Ever experience stage fright? Or a fear of public speaking, like about 75% of Americans? You might get clammy hands, sweat, feel your chest tighten or your stomach churn, or get the sense that you want to run away. You might envision yourself falling or people laughing.
If you battle social anxiety, you can feel that way in any social situation – even just a conversation in the grocery check-out line. Anyone relate?
Wait, what’s social anxiety?
There’s shy, and then there’s socially anxious. Shy means you’re naturally more hesitant to engage socially. You might feel shrink back or feel timid around new people. In my experience, social anxiety is hesitation around others that is fueled by fear. Fear of being humiliated or outright rejected by people around you. A terror of tripping in the spotlight or causing offense to someone.
If you always live with it, it just feels normal. I’ve felt out of place and awkward in groups of people, and thought there was something wrong in my personality to make me different from everyone else. It’s enough to make you shut down or avoid social activity altogether.
But the more I understand it and can label it, the less it has power over me.
A lot of my fears are feelings, not facts. Things like:
People automatically think less of me.
I stumble through my words too much.
I have something wrong with my appearance.
No one wants to hear what I have to say.
I don’t fit in.
These things aren’t really true. (And if they are, those tend to be the exceptions, not the rules.)
More often than not, people are genuinely interested in connecting with you. They aren’t looking to make you feel silly, and they might even be more concerned about their own appearance than noticing yours.
While it may not solve every problem, I believe replacing the lies with truth makes a big difference in your perspective. I find that thinking positive affirmations have helped me remember my worth when I need it. (And I try to use positive affirmations for my kids, too!) These kind of mantras can also help fight against social anxiety and fears.
Here are some of the best affirmations for social anxiety to help you find confidence.
I belong here as much as anyone else.
Everyone in the room is human, unique, and imperfect like me.
It’s okay to talk to as many or as few people as I want.
I can contribute to the conversation.
I am able to make positive connections with other people around me.
It’s okay to excuse myself if I need to gather my thoughts or take deep breaths.
I can feel confident and at ease being myself around others.
People are not watching me or waiting for me to make a mistake.
I can make a mistake or say something silly, and laugh about it, and let it go.
I can go at my own speed and volume.
People are interested in what I have to say.
I am unique in my experience and perspective, and have something to bring to the table.
I am free to focus on other people instead of myself.
This person wants to be heard and understood, just like I do.
I am capable and loved and enough, and no one can take those things from me.
What about you?
What are the best positive affirmations for social anxiety that help you overcome your fears?