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This summer, I spent a lot of time in introspection and learned a lot about myself. I think too much, and I am so afraid of change. My life experiences have rendered me beyond fearful of new people and new relationships. How this fear manifests itself is pretty fascinating: envy and jealousy.

Believe it or not, my lack of trust in myself is the root of most of my relationship issues; I do not believe that I make the right decisions. I would call it evidence-based thinking, given that I have had a lot of bad experiences due to poor decision-making on my part, but fundamentally, this thought process is flawed. There are no “right” decisions. There are only decisions and positive or negative consequences of those decisions. Therefore, I do not make bad, or incorrect, decisions, but I have faced some horrible consequences.

This brings me to my point: overcoming social anxiety is based in introspection and admittance of minor blemishes as well as major beauty in one’s character. At the forefront of my social anxiety is fearing that others will view me how I judge myself: ugly, unimportant, inadequate, and irreversibly scarred. Going into social situations believing that what I think is personal to me and does not reflect how the world perceives me. The world does not know as much about me as I do, so the world is only judging me by what they see. Just as I can watch the same movie as my roommate and she can form an entirely different interpretation of it from my interpretation, other people can see the same girl and interpret her completely differently than I see myself.

My advice is this: go into every situation thinking more about the person you are interacting with, and less about how they are perceiving you. Give yourself a blank slate with every new person you encounter, but always be yourself. Because you, as you are, are so unique. You could be surprised by what you find out about yourself when you give yourself permission to live freely, unbothered by your own past experiences and how they could affect the future. Start new. Start afresh.

Adaora Mgboh

Vanderbilt '22

Adaora Mgboh is a third-year student double majoring in Medicine, Health, and Society and Psychology. She aims to pursue a career in healthcare, particularly focused on mental health in minority communities and access to mental health resources overall. In her free time, she likes having wine nights with her friends wherein they watch romantic comedies and melodramas and eat oreo cookies. She is passionate about women's rights, sex education, sexual assault advocacy, mental health awareness, and mentorship.
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