I remember a time when I was deathly afraid of social interaction. From an early age, I developed social anxiety which only seemed to get worse as I grew older. Through grade school, I found myself quiet and withdrawn in big groups, feeling like my stomach was in knots because of the fear of talking in front of other people. In high school, I got even worse - refusing party invitations or skipping classes because it felt easier to stay alone than face the terror of talking with others.
It wasn’t until college that I finally decided something had to change. Because I knew social anxiety was holding me back from doing what I wanted out of life, like making new friends or networking for career opportunities, that’s when I began to address my fear head-on. It started by taking small steps - literally forcing myself to make small talk at social gatherings, which eventually led up to bigger occasions like job interviews where having a conversation with strangers was unavoidable. Little by little, day by day, each time I faced and conquered my worst fears over and over again until it became natural.
At this point in my journey overcoming social anxiety is still a work in progress but thankfully it’s no longer paralyzes me as it used to before. With enough hard work and dedication, anyone can build up their courage and confidence to begin conversing more freely with others without preoccupying yourself thinking about if what you have to say matters or not - because one thing is certain: It does matter!