Embrace Being Yourself

Earlier this year, about five months ago, I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. It wasn’t that much of a shock, I’d been painfully shy all my life and I have a history of major depression and generalized anxiety. I just didn’t think my “shyness” was that much of a problem.


Social anxiety manifests in different ways for everyone who has it, but for me, my symptoms include: becoming overwhelmed easily (especially in crowd situations), avoiding basic social tasks like ordering food or speaking to strangers, and the intense feeling that I am constantly being judged or perceived a certain way by others. These symptoms make it very hard for me to make friends quickly, be confident in my abilities, and function in daily life. Not a very fun general state of being!


Following my diagnosis, I subsequently underwent exposure therapy to help correct the negative thought patterns that caused me to avoid simple adulting things. Of course, it can take years to put an anxiety disorder in remission and there really is no “cure” for it. However, sometimes all it takes to ease my mind is a little reassurance from the universe.


I came across these tweets not too long ago, and to put it simply, they reminded me that nothing really matters. I don’t mean that in a nihilistic way, but just in general. People are way too busy being caught up in their own lives to care about whether or not I stutter when saying my Starbucks order or wear an outfit that looks like it doesn’t match or I sit by myself in public.


It’s a very liberating feeling once you start to accept the fact that in the grand scheme of things - life, the world as a whole - people just don’t have the time to remember or care about the little things you obsess over when laying in bed at night. It’s your life, so why waste time worrying about what others think about the way you live it? This is an absolute cliche I’ve been told a thousand times, but I don’t know what clicked for me when I saw these tweets on my timeline.


Maybe it’s the fact that my ironic life motto - “We’re here for a good time, not a long time,” - is starting to become a little less ironic. Or maybe it’s because I’m just so fed up of not wanting to dye my hair pink  and like the things I like without fear of being ridiculed and embarrassed. Life is just too short to hold yourself back from having fun and being who you are on the inside.


Sure, people will always judge you. It’s in our instincts as humans. But who cares? The people who judge you will probably never cross your path again or enter your life in a profound way. Those people don’t mean anything. The people who do, though, are the ones who accept, support, and appreciate you being unapologetically yourself. They say that character is who you are when nobody’s watching. I think that’s true, but I’d say it’s just as much who you are when people are watching as well.


So no matter if you struggle with social anxiety or not, I hope you find a way to embrace yourself - loudly and proudly - that works for you.