How to overcome social anxiety?

Have you ever been envious of your fellows being all confident and able to do and say whatever they wanted? I know I have. Growing up I had always been the confident kid, but it faded over the years as I entered into my teens. The social pressure to fit in coupled with my family constantly putting me down shattered every shed of confidence I had. And I hated it. I knew that this wasn’t how I was going to spend my life. I wasn’t going to let silly voices inside my head take away important opportunities from me. I had already missed more opportunities than I could keep count by the time I realised it had to change, but like they say, ‘its never too late’.

Since the time I started challenging and pushing myself, I have improved immensely. My confidence level has shot up and I can do and say things I could have no imagined a few years ago. I am not where I want to be yet, but atleast I’m not where I started. Here are some ways that I would recommend you try to gain confidence.

1.  Challenge yourself. Start doing things that scare you out of your wits. When your heart says no, tell your heart to shutup, grit your teeth and do it. Sign up for school activities. Say yes to parties and meet ups. Say hello to your crush. Constantly remind yourself that this is not how you want to spend the rest of your life and things need to change.

2. Start slow. Thinking about everything you can’t do and should start doing will overwhelm you and you might not want to do it at all. Start easy. Take slow steps. Volunteer answers in class. Smile at strangers. Set targets for yourself if that makes it easier for you. Write them down. For example one of my earliest target was to speak atleast thrice in the debating session I had volunteered for.

3. Stop being embarrassed. It is very important to understand that embarrassments are nothing but your mind telling you you’re stupid, or you shouldn’t have done that. It is absolutely alright if you shout out a wrong answer. It is alright if you get caught up in your words. You are human. You are going to have human traits. You are going to make mistakes. And trust me when I say, everyone around you does the same mistakes as you. It’s just that not everybody overthinks about them. If you feel embarrassed by something you did, ask yourself: ‘Is it going to matter in ten years that I slipped in the hallway? Will this perosn even remember me in ten years? Will I even remember him?’. Most of the times, the answer to these questions is a no. Smile, joke about it with your friends, and push it to a corner of your mind. It does NOT matter. Take a deep breath. Move on.

4. Do not let negitivity around you effect you. I know from personal experience how people who try to put you down can effect you. How words can play with your mind. But those words and negitivity will not get to you if you in your mind know that you are so much better than the words of people who do not matter. Do not let them win. Do not assume your worth from words of people who want to see you fail.

5. Count your improvements. Don’t think about how much is left to do. Think about what you did today that you couldn’t yesterday. Note them down. When you come back to read them after more improvements, you’ll notice how things that were once an accomplishment are now somehing that you do wihout a second thought. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world.

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