battling social anxiety
A few weeks ago on snapchat, I talked about going to an event I REALLY didn’t want to go to. Don’t get me wrong – the brand was adorable and I knew the event would be a blast (cocktails, cupcakes, free stuff)…but being the introvert that I am, the social anxiety started creeping in. “I won’t know anyone, I’m going to have to talk to so many people I don’t know. What if I’m awkward? What if people don’t like me?”, etc.I was so surprised when I snap chatted about this struggle and being introverted, SO many of you said you have the same problem! So, today I want to share some about my struggle with social anxiety, why it’s important to battle it, and things the Lord has shown me recently that have helped me to battle it.
SO, first of all. I’m an introvert. I like being by myself. I feel energized and refreshed after having time alone. I have a small group of maybe 5-7 best friends or family that I truly know, and that truly know me. Outside of that, I’m not the most social person on the face of the planet. I love to just be at home with Michael and Beau. And honestly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that!
The problem comes in when this ‘introverted-ness’ leads to isolation, or a fear of man, or fear of what other people think of me. Because what’s at the root of that? Insecurity. Here’s a few examples my social anxiety kind of looks like:
- I don’t like going to events (when I say ‘events’, I mean blogging events – store openings, fashion week, anything of that nature), because I’m afraid I won’t know anyone, or I’ll be awkward in conversation or people won’t like me.
- I avoid social things even with people I’d consider acquaintances – because I prefer to just be at home either by myself or with my fam. Because that’s just easier for me
- I have a fear of disappointing people
Do any of these things resonate with you? If so, I want to share a few things I’ve learned about this social anxiety struggle and how I battle it.
“Acceptance is like an antibiotic that prevents past rejections from turning into present-day infections. The need for belonging runs deep.”
― Lysa TerKeurst,
First thing I have to say is, sometimes you just have to make yourself go. Go to the event, go grab coffee with that old girl friend…because if you don’t face your fears, you will never get past it. And ALSO, because I can honestly say anytime I choose to ‘just go’…it is legitimately worth it every time. That store event I went to in Boulder a few weeks ago, for instance…I met several sweet girls, connected with the store owner, and got to share my blog with a lot of people in Boulder who had never heard of it before. I learned about new restaurants to try, and had several really great conversations. The hardest part about going to the event was literally just getting in my car and driving there.
The second thing I have to say is: this social anxiety is NOT from the Lord. It’s from the enemy. God designed us to be in relationship with other people – both Christians and non Christians. We were not made to be in isolation. Isolation leads to selfishness and a skewed perspective on life. Anytime you’re tempted to blow off that coffee date or not meet your girlfriends for dinner…9 times out of 10, I’d say it’s the enemy trying to keep you in isolation, and keep you from life-giving relationships. (Obviously there are times where you legit just need to be home and rest, and that’s another topic!)
Lastly…the Lord has been teaching me something so sweet recently about this battle with social anxiety. I found myself thinking “okay, who do I NOT have social anxiety around?” There are a few people on my list, but Michael was the first person who came to mind. And I wondered ‘okay, why do I not have social anxiety with Michael?’, and realized that it’s because I feel intimately and fully known yet infinitely and unconditionally loved by Michael. And this is what’s at the true root of social anxiety.
Once I realized what my social anxiety was really rooted in…I was able to remind myself of truth. The truth is, I am intimately and fully known, yet unconditionally and infinitely loved by my Creator. No matter what people think of me or don’t think of me, or how awkward or not awkward our conversations are…I am already fully loved by Christ, and that will always be more than enough. That will always be more satisfying and life-giving than ANY one else’s approval of me! And there is so much life and freedom and security in that!
So, I hope this encourages you if you also battle social anxiety! First of all, know that you are not alone. So many girls have this same struggle. Second of all – know that no matter how you feel about yourself or how other people make you feel…you are already perfectly and infinitely loved. Now…go into that next coffee date with your girlfriend with all boldness and confidence in that truth!
“If we live rooted and established in His love, we don’t just have knowledge of His love in our minds, but it becomes a reality that anchors us.” – Lysa TerKeurst
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