towards others who have yet to overcome certain challenges in their life like social anxiety.
We all do simple tasks each day that should be quick and many times, enjoyable, like going for a quick bite to eat somewhere. However, when someone has social anxiety, doing just that can be uncomfortable and challenging. Someone with social anxiety might sit inside of their car overthinking and trying to build up enough strength and courage to face whatever they might experience in the outside world. In other words, it can be challenging just getting out of their car. They fear running into different people, feeling judged, being looked at, Heaven forbid stared at, or to put it simply, to feel perhaps even more inadequate than they already might feel.
They might even feel uncomfortable meeting eyes with another person or to feel any sort of emotion, let alone a powerful intense connection with someone—even if it’s merely in passing. Hey, attraction happens, right? Some of us have empathy, and then some people have an immense amount of empathy where they feel so much with just looking into someone’s eyes. Having said that, someone who has such empathy, as well as social anxiety, might feel such powerful emotions that they’ll avoid eye contact with people altogether as not to feel so much.
Don’t settle for short-term light
Something that I’ve learned over time, is that if you don’t recognize and admit to having a problem, it not only won’t get better or go away, but it could and might likely get worse. I believe wholeheartedly that pill popping is not the answer—unlike many might think. It’s easy to take a pill and get well. Blah, blah, blah. That’s all temporary. Short term light, long-term darkness. If you want anything good in life, what must you do? What do I always say? Work for it! Put in the hard work, effort, and love towards what you want to achieve. If you want to get better, try everything in your power to do it the natural way.
Natural is better. Taking a Xanax or any medication might temporarily make you feel cool and able to take on the world emotionally, but not only will it leave you with possible unwanted side-effects, a possible addiction, and a desire to keep taking the quick fix approach, but you won’t be healing the root of the problem. Fix the root! Don’t take the easy way out. And even combination therapy with pills isn’t always the best approach (although sometimes it can work). Try to recognize that you’re able to improve the way you feel without any substance. You won’t ever be perfect or have zero fear or anxiety, but you can definitely improve naturally to a certain extent.
It’s a good idea to avoid taking medications that you might become dependent on. Especially if you can overcome a problem naturally. What it mainly involves, is confidence, self-control, willpower, and determination—oh yea, and love and acceptance too. Take a deep breath, count to ten or even three, but don’t pill pop if you can avoid it. That is unless a doctor tells you that it’s mandatory! If you can learn some natural ways to help calm down your nerves, do them! Drink camomile tea, take deep breaths, pray, do yoga, practice regular fitness routines, eat a predominately healthy diet, paint, draw, go to soothing locations like art museums, get enough REM sleep, read self-help books and articles, and do things that give you peace.
Why do I have social anxiety?
There are many different reasons why some might develop social anxiety. I don’t necessarily feel that it’s something that we’re born with. We may be the awkward type and have fear of the unknown to a certain extent. I think that’s pretty common. But for many cases of social anxiety, I truly feel that it’s our past experiences along with our current situations that are big contributing factors as to why we’re afraid, uncomfortable, and even why many medical conditions worsen. When things are hectic, unstable, and filled with unnecessary stress and drama, it can cause someone with OCD, panic disorder, anxiety, and many other conditions to get worse, and possibly, much harder to improve.
When we’re in toxic environments or are in situations and relationships that are bad for us, it’s harder to be the best version of ourselves and it’s harder to understand that we aren’t the problem. We make foolish decisions, we don’t think about consequences, and we repeat the same mistakes over and over. We don’t see outside of the box. We don’t see that it’s a toxic situation that’s provoking us to act out at times, weakening our inner strength and making it easier for us to lose our self-control, and all in all, bringing out the worst in us. It’s imperative to think about big decisions and to care who we surround ourselves with in life.
Good choices like who we surround ourselves with are a big help when it comes to being able to fight forward towards improving our issues including social anxiety. As well, we can’t blame others for why our life might be messy or why things seem to keep “happening to us.” We are adults and we make our own decisions, therefore, we need to think wisely before we act, and deal with the consequences of our own actions, rather than blame others or even our pasts for why things don’t go our way. If you want to heal, recognize the issue, and work on improving it.
Were you bullied as a child? Were you judged harshly and perhaps not given unconditional love growing up? Maybe you were considered a loner in school or picked on for how you look so that you never really got a chance to show who you are on the inside. I know for a fact that my anxieties get much worse when I’m in an unstable or unsettling situation. In other words, if things aren’t calm, stable, and if I’m surrounded by toxic people, my anxieties will get worse. Whereas, if I’m in a loving environment, where I feel truly loved and accepted, I might still have social anxiety to a certain extent, but I’m much more able to push my way through my fears and even come across as confident—even if I’m merely content with myself.
