I'm Not Shy, My Anxiety Just Likes To Act Like Stage Fright
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Health and Wellness

I'm Not Shy, My Anxiety Just Likes To Act Like Stage Fright

Just because I'm not loud or in your face, doesn't mean I don't have important things to say - and trust me, they will be said.


It's always been really frustrating to me...being labeled as shy. I love meeting new people, talking, laughing - but in an extroverted world my silence doesn't mean I don't fit. I'm not always comfortable around new people for one reason or another, primarily due to stress of wanting them to like me. Because of my anxiety, I freeze up. I always expect my crowning moment of saying something funny to solidify everyone liking me - but it doesn't always happen. It's like getting stage fright.

I've met a few others that experience this as well, and it's important to note it's all in perspective. Psychologist's call this the "spotlight effect". It's pretty self-explanatory, but it refers to the tendency of thinking others notice something about you more than they actually do. Because we see our world through our own experiences and expectations, we assume others do as well, meaning if we're self-conscious we assume others believe there is a reason we should be self-conscious.

Most common the conclusion to this is that I'm shy which can change the way people perceive me or interact with me. It's just not who I am which is why it gets frustrating. And not necessarily towards others, but primarily to myself. I watch myself interact with people in ways that aren't me, which is prevents them from getting to know me while also doing both of us a disservice. This is an easy, subliminal way of isolating yourself. People can't get to know the real you and you owe it to yourself to let them!

I'm not shy - I'm sitting and thinking of all the ways our interaction could go wrong to make you think I'm not worth your time. That probably seems pretty pathetic, but it's true. Anxiety has a way of manifesting thoughts like this, primarily with overthinking which cause misconceptions like that. Like the assumption you have to prove yourself from the get-go. I would love nothing more than to show you more parts of me, but for the first little while, I can't.

This is the biggest hurdle I seem to face while trying to connect with new people I want to be friends with, it's like a hypersensitivity to try and prevent them from noticing any flaws. Flaws that aren't a big deal or that some wouldn't even notice.

Most of the time it feels like I'm bogged down by these filters that sort out all the possible scenarios and responses which, not going to lie, gets exhausting. It's just been programmed after years of doing it and it isn't an easy snap of the fingers to undo.

Just because I'm not loud or in your face doesn't mean I don't have important things to say - and trust me, they will be said. But not through a megaphone, through meaningful ways. Anxiety only lasts as long as the fear does, which means at some point it will weaken. That being said, don't let it define you. Don't feed it. Push through it.

My therapist has made many references to my "wise mind", which is above both our logic and emotional minds. This is what makes sense of things. More specifically, she especially tells me to think with my wise mind in situations with social anxiety. My emotions can take over and tell me lies like that someone doesn't want to be my friend or they're judging me, but in reality, our wise mind puts those thoughts in their place. It's the part of our brains that realize that doesn't make sense. It's an anchor back to reality because it calls out the irrationals.

Just know I want to talk to you and always be your friend. I love meeting new people and making them happy. I want to change lives and there is no time for fear in that. I want to open up and exchange parts of each other, but there's a wall. I'm trying every day to dismantle it, so please don't take it personally.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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