How an introvert became a social butterfly
Social anxiety does not define you
The challenge of acclimating to college life at a huge university can undoubtedly be seen as an introvert’s worst nightmare. Having been tremendously shy for my entire life, I have always struggled with opening up to new people. However, with some self-reassurance and a lot of built up self confidence over the years, I was able to motivate myself out of my socially anxious, introverted past and into the life of a blossoming social butterfly.
As a teenager, I was more shy than the rest of my peers. For quite a while I thought that was just the way I was, that I would be forever defined by my social anxiety. I soon realized that my introversion was just a result of my complete lack of social self-confidence. Becoming stuck in the routine of comfortability that my lifelong friends had provided for me, it became pretty difficult for me to really display any form of extroversion when around new people. And right at the peak of my episode of introversion, I was simultaneously thrust into a whole new social sphere and ripped right out of my oh-so-secure comfort zone.
Joining a community of immensely diverse individuals at Rutgers was without a doubt something I was not at all ready to embark upon. But, it was a challenge I decided to take on anyway. And yes, at first it was extremely difficult to motivate myself to open up to a new group of friends, and to actually want to go out to the overflowing frat parties instead of staying huddled away in my scorching dorm room. Once I pushed past my own clouded thoughts, and stopped worrying about what other people would think of me, I realized that my problems were not so different from every other college kid’s anxieties.
If you think everyone has already formed an opinion on you as you take your first steps into any new chapter of your life, they’re not. Whether you’re taking on an entirely new life adventure or just trying to turn over a new leaf, the first step in relinquishing your introversion is to stop allowing your social anxiety to define your life.
Recognizing this, I was able to realize that the only thing that was stopping myself from being truly happy was me. By learning to not judge myself so harshly, and to accept myself as I accepted others, I was able to completely let go of my crippling social anxiety and allow myself to experience a bit of social discomfort. This single change in my overall mindset thus transformed my entire way of life. From this transformation I have gained some of my most cherished friendships, I have been commended for my endless work and participation within several aspects of my work and personal life, and have gained the confidence in myself that I have always dreamed of achieving.
So whether it be exploring a new culture or social group, or creating amazing new relationships with some of the world’s greatest people, the next step in relinquishing your anxieties is to stop judging yourself and allow yourself to branch out. By experiencing just a little bit of initial discomfort, you will be able to shine through the cloud that social anxiety has created around you, and enter into the happy and healthy lifestyle you have always wished to have.
The day will come when underestimating yourself, and judging yourself before you’ve even been given a chance will no longer inhibit you from appreciating yourself and sharing that confidence and appreciation with others.
It is up to you to reach this day.