But you see, when you choose to be in situations that bring you peace, and surround yourself with those who are kind, you’ll have an easier time working towards being the best version of yourself. You need a stable place to stand—a solid ground. Not an easy path necessarily, but more so, a place that you’re able to focus on the problem at hand, rather than become distracted. And it’s not the lack of a stable ground that’s the root of a problem. That’s merely like I said, a distraction and perhaps a bad decision that you need to correct immediately so that you can focus on what you need to do so that you may acquire more peace.
Many people fear to go to parties, social gatherings, or even going out with friends. While some people have social anxiety to more of a subtle extent, others endure social anxiety in much more of an extreme extent and fear simple everyday tasks like walking outside. Having the fear of anything though is what can keep someone from taking the next step, from attaining their goals, or from going after whatever it is that they want in life, including happiness. It can keep people from having peace in their hearts.
Some problems that a person who has social anxiety will likely endure, are feeling alone, left out, and nervous. As well, one big consequence will be that if they don’t overcome their social fears and anxieties, they’ll likely develop a low self-esteem and much more so, over time. It’s important not to let our fears take over and run the show for our lives. For those who have social anxiety, and are afraid of doing simple everyday tasks like going inside of a restaurant to order some lunch, to sit alone, or to workout in the gym and remove those headphones that tune out most of the world, remember, you’re not alone. Many people are going through the same types of emotions that you are, only they’re facing their fears and they’re handling them differently. Don’t let your fears trap you or control your life. They will get worse over time if you let them.
Don’t try to fix social anxiety. Improve it by learning what gives you peace. Take it one day at a time. Don’t feel pressured to be perfect or even to fit in. Strive to be better every single day. Not a better person for others, but for you! And not the best version of other people, but the best version of yourself.
The sooner that you take charge of your life and face social anxiety, the sooner that you’ll live a more blissful life where you’ll feel genuinely whole, confident, and proud of who you are at your core, as well as inside and outside. You won’t care who looks in your direction or who speaks to you unexpectedly. And you’ll stand proud, tall, sporting a smile on your face, holding your chin up to the world, feeling good throughout your day, rather than afraid or not good enough.
Remember, we all have different fears. There’s nothing abnormal about feeling scared or having anxieties and phobias unless they’re making our lives difficult to live, or even miserable. And especially, when they disturb the peace in our souls and our minds to an extreme extent. We don’t need that. No one does. What we need to do, is learn how to cope best with ourselves, and to accept ourselves as whole and complete, without putting ourselves down or feeling inadequate simply because we’re not perfect. No one is perfect. No one is any better than you. One person might be great at this or that, while they struggle in other areas. But everyone is good or even great at something. Find your passion, look within, and discover yourself. Learn to embrace what God has given you, all of the beautiful gifts including your very presence in this world. Appreciate what you have and thrive in your life to the best that you can.
Don’t be afraid to let go at times and feel different emotions. Don’t dread what could happen on the other side based on fear of the unknown. Try to be a positive guide for your life, your own role model, your own inspiration, and your own source of light. Radiate like a beautiful beam of confidence, and fear no more. Let go. Be free. Think of consequences of your actions, but don’t be afraid to do positive things or to experience change. People with social anxiety tend to fear simple changes. The change of their own emotions when they walk into a room, as well what others may feel when they walk into a room, fearing to see their expression. I feel that there’s some underlying level of perfectionism that many people who have social anxiety experience.
Don’t fear not being liked or accepted for who you are. It’s who you are that makes you special and unique in this world. That uniqueness and that alone makes you special and wonderful because it means that you are irreplaceable. No one can compare to you because only you hold the key to your soul, and your very being. And only you know your inner strengths and weaknesses like no other. You have the power to let go of all of your fears. This is something you must desire to do for yourself to make your life easier and more enjoyable. Rather than to live a life filled with fear and nervousness, and possibly stomach aches, few to no friends, and lack of a good self-esteem.
Count to three and step out of your comfort zone and what’s holding you back. Push yourself and be that pillar of strength that you sometimes see in others and so greatly admire. Don’t be afraid to show your weaknesses or to show that you’re imperfect. You’ll fit right in being imperfect as we all will. People who won’t love and accept you for who you are aren’t of value to your life. You should only surround yourself with loving individuals who are filled with light and inner beauty, and who can clearly see that you radiate in your own beautiful way. Surround yourself with those who appreciate you, uplift you, and who push you towards becoming more enlightened—but without force, and mostly by encouraging you by setting a good example as well as with positive reinforcement.