Do you still feel like a scared child in an adult world?
I sat at the end of the sofa. This is the spot I’d been in all night watching people move around the room, and listening to whomever chose to sit next to me talk. This is how I used to inhibit a party. Motionless and quiet, waiting for just the right moment to hurry home.
This was not just my way of dealing with parties. It reflected the way I dealt with much of my life. Too afraid to show the world who I really was, I’d try my best to stay quiet and still. Don’t say too much. Don’t laugh too loudly. Don’t let them know you are anxious. Don’t let them notice that you are different.
Do you ever think you might be the only one whose heart races at the thought of going to a large social gathering? Do you ever wonder if anyone else’s voice shakes when too many people are listening to her talk? Do you ever feel like you’re the only one who would rather not attend a party?
For much of my life I thought I was the only one. Then one day I noticed the slight unsureness in the voice of an acquaintance as he addressed the room at a social event, and I thought maybe he feels it too. I noticed it again as I sat in a fast food restaurant alone eating and I saw a woman I worked with pull into the drive through window to order her lunch and pull into a parking space to sit alone in her car eating. I wondered if she felt it too?
I was an anxious, scared child who grew up to be an anxious, scared adult. The source of much of my anxiety was dealing with social situations.
When you have social anxiety you can feel like you’re alone? Other people put on such brave faces you might wonder how they do it. You might assume that they have never experienced this before, but more people are anxious in social situations than you realize.
My natural tendency is to become a kind of recluse. I could stay in the house for days and see no one and be fine with that. That life is easy, and safe, and tempting to me, but it is too easy. With such ease comes unhappiness.
As human beings we need to be challenged. The pursuit of true happiness requires that we stretch and grow to push ourselves just a bit further than we ever have before. That need to grow and push myself is why I started trying to work my way past my social anxieties.
The above linked is simple and short — but really well done. Well worth the read!