“Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
Since childhood, some of us have always been shy. We have been accustomed to being known as “the quiet one.” Our parents tell us stories of how we used to hide our face away every time we had company when we were still toddlers. As we grew up, so did our anxiety. Right from our childhood innocence, we transformed to become more sensitive and receptive individuals. I, for instance, found it hard to go out with my peers. I don’t recall any instances that I felt confident in the presence of a stranger or others. I discovered that there were two things that were holding me back. I realized that such issues were only figments of my thoughts and imagination. This discovery enabled me to loosen that leash, the social anxiety that was on me. I was my own nightmare, my own anxiety, my own critic.
I Am Not the Cause of Awkward Silence
One fact about any conversation is that it’s a two-way street. As soon as a conversation felt stale, I found myself feeling awkward. In such instances, I accepted that it was not just me and my problem, it was the other person as well. There was no possibility that the other person was judging me or thought I was being a nuisance. I stopped worrying so much and decided to just be myself. The moment I understood that it helped a lot by taking the pressure off and enabled me to relax a bit. I actually started to enjoy talking with other people. Having less anxiety during a conversation helps to feel more comfortable and talk easily. The key to conversations is to find an interesting topic, one that you and those you are speaking with can relate to. People are influenced by things they can relate with, or find interests with one another that they have similarities with. That’s it! No magic formula when it comes to talking with other people!
No One Cares
Discovering that no one cares can be extremely liberating for anyone who faces social anxiety. I discovered that there was an arrogant aspect that I had developed in my mindset. This was that people constantly had me in their thoughts, they cared about how I looked like, and they scrutinized each word that I spoke. The fact is, NO ONE CARES. I can’t stress the phrase highly enough; no one cares. As you sit there in the conversation thinking about how you look, guess what, the majority of the time, they are thinking the same thing! More people are just as guilty of social anxiety as you are. So quit thinking that the focus is all on you, and get comfortable with speaking.
If I was not wasting my time inspecting what other people did, then why on earth would anyone spend their time inspecting me on every little thing? Rather than wasting time, thinking of what other people are thinking of you, it might be helpful to spend time on just living! Once you are able to realize that this thought process is irrational, you will be able to confront the fears that exist in yourself.
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