Fear. You know that feeling of the blood rushing to your extremities and your brain telling you to flee. Preserve yourself! Get out now!
I used to bow my head and excuse myself from the room obeying the panic that surged through my body.
Nowadays people like to say cute things like, “Ooh that’s me, I’m so awkward hahaha” whenever the topic of Social Anxiety comes up.
Listen. Being awkward is not anxiety. Anxiety is in the moment you feel your skin crawl when you walk into a room full of fellow humans. It is the uncomfortable and unsettling feeling of insecurity as lies hurdle themselves at the back of your head. It has nothing to do with you having a quirky moment. It is demobilizing.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela
When it sets in there are one of three choices to make.
3. Shut down
I’ve been picking options 2 and 3 for most my life. They were easy and gave me a (false) sense of security.
But something happened to me recently. I’m not sure when it was exactly but I decided to fight.
And now I’m batman.
The fear is still there but it became my strength, I let it propel me rather than hold me back. I figure if my adrenaline is pumping and my brain starts screaming No, protect yourself! it’s probably the right moment to jump in head first.
Things I’ve done in the last 2 weeks that would have been INSANE only 6 months ago.
-Posted a personal mediocre song video to social media, twice.
-Earnestly sought out feedback on how I’m viewed by my peers
-Preached a sermon in front of my role model and peers
-Deliberately pursued connection with a leader in my life
-Walked into a room of 600 students without an ounce of fear
-Revealed pertinent information about my romantic interests to a third party (pending review)
Why does this stuff matter? It matters because if I can just throw caution (and nerves) to the wind, then so can you! I’ve risked my reputation and my delusions of grandeur but it has been so worth it to see myself through others’ eyes. And I can say I did that.
Besides, I won’t ever move towards connection if I flee every time I feel vulnerable.
I’m addicted to the thrill of kicking fear in the face.
Who knows what I’ll do next? Whatever it is, it’s going to be awesome. Maybe I’ll even ask someone out on a date. 😉