If you were to see me in a social situation, you’d think that I’m confident.
And in most social settings, I am. Now. I love people, love hearing their stories, so most of the time I trust my ability to relate and connect. But this wasn’t always the case. These were skills I had to re-learn.
During adolescence, probably as a result of going to a new school where I felt completely out of my depth, I lost my confidence. It was a very lonely time.
This is when I remember the pretending began. I pretended to be shy. I’m a natural introvert, certainly. But at the same time, being shy was very convenient for me. At many times, it was a means to stay quiet, avoid risks, and maintain the illusion that I was better than I really was.
And I used this strategy well into my early adult years, in fact I can still find myself dropping into this idea about myself – that I am shy – to avoid social risks and maintain an air of superiority. Especially when I’m feeling social anxiety, feeling tired or vulnerable.
Yet rather than pretending, I now offer myself some compassion – tell myself it’s totally okay to feel this way, everyone feels this way from time to time when faced with a room full of strangers and that I’m going to go gently with myself, take the pressure off myself and simply be curious about what will unfold, who I will meet, how I will feel.
Can you relate?
With great warmth