It can be a difficult road, but you can overcome the fear of social interaction and expressing yourself without fear.
Reflecting back on my life I see a vivid image of a shy introverted girl that roamed around holding her head down, unable to look anyone in the eye. A girl that felt insecure and devoid of courage. A girl that dialoged with her inner self, due to fear of expressing an outward voice; that felt alone, and isolated from the rest of the world.
I disclose my story to you because I’ve learned how to overcome the myriad of emotions that I dealt with growing up as an introvert; and, I hope sharing my story might provide some insight that might be helpful to those out there who are introverts and are trying to find ways to overcome the fear of being themselves.
Not fitting in socially can be a lonely place in the world; thinking that you’re different and won’t be accepted by others.
The circumstances and details behind being shy and introverted are varied; each person has their own story. However, the disabling emotions associated with being shy and introverted are very real, which can — and in my case did, lead to feelings of fear, rejection, and failure to live up to my potential.
How I overcame
It took me all of twenty years before I began to understand my shy and introverted nature, and to work on overcoming the obstacles that stood in my way of being freed up emotionally. One of the benefits of my being an introvert (and there are many benefits) was having continual inner dialogs with myself; posing silent inquiry, trying to understand the whys to what I then called my “condition”. I didn’t know how to or what to weigh the “condition” against, since I existed —socially isolated, feeling I was different, and had no outer expression.
It wasn’t until I went off to college that I found the courage to seek counseling which assisted me in resolving the myriad of emotions that I felt. Before then I simply consulted with myself
Seeking help and being willing to openly express your feelings to someone is important to ones wellbeing.
Consulting a counselor and expressing my emotions to someone I felt wouldn’t judge me or condemn me, was a great start in feeling comfortable expressing my inner emotion’s. It felt great opening up and letting the emotions flow/ to have an outlet.
Counselors are great sounding boards that listen to you voice the inner you. In turn, they ask questions that are helpful for self analyses’ in helping you to understand yourself better, and to horn in on areas that you might not have focused on.
Trying the suggestions offered by the Counselor, as a result of the conclusions arrived at through inquiry, and what you yourself learn as a result of the inquiry, can be helpful in overcoming the fear of social interaction, and freedom of expression.
It took time; however, I had to force myself to interact socialize. It didn’t feel comfortable at first, but like the old saying goes “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink”.
Self help work takes courage, and courage to do what’s necessary brings about confidence. So, I put the work into practice. I would start off slow. For example: asking for directions and saying thank you, and have a great day. Or sitting beside someone on a bus stop and asking “how was your day?” After counseling sessions, I worked up to raising my hand and asking questions. Eventually, I achieved being courageous in trying new things and expressing myself in social settings.
I came to understand that it was my own thinking that caused my anxiety, and discomfort; which caused my inner emotional turmoil.
Fact was and is — I am an introvert; and I’ve come to like my introversion traits. I am different in terms of my personality and the traits and characteristics that make me – me. I just needed to feel comfortable accepting me for who I am, and being myself, regardless of what others might think. After all, there’s always going to be somebody that doesn’t care to be in my company or doesn’t appreciate me for what I express or do. I can’t change that, but I can change how I function in the world and I did!
If you are living with a similar life style of experiencing fear to be who you are socially — as you have just read from my experience, you can grow to express yourself with courage and confidence without fear of what others might think, fear of social interaction or the outcome.
It really is a matter of learning who you are, and having the confidence and courage to be you! Once you do, you’ll be on your way to fulfilling your potential, expressing yourself, and socially interacting with courage and confidence!!
Social anxiety link