I’ve been there. Sometimes, with one foot still slightly there. And then, there are those days when the creeping feelings threat back.
Feeling slightly anxious around people is not a new thing, but you and I know how far it can go on certain occasions for certain people, leading to a real struggle.
I am here to share my experience and to say hey, me too.
Life is full of surprises and changes and in my case, my self-esteem drop when I moved country and just by my silly perfectionist being. Saying the right thing was key, trying not to annoy anyone? essential. Being the foreigner but trying so hard to seem the common neighbour. But you know what? It can be very exhausting.
But hey, I am not trying to help you in your pity bubble. It didn’t help me, neither will do so to you. I am here to offer my hand and admit to you this: I don’t have this figured out but I can certainly say this few changes in my mindset helped me to find a better way to deal with my socially awkward being.
1. It’s good being aware of the fact that you can go through a phase of being ”socially awkward” but that doesn’t define you.
When I found other people classifying themselves as socially awkward, this gave me a sense of relief. It released some pressure off my shoulders. Then I would openly introduce myself as ‘shy’ and convinced myself it was just how I was.
You see, stress can make everything look bigger so if having a term release off a bit of it and help you see things with more clarity, great! But then, it is important to know it is a phase, a normal part of maturity. It is not a comfortable place to stay hidden but a running start.
Underneath that uncomfortable smile, it is found a person who has a lot to offer (even if it might take a while to come out -but that is fine.)
2. Low self-esteem can hide a lot of pride and self-centred issues you might need to deal with.
Ouch. It hurts. I know. It hurt when I was at church and heard the minister quoted CS Lewis
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
and he added: ”and think more of God”. It was a nasty truth that challenged me deeply.
”I don’t know what to say, they will think I am dumb if I say this, what they would think if I do this, I am so shy, why can’t I be more outgoing, why am I so quiet? I feel so awkward…”
That realisation got me tearful eyes during the sermon. I started being sick of ”I”. I thought my low self-esteem at least had the good point of keeping my humble but I was missing the whole point. I was looking at myself 24/7, talking to myself more than with anybody else and justifying myself of not sharing what I was with someone that needed it.
I wasn’t doing a good job taking care of the people God has placed in my life in order to protect myself.
3. Thoughts and feelings don’t have to have the last say.
Sometimes you have to stop listening to yourself and make yourself listen to some truth.
Realizing all of the above was good but didn’t quite fix my feelings and thoughts overnight, they kept and keep creeping out from time to time, but that’s alright.
If something I learned is that I cannot waste my life waiting for my feelings and thoughts to be in the right place to move. I can move towards what I know in my heart is right (even if that means to tell myself ”get a grip, girl”.)
My feelings and thoughts will have to play catch up, I’ll keep moving on.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
As a Christian, It really moved me how was this person’s response to his broken-feeling soul. He reminded truth to himself and you know what? I will yet praise him. This broke all my excuses, my silly creeping thoughts because you know what? I will yet praise him. He is my salvation, not me.
Yet. My feelings will have to follow.
My dear socially awkward friend, you are not alone. I know how it feels like feeling out of place, like nobody really gets you, and times when you don’t do it either. I’ve been there. Still, I do time to time.
But there’s a moment in life when you realise you have to put down your feelings and take a choice of moving out of your comfort zone for the sake of others and yourself too (even if that takes a few or thousand trials). Keep trying. Keep moving on.
Yet, I will take a chance.
My dear socially awkward friend, the world might be moving on but -hey, now it’s your turn.
What about you? Have you ever seen yourself as a ”socially awkward” person?
What would you tell to someone who struggles to be her/himself?
Share me your experience, I’d love to hear from you!