To this day, I still obsess about a presentation I made once in high school.
For those of you who can relate to the world of social anxiety, you know that you feel as though all eyes are on you, all the time. This can make you tense and uncomfortable, and sometimes a little dizzy.
Speaking in front of others is difficult, and you often worry post-situation about how you sounded, how you looked, what you could have said or done differently to be well-received.
There are many mild and extreme cases of social anxiety or shyness. You might just be soft-spoken. You might just be introspective and too lost in thought to participate.
Neither of these qualities are valued or understood by society.
Teachers, parents, and most other adults would tell us as children, "speak up," "stand up tall," "look presentable," all of which can be catalysts for a nervous perception of the outside world. We are taught to both blend in and stand out, to be our biggest personality.
This thought buys into the idea that the outside world's view is the most important.
That's not true - yours is.
Let's make our social situations less pressure-packed, less limited, less conventional. Let's expect that we will get all kinds of personality types, and that those who are fantastic, articulated speakers, have a hearty laugh and big smile, or open and warm personality are not necessarily the smartest, most talented, most beautiful hearts, most valuable players. It just means they have different means of communication.
Let's see the brilliance and the light in each human for the skills that they have.
Social anxiety and shyness? They are a part of that.
I'm going to bring you into the moment. Use this the next time you are standing in a crowd, speaking in front of others, or another situation where you find yourself uncomfortable, as though you should be changing your behavior.
1). Breathe. Take a moment to take five deep belly breaths. Place your body in the present. Feel the ground or earth beneath your feet. The more you are in the moment, the more you will see it for what it is, instead of experiencing your false perceptions.
2). Allow. Understand that your energy is beautiful. Nervous, anxious - any excessive energy shows you that you are alive. That you are a shining ball of atoms vibrating. That you can channel that energy into showing off your authentic self.
3). Flow. Just be. Say what comes out. Move how you move. The more you go with whatever comes out, the more natural you will feel, and chances are you will walk away from the experience in a much better mood.
You got this, and you got it your way.