Being Confident with Social Anxiety

Being Confident with Social Anxiety
Olivia Williams Anxiety

Hello! I'm a 22-year-old woman, fresh out of college and into the work world. But, I also suffer from anxiety, and have experienced both anxiety attacks and panic attacks. I've never done well with stress, and I'm learning how to handle it one step at a time, mainly through natural treatments and coping mechanisms to calm...

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Ever feel nervous when you are about to make a phone call or when you are about to meet someone new? Everyone is a little nervous, but when you are anxious in social situations, this can definitely be a huge obstacle.

The other day I pushed something way off that I probably shouldn't have done with my car. My taillight recently (or not so recently) went out, and while I haven't gotten pulled over, I still needed to get it fixed. But, I pushed it way off because I honestly didn't want to go to the store and say something stupid or embarrassing because I knew I wouldn't understand what I would be talking about.

That's what social anxiety pretty much is: being afraid of saying something stupid or embarrassing, and then thinking about what you could and could have done differently afterwards. 

Because of something that I've done, I would spend literally all night thinking about what I could have done differently or what I could have said differently. There is this feeling of regret that I usually can't shake when I know something shouldn't have gone the way it did. This regret does tie in with social anxiety, because you do not want to make the same mistake over again. 

When did this feeling start?

I honestly had this feeling all of my life with being nervous about going up to people with questions and also confronting friends and family about issues that I may have. It's really the unknown of the outcome of these situations that I feel is my biggest issue. While I have gotten better, there are still slight (very slight) moments like the other day where I push off certain situations because I don't know the outcome.

But, for people like me, we know this isn't no way to live. Yes, we do know that it's okay to confront people. Yes, we do know that we would live the next five minutes after we make that phone call. 

We do not need you to constantly tell us that that is no way for us to live.

Though, with this type of anxiety, it's okay to be assertive and confident. Though it may be hard, these little sparkling moments will come up by surprise, and these moments really make you feel great about yourself!

Some tips to help you become confident:

  • When you need it, take time for yourself: Having hobbies is a great way to do this! Often, when you take care of yourself, you will feel good about yourself and less stressed.
  • Writing your feelings done: In moments of regret, it's very important to reflect on them. Even when I was a kid and dealt with more awkward situations than the average, I used to write it down in a journal to express how I feel. Let's face it, you can't change what's already happened. So, having some time to reflect on your past awkwardness, or what you feel is awkwardness, will make you feel better.
  • When someone criticizes you, ignore them: Easier said than done, but the only person who understands what you're feeling is you, and some people do not understand that. The next time someone says that you're acting ridiculous or questions why you can't do something, tell them it's none of their business or ignore them.
  • Finally, open up to those who matter: I hate admitting this, but me opening up more often has helped me in a lot of different ways. By telling friends how I feel rather than shying away from them, I have been able to be more confident in my actions and stop waiting on the sidelines.