For years, I have held a huge fear of what others think of me. Social situations, regardless of scope, have routinely tackled my well-being. Whether always worrying that someone doesn’t like me or feeling panicked at a party, I am skilled at social anxiety.
Amazingly though, I am beginning to notice a shift in my ability to manage.
There are 10 encouraging thoughts and practices that have guided me toward being brave, having peace, and loving myself more:
- If they don’t like you, could it be that they are missing out? Why are you always yearning for their love (I know you just started singing this, haha)? You are such a great person, and the best people for you will recognize that.
- When you are 88 years old, will that still matter (that awkward moment or that thing they may have thought about you)? Most likely not. Let go of what you cannot control. Release the moments that don’t validate the truth of who you are.
- It’s okay to be awkward. There are more people who feel weird in social situations than you think. As long as your heart is genuine, you can show up and be a blessing, too (yes, even if you feel nervous, stumble over your words, forget to fix your collar, or are unsure about how to occupy space).
- Looking back on that social situation, what can you be proud of yourself for? Can you commend yourself for refusing to let anxiety keep you at home? Did you smile at someone? Did you talk to someone new? Did you hang out and have a good time even if you almost said nothing?
- If a social situation is too triggering or overwhelming, LEAVE if you need to. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to stick it out. Those who love you may be sad to see you leave. Ultimately though, they should want you to be okay.
- Before you go to a social event, meditate on qualities that you like and love about yourself. While driving, listen to your favorite “hype playlist”. Ask God to show up with you. Remember that you are never alone.
- Set realistic expectations. You can’t be best friends or friends, period, with any and everybody. If you go somewhere and make a new friend, DOPE. If not, they weren’t meant for you. And remember that many friendships take time to form and strengthen.
- You’ll never be enough for people with limited hearts. Jesus walked this earth and loved everyone perfectly. Still, he was rejected for everyone to see.
- You are enough
- If you know that you don’t really enjoy an activity, refuse to do it for the sake of fitting in.
Bonus: Give yourself grace. Give yourself time to grow.
You ever feel anxious about and around people? How do you deal?