Author: Hamzah Mir
Imagine yourself doing a speech to a crowd of millions. Most of us will probably have anxious sensations (hot, sweaty, tingling sensations in and around our entire body, etc.) Only to restrict our ability to deliver the speech. How about repeating this speech over and over again. At some point, with numerous repetitions, it eases the deliverance of the message.
Now try to imagine yourself eating a delicious meal, at first it would be a great pleasure. But try eating the same meal daily. At some point, we will be used to the flavours, and by every progressing day, the pleasure that was once there will be fewer, and soon the savours will become disgusting and inedible. These are examples of emotions from exposure.
We all have unique experiences and different perspectives on life intertwined with our sets of emotions. Although we are unique in our individuality, we usually bias our mind and body’s natural response to experiences. We may try our best to control ourselves in a difficult situation, only for our body to fight back with anxiety and fear. Because of this, we should not hate ourselves or avert the idea of the situation. It will only worsen anxiety and will renounce fear in one’s mind.
Like any other individual, I experience anxious tendencies. I always thought that anxiety could stop immediately. I told myself that I am not anxious, I am brave and even told myself the opposite; I am anxious and I am not strong. Though it may work for some, it has not worked for me.
From then on, I tried to slowly expose myself to what I thought was an anxious scenario; speaking to a stranger. I first started by imagining the scenario; it included negative and positive outcomes while simultaneously not emotionally biasing the ideas. Sooner or later, I got used to the scenarios and decided to go for the next step; saying hi to a stranger. As simple as it seems, it took quite a few repetitions before it became natural to me. While this action became more leisurely, I became more confident in speaking to strangers.
Though I still have anxious thoughts, my emotional triggers have been fewer than before.
However, anxiety is necessary to survive and will likely not leave, but it can be understood and exposed. They say, “small steps make big changes,” this quote does display my journey in coping with social anxiety.
As I share this method, I hope you learn to love, have patience, and stay persistent. I hope that self-hatred, sorrow, and anger are not interferences. Don’t be fooled by unreal ideas that drag you into hell. Thoughts are simply thoughts, a reflection to at best grasp reality. You’re experiencing life and are a beholder of unique sets of emotions and memories. You are starting to love yourself.