Hi! You’re here because you have social anxiety and need some help. Good thing I’ve lived with social anxiety, and since meeting my partner, conquered it. I’m not a psychologist, I’m just a poet, but I reckon I’m a lot more resourceful than a science-based theory- I had a real human experience.
I love myself, I really do, but having accepted that I’m not a social creature was a battle. I admired the thought of being a socialite; being heard, appearing loved, except I couldn’t relate to anyone and being around people too long mentally and emotionally drained me. Hahah, it was a good thought though. Without that obvious support of friends and peers, it was a mission to convince myself that my voice was just as important as my work/ class-mate Kanye West’s. That’s where low self-esteem became a problem.
Social anxiety, disguised as lack of confidence, is more than little ‘insecurity’. In my experience, it’s a whole perspective of the world (half related to low self-esteem) which includes;
- over-analysing facial expressions,
- fearing dislike,
- feeling unimportant (for unknown reasons),
- not knowing how to reply, and,
- confusion of how other’s can be so natural around people!
Being a poet might worsen it because we can be very aware of how we feel- our life purpose is to translate feelings into elegant word phrases- so we can feel exposed even if we’re being concealed because we think everyone is looking through us into our internal world.
That’s I feel anyway…
It’s common in the writing community for us to be more quiet and reserved. We’re secluded creatures; we rather live in our internal world than the outer world. If that’s you, be honest! We anxious folk are probably feeling disparate.
Social anxiety isn’t set in stone however, it’s a cruel trick of the mind. I conquered my doubts and discomfort with… more intense discomfort. Yes, ironic. I put myself in dauting social situations where I was on the verge of a mental and emotional breakdown. The only difference between being in the normal daunting social situations, and growth-based situations, is, I surrounded myself with likeminded people. I struggled to fit in (and was sure as all buggery that I didn’t want to). So, in finding that homogeneous (of the same kind) community, I understood myself clearer. It’s nice talking to people who make you feel less alienated. From then on, I developed an indestructible keenness to make an effort to strengthen my social capacity, and that’s when I met my partner; who unlocked more doors to other worlds of opportunity by introducing me to friends, mutual friends, and family.
Where I am now, I’m quite friendly and social, but I require plenty of alone time to recharge and reconnect. It’s about finding balance. Having the skill to co-mingle is important for networking (“it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”- Grandad), and having a strong sense of community for stability.
Human connection is essentially necessary for survival.
This is slightly irrelevant but related to that line above;
I read a book, about a wise professor whose body was slowly disintegrating with the progression ALS disease and overtime he learnt the values in appreciating the small things in life. It was called Tuesday’s With Morrie. Throughout the book he reaffirms how we should make time for people, and listen with our full attention. In this modern world, it’s too ‘self’ based and everyone seems too ‘busy’ for genuine human interaction and are too worried about their own thing, they “don’t have time” to care about peoples’ personal lives or how they’re feeling, which was concluded to be consistent amongst those with unfulfilling lives.
Love each other, or perish.Morris Schwartz
Keep attending like-minded gatherings and remember, no one’s judging you! You’re only judging yourself. I also found exercising to be beneficial in strengthening that low confidence- it empowered me.
Grow that self-esteem and really get to know people- they’re not actually as bad as we make them inside our heads. We can relate to everyone in some way or another, and you’ll probably start to realise;
you are cared about, and heard, and loved.
That was my epiphany.
Let yourself run wild and free like a little kid again, back before insecurities and judgement, and back before you put pressure on yourself to meet society’s bogus standards.