We are participating in the BlogHer November Blogging Challenge!
Today's prompt is "When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?"
Here goes...I have social anxiety. Kind of a lot.
So, in my mind, I am doing something brave every time I approach someone new and take the first step to initiate a conversation.
When I went to college, I forced myself to get to know new people. I have learned that people are generally very friendly. I can say hello and chit chat without committing to a lifelong friendship or have the fear of being rebuffed and embarrassed. I taught myself through every interaction that it was ok to be friendly and especially in college, everyone is looking to make new friends.
Now that my kids are in school, there are LOADS of social occasions in which I have to put myself out of my comfort zone and initiate conversations and even potential long term friendships. I am talking school functions, PLAY DATES, school pick up, etc. The pressure I feel is hefty.
Just walking up to someone new or someone I don't know very well, or a large group of people, I get a knot in my stomach and chest. I have to remind myself to breathe. And that the majority of these new relationships are beneficial to my children. When I make them the focus of why I am engaging in these interactions, it makes it not about me and what I want. So, I suck it up, and do my best to breathe and put on a smile.
On the outside, I have been told that I appear fairly put together and people are shocked to learn of my introverted side and anxiety. Actually, most people don't know about the anxiety. I am capable of putting on a brave smile and introducing myself and engaging in a conversation.
On the inside though, my mind is racing. How is my body language? Is my eye contact weird? What was their child's name again? Did I really just make that inappropriate joke and/or curse!?! Where did they just say they went on summer vacation, I was too busy worrying about my body language. I often am so in my head, I miss important moments of the conversation. Occasionally, my husband (a huge extrovert!!) will be involved in the conversation with me and afterwards we will discuss the event we just attended and he noticed details I didn't even pick up on regarding the person's clothing (For example, Did you see his shoes? I think I need a pair of those!)or something they said. Then, I worry I about looking like I didn't care because I missed some of the points of the conversation. Which, of course, is the opposite of how I feel.
So, my "doing something brave" is a relatively small example. Especially to most people. For me, it is something I am constantly working on about myself. In an ideal world, I would not feel so worried. In my world, I am just doing my best and breathing.
Wow, that was serious. I hope not too much. Just being honest. If you have any of the same feelings, please share with me in the comments!
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