This is a talk. An important one. It’s probably something that might come across in a talk with a mental health professional when going through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

The greatest struggle of those with social issues, and these include deep shyness, social anxiety, social anxiety disorder, social ineptitude, general lack of social skills and impaired development, is that you have a very low self-image.

You Doubt Yourself

Your lack of social skills shows when you are in social situations. You see everyone chatting, laughing, having a conversation. And there you are, sitting, listening, imagining yourself participating alongside with them. Physically, it’s only a small amount of effort required for you to join with them. You need only to open your mouth, push air through your throat, cause vibrations with your vocal chords, and speak. Mentally however, the seemingly small task looks gargantuan.

“What do I say?”

“How will I say it?”

“Is it rude to interrupt?”

“What do I say after they reply to what I said?”

The voices in your head go on and on. And in the end, you choose to avoid the issue at all, and remain silent.

 

But You’re Not Alone

To the reader, if there’s one thing that a lot of people like you or I have in common, it’s probably that at some point, people have said “you think too much.”

Indeed. We think too much. That’s because something as simple as holding a conversation is a stressful and seemingly impossible task to us. And we have to expend exponentially more effort in order to do the same things that others do so fluidly and naturally.

You are not alone though. Everyone has these issues of doubt. In fact, I assure you that these people who you see as “normal,” “social butterflies”, or people who otherwise arne’t like you, likely have their own insecurities… they’re just a little different from your own.

 

Examples of “Everyone’s fine except me” Fallacy

You see that hilarious, loud, confident person chatting with their friends? Take a look again when they’re not with their friends. Quiet and shy, as most people are when we’re around people we don’t know or are not around people we’re comfortable with.

See that pretty girl who is smiling all the time and seems to have her life together? She probably has her own doubts about herself and needs validation from external sources to keep her self-esteem up. Just because a girl is pretty does not mean she doesn’t have self doubt. Just look at this video that went viral by a very fit, online pilates instructor to understand:

See that athletic gentleman there? You do your best to stereotype him: tall, handsome, popular, big head, a bit of a jerk, and lacking in consideration. Yet, these athletes are people too. They have their own insecurities, though they’re often masked by bravado and covered up around other men due to not wanting to look weak. Even worse for men, it’s much harder for men to find friends to whom they can confide their insecurities to than women.

Take a look at Ricky Williams. Former NFL running back and Heisman trophy winner.

photo by Chris J. Nelson. CC BY 3.0

photo by Chris J. Nelson. CC BY 3.0

Believe it or not, Ricky Williams had social anxiety disorder (source), avoidant personality, and borderline personality disorder. All of this while he was still active in the NFL. For football fans, like myself, we knew of Ricky Williams chronic use of marijuana. What we didn’t know, which was revealed in an interview with 60 minutes, was that Ricky used marijuana to cope with his anxiety and that he actually retired in order to avoid the shame of being caught by an NFL drug test (interview).

 

What to Take Away

Do you see the image at the top? Of a woman blowing snowflakes from the palms of her hands? It represents how each and everyone of us is a unique individual, with unique and individual challenges, gifts, worries, doubts, hopes, and missions. Don’t psyche yourself out by thinking everyone else has their lives together while you alone live in shambles. We all have our own challenges, and it’s important for you to remember that as you continue trying to make yourself a better person than you were yesterday.